9 Indian films to hit B’desh movie market despite protests
The move worries young, talented filmmakers
Reported on: August 31, 2012 16:20 PM
Reported in: National
Dhaka, Aug 31 (UNB) – Filmmakers and cultural activists have voiced grave concern over the fate of Bangladesh film industry as the distributors have finalised deals to import nine commercial Hindi films by the second week of October next.
They said the unregulated import of Indian movies is opening up the avenues for cultural aggression by Bollywood, and it will push Bangladeshi commercial films towards an ‘unequal competition’ with the much-developed film industry in India.
Secretary general of Bangladesh Motion Pictures’ Distributors Association (BMPDA) Mian Alauddin told UNB that the distributors will be able to submit nine Hindi films to the censor board very soon as the films will arrive by the second week of October.
He said the nine Bollywood hits of both past and contemporary times are Shole, Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham, Don, Wanted, Three Idiots, Taare Jameen Par, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Dil to Pagal Hai and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai.
Alauddin said this will be the second batch of movies coming from India, following the screening of three Bangla Indian movies that hit the Bangladeshi screens on December 23 last year.
“The government has also assured us of allowing more imports on a regular basis in the coming days and we’re hopeful of doing better business and reviving the movie houses,” he added.
The Indian films that have already been screened in movies houses are Jor, Bodla and Sangram.
There were protests when the Commerce Ministry gave permission for the import.
The Information Ministry also fought against the decision in the High Court (HC).
Although the HC gave its verdict in favour of the Information Ministry, it also gave another order to allow the screening of the three Indian movies already contracted by Bangladesh cinema hall owners in response to a writ petition filed by them.
Talking to UNB, Moshiuddin Shaker, director of the prominent movie ‘Surja Dighal Bari’, said, “This is a doubly fatal move for the country’s film industry. From the commercial perspective, it’ll lead to an unequal competition. On the other hand, launching of Indian commercial movies on the mega screen will bring forth severe cultural consequences.”
“Although an ordinance enacted back in the 70s prohibits the exhibition of movies that are shoot in other languages of the Indian subcontinent in a bid to protect the local films, the local film industry has not flourished over the last 40 years,” he said.
“Rather, the country’s film industry is ailing for lack of a comprehensive policy for its development.” he added.
“I must say I’m not against the import of movies from any country. Exchange of films with the outside world can enrich the viewership and inevitably contribute to the development of the local film industry,” he said, “But commercial exchange should not be granted, particularly in the case of a strong mass media such as film that can influence the popular psyche.”
“It’s the government that needs to come forward to screen all the good films made across the world after dubbing those in Bangla,” he said.
“While we question the import of Indian films, why should the English language action films being screened here go unchallenged, what values are the English commercial films adding to our culture?” he questioned.
Contacted, noted film director Chashi Nazrul Islam said, “The exhibition of Bollywood films in our movie houses will be a major blow to thousands of professionals in the film industry.”
“The film producers association was earlier assured by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of taking proper steps when they had requested her to stop the import of Indian films,” he pointed out.
“It’s quite unimaginable to me the import is going to be resumed even after the PM’s assurance to stop it,” he added.
Young filmmaker Abu Zaeed Aziz, also an organiser of the platform titled Bharatio Banijjik Chalachchitra Agrashon (Aggression) Protirodh Andolon, said, “Instead of taking steps to rejuvenate the film industry, a quarter is out to create a market for the Indian commercial movies.”
Another young filmmaker Tanim Noor, whose feature film ‘Fire Esho Behula’ was released in several movie houses at the beginning of the current year, said, “The government as well as the distributors should focus more on digitisation of movie houses that will open up chances for young talents to contribute to the industry instead of flooding the screens with commercial Hindi films.”