Just how powerful a nation is not entirely dictated by its military strength. In the future, softer powers would play an even significant role. This is especially true in the case of India and Pakistan.
While there have been many wars between the two countries, Pakistan’s native movie industry has always remained in the shadow of Bollywood. Now, with the recent exchange of fires between India and Pakistan after the militant attack on soldiers in Indian-administered Kashmir, and as frames of former cricketer and Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Imran Khan gets taken down from establishments in India, there is a hue and cry to stifle the all-swathing influence of India’s movie industry in the neighbouring country.
The ban was swiftly imposed on Indian film and television content. It is an easy punishment but whether Pakistanis would bereft themselves of the pleasure of engaging in Indian entertainment remains to be seen.
In any case, this ban from Pakistan would have serious economic repercussions. Bollywood movies are crucial for sustaining the Pakistani box office. They generate about 70 per cent of Pakistani movie industry’s revenue.
It also has to be said that there are no equals for the Big Khans of Bollywood in Pakistan. The Khans have almost as big a following across the border as they do here in India. Keeping their movies away would mean a certain death for Pakistani movie industry.
This is not the first ban to be imposed on Bollywood. The longest ban lasted for about 40 years – from 1965 until 2005, after a war between India and Pakistan. Film theaters were forced to convert into shopping malls and wedding halls as both movies and audiences declined.
Pakistani movies are unable to match the dazzle of Bollywood, its big budget and mega stars. With technology now making it easy to access anything from any corner of the world, this ban is but Pakistan grandstanding their position. And this too would be lifted eventually.
(This story was originally appeared in Onmanorama)