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    Passers-by walk in front of a movie theater in Karachi, Pakistan (File)

    Pakistanis Deprived of Staple Bollywood Fare Have to settle for Turkish Flicks

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    The ban on Indian content on Pakistan television and theaters has dealt a crippling blow to its country’s cinemas and film distribution companies. They now hope to avert more loss by promoting Turkish and Iranian films.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — When tensions with Pakistan spilled over into arts and cultural exchanges, screening of Bollywood films was one casualty. No tears were shed in public when Islamabad banned Bollywood films but Pakistan's cinema theaters suffered a huge loss in revenue.

    According to reports in the Pakistani media, theater owners and film distributors are banking on Turkish and Iranian films to replenish their coffers and attract viewers. This move comes because local productions aren't enough to sustain Pakistani cinemas.

    "Yes. We are looking at different options from around the world to fill the gap. As Turkish dramas have a good following, their movies too should have a good impact…And Iranian films have are of international repute," Cineplex owner Mohsin Yaseen was quoted by The Dawn.

    A couple of years ago, Turkish dramas dubbed in Urdu became hugely popular with a niche audience in Pakistan. But the cinema industry is unsure of a similar response with Turkish films considering as the audience is different for the two genres of entertainment.

    The proposition evoked favorable response as well as some criticism on social media.

    ​Apart from local films, Pakistani theaters run Hollywood films but mainly thrive on Bollywood films because of cultural and linguistic similarities. However, Islamabad has banned theaters across Pakistan from showing Indian films after South Block claimed surgical strikes on militant camps in Pakistan. Cinema halls in Pakistan have seen a 70 percent slump in business following the ban, according to an estimate.

    A collateral revenue loss to both Bollywood and film distributors is that Indian films can still find their way into Pakistani households through various Torrent sites and pirated CDs.

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