Import of Indian movies upsets Dhaka film industry

April 8th, 2010 - 3:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Sheikh Hasina Dhaka, April 8 (IANS) The Bangladesh film industry is angry following the government’s decision to import and screen Indian films after lifting a ban imposed in 1965.
“Bollywood films will deliver a death blow to Dhallywood (Dhaka-based film industry),” said actor Miju Ahmed, who is heading an action committee that plans to approach the government to stop this move.

While the members of Bangladesh’s ailing film industry are agitated, the cinema owners have been demanding imports after half of the 2,000 theatres closed down countrywide in recent years.

The Bangladesh government considered resuming film trade with India after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to New Delhi in January earlier this year.

The Ministry of Information has already made substantial progress in lifting the ban. It has consulted different ministries, including the Ministry of Commerce that looks after issues related to imports.

A senior official from the Commerce Ministry told New Age newspaper that they have given their inputs on the basis of the latest import policy that allows import of films in English and other languages with the condition that there should be Bangla and English sub-titles.

The national import policy 2009-2012 also stipulates that screening of imported films should be approved by the censor board.

Actor Masud Parvez Rubel, also a leader of the action committee, said they would organise a human chain in front of the state-run Film Development Corporation to protest the government’s decision.

Members of the cinema hall owners’ association, however, said they would not support it as running a theatre has became impossible because of losses due to lack of quality movies and poor footfalls.

The number of Dhaka-based cinema halls has gone down drastically in recent years compared to its peak time in 1980s and 1990s.

Earlier, the film industry used to produce over 200 movies annually. But now the investment in movies business has come down to a paltry Tk.500 million ($7.2 million) — as a result, the number of films made has come down to 25 in recent years.

Kazi Firoz Rashid, president of the cinema hall owners’ association, told the newspaper that they had long been demanding import of films from India, Pakistan, Nepal and Iran.

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