Curtains fall on Bollywood movies in Pakistan amid political tension

The tension has stoked nationalist sentiment on both sides, with Indian actor Ajay Devgn saying his latest movie will not be released in Pakistan.
The tension has stoked nationalist sentiment on both sides, with Indian actor Ajay Devgn saying his latest movie will not be released in Pakistan.PHOTO: AFP

MUMBAI (Bloomberg) - The tense political feud between India and Pakistan is taking a toll on the film industry.

Pakistan has halted the screening of Bollywood movies in theatres across the country, forcing the nation's largest chain, Cinepax Cinemas, to show reruns of old Pakistani films.

Even before the current political standoff, the cinema chain was offering discounts of as much as 40 per cent on tickets to attract more customers.

Bollywood movies, with their often three-hour, song-and-dance formats, are popular in Pakistan, accounting for about 60 per cent of total cinema consumption, according to Mr Rafay Mahmood, culture editor at Karachi-based The Express Tribune.

India and Pakistan have been engaged in the worst military conflict in decades in recent weeks.

The tension has stoked nationalist sentiment on both sides, with Indian actor Ajay Devgn saying his latest movie will not be released in Pakistan.

Cinepax is Pakistan's largest cinema operator with 45 screens and more than 6,000 seats nationwide. It is offering a 40 per cent discount on tickets for Pakistani films at silver screen theatres, and a 30 per cent price cut at the higher-end gold theatres.