16 May 2023: Why do Indian films not premiere in Bangladesh ? What is the reaction regarding Pathan ? Read to know more.
Thousands of people rushed to Dhaka theaters to see Shah Rukh Khan's blockbuster "Pathaan," the first Bollywood film to receive a complete release in Bangladesh in the last 50 years.
When the exciting spy thriller premiered in India in January, it broke box office records, and the superstar Shah Rukh Khan has a worldwide fan base.
Despite India's support in its independence fight with Pakistan, Dhaka prohibited films from its neighbour immediately after its independence in 1971, inspite of there being pressure from local film producers.
Bangladeshi cinemas have declined rapidly, with poor-quality local films failing to compete with Bollywood's flash and grandeur or attract crowds, with the aged Shakib Khan serving as the country's lone financially successful star.
Cinemas were once a staple of Bangladeshi culture. It was an innate part of their everyday social lives.
"This hall was like a great meeting place of the Old Dhaka community," Pradip Narayan said at the Manoshi Complex, a 100-year-old movie theater transformed market in 2017. "Women used to come in the night to watch films here. Our mothers and sisters from neighboring areas would come here, and when the show ended at midnight or 12:30 at night, it looked like a fair here,” he said.
Authorities attempted to relax the prohibition on Indian films in 2015, when two Bollywood successes — "Wanted" and "The Three Idiots" — were displayed, but local cinema stars protested, forcing theaters to cancel the screenings.
Last month, the government passed a law permitting the import of 10 films per year from India or South Asian countries. According to distributor Anonno Mamun, "Pathaan" premiered in 41 theaters around the country, with many shows in the capital having sold out. "Everyone loves Hindi movies here. Many also love southern Indian movies," he said.
However, Bangladeshi filmmakers are concerned, with some intending to protest by putting on white shrouds of death to represent the collapse of the indigenous industry. "Don't they know about the Nepalese film industry? Don't they see that the Mexican film industry was destroyed after opening the market (to Hollywood's products)" asked director Khijir Hayat Khan.
Nonetheless, the audience seem to be really enjoying the film.