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The popularity of Bollywood in Pakistan can be seen from the fact that more than 60% of TV viewers prefer watching Indian channels to national and international channels. Watching movies and series on television and playing music CDs/DVDs at home are also favorite hobbies of people staying in urban areas.
The majority of the Pakistani population lives in rural areas where electricity supply is limited, leaving them no other option but to sit back and watch their favorite actors performing on the big screen. However, it’s not only about television – Pakistanis who live abroad like to play Bollywood songs when they get together for any celebration or ceremony such as marriages, etc.
This popularity of Bollywood in Pakistan is not only true for the present generation but also for old times when people used to listen to Indian singers singing songs about love, romance, and heartbreaks.
One can still see many cars in cities having stickers with pictures of actresses like Madhuri Dixit, Aishwarya Rai, and Kajol who dominated the Hindi film industry in the 90s. Even today they are very popular among Pakistani youth. Bollywood movies are mostly preferred by youngsters for their beautiful dancing, dreamy locales, romantic lyrics, and dramatic storylines. Similarly, classic famous Bengali singer Suchitra Mirta’s popularity is always high among Pakistani Bengalis be it rural or urban part of Pakistan because she sang some romantic songs.
Kishore Kumar is also one of the famous singers in Pakistan belonging to Indian origin. However, many other singers are still admired by the Pakistani population with their popularity increasing day by day among youth. The works of composers like RD Burman and Jatin Lalit are equally popular in Pakistan. Their work is not only confined to India but also greatly admired in Bangladesh and Pakistan for both their romantic and comedic compositions.
Bhaijaan (Salman Khan) is another example of the popularity of Bollywood actors outside India because he has quite a large number of followers on Facebook and Twitter who admire him for his acting skills and appreciate his contribution towards humanity through his social works. He even announced recently that he is going to set up a foundation to help the poor children of India.
Bollywood movies are not only popular in rural but also in urban areas where one can find movie halls devoted to screening Bollywood movies. Karachi, Lahore, Faisalabad, Gujranwala are some cities having a large number of cinema halls that attract youth as well as older people. This popularity has helped the economy of Pakistan by generating revenue through film distribution and music albums sales after every release of Indian films or music albums. The popularity is not limited to Pakistani youth because many middle-aged old women also like Indian serials and songs very much because they portray family-oriented issues (similar culture & lifestyle). It would be wrong to say that the popularity of Bollywood in Pakistan is only among the Muslim population because the popularity of Indian songs and movies is not confined to Muslims alone but also non-Muslims living in urban or rural areas.
Bollywood has done a wonderful job by producing movies with moral values (e.g. Taare Zameen Par), music with soul-touching lyrics (e.g. Ae Haseeno Ka Mela), and acting by social norms (e.g. A Wednesday). These factors have helped the popularity of Bollywood in Pakistan immensely because Pakistani society lacks entertainment, so when people get an option that is too economical then why not grab it! Even Salman Khan is very popular among girls of all age groups which proves that he can act according to their preferences as well.
Although the Pakistani film industry has made some progress still cannot compete with Indian movies. The popularity of Indian movies is far more than Pakistani movies especially among youth who love watching movies with beautiful locations, soul-touching music & romantic stories because their films hardly portray these qualities.
In Pakistan, Bollywood is so popular that despite decades of independence a ceremony is held every year called “the best Bollywood award” to honor Indian films and artists because Pakistani producers fear that if they make a movie against India, no one will watch it.
There are several reasons why Pakistani artists are being banned in India. One of the main reasons is the ongoing tension between the two countries. With incidents like Uri and ceasefire violations by Pakistan, many political parties have raised the issue of how the Indian Army has been suffering. Shiv Sena believes the reason such news of terror attacks and violence reaches India is due to Pakistani actors and singers. They believe that these artists don’t stick to their profession, but intrude upon politics as well, which is why they should be banned.
ShowbizSpot lists some Indian actresses who worked in Pakistan when both countries were friendly.
- Sushmita Sen did a Pakistani film, “Zindagi” in 2000 opposite Faysal Qureshi.
- In 2006, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan shot for an ad campaign in Karachi and later posed for a picture with her father-in-law, Amitabh Bachchan, on set.
- In 2009, Dia Mirza starred in the Pakistani drama serial “Dastaan”.
- Recently, Priyanka Chopra made headlines when she announced that she will be producing a Marathi film titled “Madam X” with director Madhur Bhandarkar. The film is set to go on floors in early 2017.
These actresses have not been banned from working in Pakistan and they continue to work there without any issues. If Indian artists are performing in Pakistan, why are Pakistani artists not allowed to perform in India? This does not seem fair.
It is high time we stopped discriminating against people based on their nationality. Art and culture should be used to bring people together, not to drive them apart, as a society. Let’s welcome Pakistani artists with open arms and let them perform in India. That is the only way we can move forward as a nation.
In conclusion, the popularity of Bollywood in Pakistan is immense and increasing day by day among youth especially those who love watching romantic songs with beautiful locations. This popularity has resulted in increased revenue generation for Indian cinema as well as the music industry after every release of any new film or album.
Despite causing negative impacts like copying Indian styles and dresses in their films, the popularity of these movies cannot be denied at all and people keep on watching them because what you get at low cost eventually becomes costly.