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Can Bollywood bring India and Pakistan closer together?

Update : 29 Dec 2023, 12:09

Films in Pakistan need to be cleared by provincial boards that censor anything deemed a violation of the country's social and cultural values.

And, since 2019, movies produced by India's Hindi film industry, based out of the country's financial capital, Mumbai, and more popularly known as Bollywood, have not been allowed at cinemas in Pakistan.

When the blockbuster "Pathaan" with actor Shah Rukh Khan was publicly screened in Karachi's affluent DHA neighborhood in January 2023, the censor board in Pakistan's southern province of Sindh, where Karachi is located, stopped the screening.

Relations between Pakistan and neighboring India have seldom been cordial, particularly because of the disputed Kashmir territory.

Nevertheless, many Pakistani cinemagoers are ardent followers of Bollywood and its stars.

Apart from Shah Rukh Khan, known as the "King of Bollywood," whose latest comedy-drama "Dunki" was released in cinemas earlier this month, other Bollywood actors such as Aamir Khan, Deepika Padukone and Ranbir Kapoor enjoy a large following in Pakistan.

In the past few years, movies produced in the southern part of India — or helmed by directors hailing from the south — have gained popularity in Pakistan because of their action-oriented and technology-driven storylines.

Adding to the appeal of Bollywood on the other side of the geographical divide is the language featured in the films, Hindi.

Hindi is similar to Urdu, which is the language widely spoken in Muslim-majority Pakistan. Also, some of the artists and technicians working in Bollywood come from Muslim backgrounds.

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