Ban on Indian films goes
The government has decided to withdraw a four-decade ban on import and display of Indian films in cinema halls.
The commerce ministry lifted the embargo, slapped in 1972, in a bid to inject a momentum into the country's waning cinema industry that is expected to see a boost in turnout.
“The new draft import policy allows in Indian films," Commerce Minister Faruk Khan told The Daily Star yesterday.
However he said the decision is yet to become effective.
"We will formally announce when the decision comes into force."
The initiative is expected to save the entertainment houses from a breakdown, as their number has dropped to 800 now from 1,200 in the 1990s because of the poor quality of local movies.
The government's decision was "the best thing to have happened" to the country's cinemas, news agency AFP quoted Kazi Firoz Rashid, president of Bangladesh Cinema Halls Owners Association, as saying.
"Film enthusiasts can easily see good Indian films on cable television. So why should we stop Indian films being screened in our cinemas?" Rashid said.
"By contrast, the standards, scripts and production of Bangladeshi films are so stale and poor that they have trouble winning hearts or making enough money," he told the news agency.
But the film producers have expressed fear that the local industry will have to sustain a severe blow if the state-of-the-art Indian films are allowed in local cinemas.
"The Indian film industry is so advanced that the local films will not be able to compete with those," said AK Nasir Uddin (Dilu), former president of Bangladesh Chalachitra Projojak Paribeshak Samity (a platform of film producers and distributors).
When asked whether the new move will force them to produce quality films, he said: "How can we make good films with backdated technical know-how?"
The commerce minister also accepted that the move may hamper the local film industry a bit, but it will bring competitiveness in the industry in the long run and help produce good films.
The government has also decided to allow film import from other Sough Asian nations.
Pirated DVD copies of Bollywood movies circulate widely in Bangladesh in the absence of them being shown in cinemas and the films are hugely popular.