The ban on Indian Films lifted 2 days ago (see below) will no longer be lifted – as a result of protests by the Bangladesh Film Industry who believe that the country’s own films would disappear in a tsunami of Bollywood product. Bangladesh industry figures had vowed to fight the raising of the ban and would appear to have been successful.
The ban on Indian Films in cinemas, dating back to 1972 is finally being lifted. This is believed to be a result of improving economic and cultural relations – only two weeks ago India hosted a festival in New Delhi celebrating the films of Bangladesh. For the duration of the ban the films have been available only on cable TV and (pirate) DVDs. The scrapping of the ban now allows Indian and other South Asian films to play in Bangladesh cinemas providing they have English subtitles.
Bangladeshi film-makers and actors are concerned that their own films will be swamped by the tide of films from India whose greater developed and financed industry is the biggest in the world producing over 1,000 movies each year. The President of the Bangladesh Cinema Halls Owners Association, in contrast said the government’s decision was “the best thing to have happened” to the country’s cinemas. The lifting of the ban in part prompted by the concerns of exhibitors due to the diminishing number of cinemas in Bangladesh which has shrunk from 1,600 ten years ago to just 600 in today. Current offerings are just not drawing in the audiences and they are hoping that the new “world-class” films coming in will reverse the trend.