India defied a four-decade ban on screening Pakistani films last week when it showed Khuda Kay Liye at a star-studded premiere in Mumbai. The film has become one of the most successful Pakistani films ever and is the debut movie from TV and music producer Shoaib Mansoor, also known as ShoMan.
The plot of Khuda Kay Lye explores the lives of two Muslim brothers and the paths they choose to take in the post-September 11 world. ShoMan specifically made the film to cater to Western audiences in order to try and give the Muslim community an opportunity to have their say. He said: “It’s been [a] long [time] that terrorism has been linked with Muslims and it has become synonymous with the community. It was high time that an answer to this was given to the West … That is the only reason that this film has mostly been made in English, to cater to the Western audiences.”
The film will be screened across India, making it the first title to receive a full release in the country since the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965. After the war, both India and Pakistan decided to officially ban each other’s films even though both nations have a thriving film industry. While India is home to the internationally renowned Bollywood film industry, Pakistan has a bustling film industry nicknamed ‘Lollywood’, which is based in the city of Lahore.
In recent years, relations between India and Pakistan have improved considerably. This means that there have been a couple of small exceptions to the ban, the first of which occurred in 2003 when India allowed the Pakistani film Khamosh Pani to receive a limited release in the country. Pakistan authorities returned the favour in 2006 by permitting three Indian films to be shown in the country.