Demand for Films Rise in Peaceful Afghanistan
Following the fall of the Taliban government in Kabul, the activities of listening music and watching movies have increased in Afghanistan, a country ravaged by war for the past two decades, according to according to the Kuwaiti News Agency (KUNA).
The demand for entertainment stuff has grown so much that the existing stock at audio-video shops in Peshawar have fallen short of the demand.
"The demand for audio, video cassettes and CDs of music and movies have gone up by 60 percent," said Dost Kamal Khan, a shopkeeper on the city cinema road. He said, "we have ordered the dealers in Lahore and Karachi to send more supplies."
The Taliban had prohibited all types of entertainment including music, TV, theatre and even kite flying. The ministry of vice and virtue constituted to strictly implement order of the Taliban supreme leader mullah Muhammad Omar and fixed severe punishments for violators. Shopkeepers say that they were receiving fresh orders from Afghanistan for Indian, English movies and Persian audiocassettes in the recent days.
India’s film industry has been keenly awaiting the end of the conflict in Afghanistan, hoping to boost its sagging fortunes on Afghans' traditional love of Bollywood movies.
With more than 180 flops produced in the current year, Agence France Presse (AFP) said, Bollywood is reeling under tremendous pressure to survive and is keen to tap any new market that opens up.
"Afghans are known for their passion for Hindi movies and our film stars had a large fan following there before the Taliban came in. I expect this market to open up once the situation stabilises," Komal Nahata, editor of the magazine Film Information told AFP.
Bollywood stars such as Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan still had large numbers of fans in Afghanistan, industry experts said.
Nahata said a few Bollywood producers have already started talks with distributors in Kabul to release some Hindi movies in the city, where cinemas reopened and women returned to school after the Islamic fundamentalist Taliban militia was driven out in mid-November.
"With most of the restrictions imposed by the Taliban now easing, the entertainment sector will be the first beneficiaries and women are a key audience. Bollywood would definitely tap this," Nahata said.
He predicted Bollywood could boost its overseas distribution income by at least 10 percent if Indian films return in force to Afghanistan.
However, Pakistani movies including Urdu and Pushto have not gained substantial market so far. A dealer, Haji Altaf Khan, said he had been running this business for the last 14 years, but he had never seen such a large-scale business – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)