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Ban on Indian film import ridiculous: Dhaka daily

Dhaka: The continuation of the ban on import of Indian films was "ridiculous", a leading Dhaka newspaper said Wednesday, urging a review of the policy that has been in force since 1965.

"We would certainly like to come by quality foreign movies from around the globe. English, Russian, Korean, Japanese and other movies have regularly impressed people. Why must we be deprived of the chance to watch them?" The influential Daily Star asked in an editorial.

Indian films are immensely popular in Bangladesh, which was earlier East Pakistan. The ban was introduced after the India-Pakistan conflict in 1965.

After independence in 1971, the ban was continued on the ground that the small film industry in Dhaka, called "Dhaliwood" to rhyme with Hollywood, would be destroyed if Indian films were allowed in.

"... this demand for keeping foreign movies at bay is really ridiculous given that families these days can and do watch all kinds of movies from around the world on home videos," the newspaper said.

It criticised the decision taken earlier this week by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina`s government to continue with the ban, reversing its own decision to lift the ban and introduce a new export-import policy.

The government changed its stand after an agitation was launched and representations were made to the government by many sections of the film fraternity.

Some of them called it `conspiracy` and argued that they could not compete against the richly-mounted films made in Mumbai.

"The truth is that in the last 39 years, barring honourable exceptions, there has been no qualitative improvement in our movies and indeed they have been on a continuous slide. If people do not visit cinema houses to watch low quality movies, can one really blame them?" the editorial said.

"The authorities have by keeping the ban in force succumbed to pressure from the local film industry. It is simply a case of playing to the gallery," it observed.

IANS

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