The Indo-Pak relations are at an all-time high. While the two nations have decided to break the ice and curbs on sports have been lifted, there are indications that the ban on entertainment-related activities will also be lifted shortly.
While the Indian cricket team is currently touring Pakistan, a 20-member film delegation from Pakistan is currently in Mumbai to open boundaries and allow swift movement of film and television-related content and artists from across the LOC.
The Pakistani film delegation has been invited by their counterparts in Bollywood and is currently attending FRAMES 2004 in Mumbai. "It's an eye-opening experience," Sajjad A. Gul [of Evernew Entertainment, Lahore] tells me.
Also part of this high-level delegation are actor-film-maker Javed Sheikh, producers Mubasher Lucman [who is currently doing the post-production work of his Pakistani film in Mumbai] and Shahbaz Ali, exhibitors Riyaz Malik and Muhammad Ali Tipu and Pakistani super-star Shaan, who also directed a film GUNS & ROSES sometime back.
While both the sides admit that there should be free trade between the two countries, the question is, will it be easy for Bollywood to make a breakthrough in Pakistan? It's a known fact that Indian films are a big craze in Pakistan and if the ban on Hindi films is lifted, it might cripple the Pakistani film industry completely.
"The normalization process will take at least a year if we start today," says Lucman, "It won't be an easy process, let's not get swayed by emotions."
However, Yash Chopra did make an offer to the delegation that he was ready to release his films in Pakistan. "Let's open the territory [Pakistan] and sign a M.O.U. today itself," he said, "Let's co-produce films, besides availing of the best opportunities the two countries can offer."
If the two sides seriously get down to talking business, what would it mean for Bollywood?
And what does Lollywood gain from its association with Bollywood?