New Delhi, April 3 (IANS) Pakistani filmmaker Shoaib Mansoor's much-talked about award winning film 'Khuda Kay Liye', about the trauma of liberal Muslims, hits the Indian theatres Friday.
Mumbai-based Percept Picture Company has the rights of the film and released it with 300 prints. The movie, starring Naseeruddin Shah in a key role, is the first Pakistani film to have a commercial release in India in more than four decades.
'I spent a year on the research work of the film. I read all the important books related to Islam and have tried to balance the arguments between the two clerics in the film,' Mansoor told IANS.
Mansoor says that there are two reasons why he made this film.
'There are two reasons behind any action - one is history and other is present. So, there are two reasons behind my reaction. Since I was young, I saw that priests used to interpret religion in a very difficult manner and sometimes they are wrong also. It happens in other religions too.
'Then 9/11 happened and new problems cropped up - Muslims were treated badly. Every person with a Muslim name was stamped a terrorist and being a Muslim became a crime. Muslims were single out everywhere,' said Mansoor who is not happy with the way the West is trying to tackle the issue.
'The way America and the West are dealing the problem is very wrong - they are just trying to kill and suppress those Muslims who are being labelled as terrorists. And it will not solve the problem because if you will kill 10, a hundred more will emerge.
'Nobody is trying to understand the root cause behind this. If you look around, in last 60 years wherever there is a war, it's only Muslims who are being killed. If you will not try to resolve the issues, which is forcing youngsters to react, the problem will never be resolved. I have mentioned it in the film,' he said.
Mansoor's 'Khuda Kay Liye' was first showcased in this country at the 2007 International Film Festival of India (IFFI) and was an instant hit. It was in fact the first Pakistani film to be included in the official line-up of IFFI.
With the lifting of the ban for exchange of films between the two countries, the Pakistan government has allowed it on condition that films will be strictly 'exchanged' between the two countries. For each Hindi title released in Pakistan, an Urdu film will have to be exhibited in India.
Indian movies were banned in Pakistan in 1968 and the Pakistan film industry had to bear huge losses. There were more than 1,000 theatres throughout Pakistan those days, but now it is reduced to just 200.
Compared to India, which churns out about 1,000 films every year, Pakistan's film industry produces just about 40 movies, a fifth of what it churned out during its heyday in the 1970s.
'This action will not only benefit Indian producers but Pakistani filmmakers as well. Now that the films will have legal screenings, Indian producers will get a new market,' said Mansoor.
Made at a budget of 60 million Pakistani rupees, the film landed in controversy when extremists and Pakistani clerics opposed it. But when it was released, it became a huge hit in Pakistan.