02/16/2004, 00.00
india - pakistan
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Actors and films follow the trend for peace

Mumbai (AsiaNews)-  Indian and Pakistani film industries have begun a collaborative effort to use their movies to fostor peace and diffuse tension between the rival nuclear states.

Politicians had previously used films to fuel animosity between India and Pakistan; now film makers are committed to use them as a means for building mutual understanding and cooperation. Mahesh Blatt,  a leading director from Bollywood, India's film industry in Mumbai, said, "Politicians from both sides have been using films as a tool of war and as a propoganda to demonise the other. Collaboration between the two film industries will soften the blows we have been inflicting on each other." Blatt is travelling to Islamabad later this month to finalize a contract with Pakistani Information Minister Sheikh Rashid to make a film,  based on a true story, of  love between a Hindu lawyer and a Muslim dancing girl.

On the brink of war two years ago, the countries' leaders are meeting in Islamabad these days to break the long-standing impasse and work towards peace.  "Why should film personalities of the two countries get left behind when their politicians are engaged in [peace] talks?" asked veteran producer P.D. Mehra, of the Pakistan-India Performance Art Forum. The forum was founded to encourage peace between the neighbors. "A small country like Pakistan, which has a dearth of technical talent, can tremendously improve films with our help, while we could better our films with some of the original scripts and lyrics which the Pakistanis are good at." he said.

A delegation of leading Bollywood personalities plans to visit Pakistan in the near future to discuss a number of collaborative ventures, including a ban on making movies that incite cross-border hatred.   Previously Bollywood's cameramen, choreographers and editors worked secretly on productions from Lollywood, Pakistan's film industry, based in Lahore. Now they will work together openly.

 Pakistani actress Meera, a leader in the trend of Bollywood-Lollywood cooperation said, "There has been a lot of opposition in India and Pakistan, but no one can stop us because we are doing this for peace." 

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