A Bollywood movie still. Photo: Indianactors (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons
Bollywood has taken a blow from Covid-19 as theaters are closed and studios shuttered. Photo: Indianactors/Wikimedia Commons

Bollywood is getting pounded from both sides as Pakistan has decided to ban all Indian content on its television channels, radio stations and cinemas, citing restrictions in India on Pakistani actors working in Indian films.

Pakistan’s blanket ban on Indian shows and films comes a day after top Bollywood director  Karan Johar promised not to employ Pakistani actors in Indian films–after a major Indian cinema group declared that it would not screen films with Pakistani casts.

Scheduled for release next Friday to coincide with the Diwali holiday, Johar’s movie “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil” stars Fawad Khan, a famous Pakistani actor in India.

Producers Guild president Mukesh Bhatt and Dharma Productions’ Apoorva Mehta met Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday to demand security for theaters that would screen the movie. Earlier, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has said that it will not let the theaters in Maharashtra to screen the movie, which also features Ranbir Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai and Anushka Sharma.

Several single screen theaters had refused to screen it. Minister Singh seems to have assured a safe release. Meanwhile, the Mumbai police also set up a hotline and pledged extra security for any cinemas that chose to show the movie.

The Pakistani ban on television and radio shows will start at 3pm on Friday, said Muhammad Tahir, spokesman for the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA). It marks an end to the current law which allows the screening of a maximum of 86 minutes every day of Indian programmes on channels in Pakistan.

The ongoing dispute over the Kashmir region claimed by India and Pakistan has been the catalyst for the media row.