Karzai invite Indian filmmakers to shoot films in Afghanistan
By Sayed Jawad - Tue Nov 13 2012, 12:20 pm
Karzai met with a delegation of the Indian filmmakers on Saturday and vowed to take necessary actions for the provision of logistical support to the filmmakers.
Director Mahesh Bhatt, who was part of the film delegation that met Karzai on Saturday quoted by Times of India said, “Mr Karzai spoke about how the appetite for entertainment was peaking in his country. Almost 35 channels have started airing all kinds of content in Afghanistan. Our movies and TV soaps are a rage.”
Even during the war, Hindi movies were screened in cinemas of Kabul. Bhatt adds, “Mr Karzai emphasized that the time is here for the Indian film industry to pick up the threads from where we left and build strong cinematic ties with Afghanistan. He has welcomed us with open arms to come and film there. He assured us that his government will give us all the logistical support.”
Karzai, who speaks fluent Hindi, talked about actors like Meena Kumari and Rajendra Kumar. General secretary of FWICE, Dinesh Chaturvedi, said, “He even knew most of our actors and actresses and is more than happy to see our films release in Afghanistan.”
Afghanistan was one of the biggest foreign markets for Bollywood films until the early 1990s. Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra and Hema Malini still have a fan-following here.
Newer actors like Shah Rukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan, John Abraham and Katrina Kaif too have developed vast admirers among Afghan youngsters who watch Hindi movies on local TV channels and through DVDs in bigger cities like Kabul, Kandahar and Mazar-e-Sharif.
Bollywood broke new ground in Afghanistan in 2006 with the release of Kabul Express, the first international movie filmed in post-Taliban Afghanistan. India’s traditionally friendly ties with Afghanistan have been on a high since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.
India is the sixth largest donor to the country with an aid budget of more than $1.5 billion, and Indian companies are rebuilding roads and schools in this country despite constant security threats. India and Afghanistan have established a strong relationship based on their historical and civilisational ties and strengthened New Delhi’s role in the reconstruction of the war-scarred nation.