Local filmmakers and producers say that local films are counting losses while Indian films are making profits from the film exchange under South Asian Free Trade Area agreement with India.
Though same number of films is exchanged following the SAFTA agreement, films are not released in equal number of cinemas of the both countries, said leading producers, director and actors.
Indian films are released in over 100 top cinemas in Bangladesh while Bangladeshi films those are exported to India under the agreement gets eye-wash release in theatres such as Nandan Mancha in Kolkata, Dhallywood insiders say.
‘Our films are getting released in maximum five cinemas in India, while Indian films are exhibited in all top cinemas in Bangladesh. Through the process Indian producers are taking control over the local film market’, said former Bangladesh Film Producers Association convenor Nasiruddin Dilu.
The release of Indian films in the local cinemas also hampers release of local films. Filmmaker Tauquir Ahmed said, the local exhibitors dropped down his latest film Haldaa within a week to exhibit the Indian film Cockpit in December. ‘Halda was doing good business, but owners of local cinemas dropped down Haldaa and started screening the Indian film anticipating that the Indian film, which was imported in the local market under SAFTA agreement, would do better business,’ Tauquir said.
Another setback for the local film industry is that most of the local films sent to India under SAFTA agreement are not the latest or popular films which is representing us poorly and is tarnishing local film industry’s reputation abroad.
‘I do not think the exchange is benefitting us in any way,’ said veteran film director Amjad Hossain.
‘Our local industry is on the verge of extinction. If we think that imported films will help the industry it will be a grave mistake. We need to concentrate on making quality films’, said acclaimed director Kazi Hayat.
Bangladesh Film Directors’ Association president Mushfiqur Rahman Gulzar said Indians are taking advantage of the greed of the local exhibitors who argue that release of Indian films will be helpful for their business. ‘But, it is harmful for local film industry in every sense,’ Gulzar said.
He said all the associations of Dhallywood would discuss the impact of film exchange with information ministry soon.
Information ministry officials said that they would take the matter seriously if they get any complaint.
‘We have always given priority to demands made by the local film industry,’ said Manzurur Rahman, additional secretary of information ministry.