ISLAMABAD: This November, China will release the first Pakistani film to hit its cinemas in more than 40 years as Beijing seeks to forge even closer relations with longtime ally Islamabad at a time when its relations with India, with its giant film industry, are on the decline, international media reported on Tuesday.
The action-romance film “Parwaaz Hai Junoon” will screen in wide release from November 13, American media company Variety reported.
Beijing has invested over $60 billion dollars in Pakistan in recent years, financing a network of energy and infrastructure projects under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor.
Now, films will also be used to bolster closer ties.
Chinese authorities announced back in April 2019 at the Pakistan-China Trade and Investment Forum, an event on the sidelines of Beijing’s Belt and Road Forum, that they would import “Parwaaz Hai Junoon.”
The film’s release comes ahead of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Pakistan in May 1951.
Until now, the amity between Pakistan and China has not translated into the exchange of films, despite a “cultural cooperation agreement” signed in 1965.
The most expensive Pakistani film ever made, the upcoming “Legend of Maula Jatt,” a Punjabi-language reboot of the 1979 Lollywood cult classic “Maula Jatt,” was widely billed in the local press as the first Pakistani film to receive a day-and-date release in China. However, its planned May 2020 debut was indefinitely pushed back by the coronavirus pandemic and its China fate appears unconfirmed.
Only a half dozen Pakistani films have been screened in China in recent years, and mostly at government-run Chinese film festivals such as the “Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Film Festival” and the Silk Road International Film Festival.