Maoists score self-goal with ban on Hindi movies
Weekends are not the same these days for lovers of Hindi movies in Nepal. The ban on screening of ‘vulgar’ Hindi films by a Maoist party has robbed them of their weekly dose of entertainment.
It’s been a week since cinema halls in Kathmandu Valley and outside stopped screening Hindi movies due to the ban imposed by Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist, a breakaway faction of the ruling Maoists.
The party led by Mohan Baidya had stipulated that it is not against all Hindi films, but only against those which are vulgar and portray Nepalis and Nepal in poor light.
But cinema hall owners are not taking any chances and have stopped screening all Hindi movies. Hence, many movie buffs failed to view ‘Barfi’, ‘Heroine’ and ‘Oh My God’—films which were being screened at the time of the ban.
The comeback films of Rani Mukherjee (‘Aiyyaa’), Sridevi (‘English Vinglish’) and Nepal’s very own Manisha Koirala (‘Bhoot Returns’) will also be missed by those eagerly awaiting these flicks.
Baidya’s party is of the belief that a ban on Hindi films will have a positive impact on Nepali movies, which barring a few in recent months have failed to pose any challenge to Bollywood’s masala fare.
Though some movie halls have downed shutters completely, a few are showing only Nepali movies since Monday. But the response (at least in Kathmandu) hasn’t been very heartwarming.
Reports say both multiplexes and single screen theatres are incurring losses of NRs 25 lakh (Rs. 15 lakh approx.) daily. It is feared that if the ban is not lifted soon, many theatres may have to shut shop permanently.
The Maoist faction, which split from the ruling Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) in June, may have used the ban on Hindi movies (and entry of Indian vehicles into Nepal) as a ploy to boost its rating.
But the plan seems to have misfired.
Fans of Hindi movies are angry at being denied the prime source of entertainment and there’s anger among others for the attempt at crushing freedom of choice as enshrined in the country’s constitution.
Though the Nepal government had assured that the ban would not be allowed to come into force, it hasn’t done anything significant till date to restart screening of Hindi movies.
India meanwhile has preferred not to issue any statement on the ban.
“They (CPN-Maoist) achieved a great goal with the ban. But unfortunately it’s a self goal,” was all an Indian diplomat posted in Kathmandu had to say when asked about New Delhi’s silence.
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