Our Bureau

Mumbai, April 6

THE three-day conference on media and entertainment, FICCI-Frames 2005, ended today on the possibility that India and Pakistan could come together to organise a media and entertainment conference in Pakistan.

Mr Shakeel-ur-Rehman, Chairman of the Pakistan-based Jung group of companies, said that his media company would look at the possibility of organising a conference on the lines of Frames in Pakistan.

Responding to this initiative, filmmaker Yash Chopra, who is the Chairman of FICCI's Entertainment Committee, said that the Indian industry would join hands with its Pakistani counterpart in this initiative.

The Jung group, which has a presence in the newspaper, music and cable TV businesses, is also in the process of setting up an entertainment park in Karachi.

Mr Rehman invited Indian media entrepreneurs to participate in projects at this park.

The group is due to get Government approval to set up DTH operations in Pakistan.

Mr Rehman advocated the need for promoting Brand Pakistan, especially in the media and entertainment industry. "Brand Pakistan desperately needs repacking," he told delegates to the valedictory session today.

Pakistan at one time made as many as 130 films annually, many of them bringing in good revenues. There were some 1,800 cinema halls.

"Today there are only 250 cinema halls and about 35 films were released last year. Many of the successful filmmakers had to shut shop during the Zia-ul-Haq regime."

Mr Rehman agreed that no Pakistan film could survive in the Indian market while Indian films are hugely popular all over Pakistan.

He acknowledged that the Pakistani film industry needs to make films with family themes and change the entire format of filmmaking.

The Musharraf Government, according to Mr Rehman, has taken positive decisions for the media and entertainment industry such as lifting the ban on cross-media ownership, setting the broadcast regulator as an independent authority.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated April 7, 2005)
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