Internet has brought India, Pakistan together: Sabiha Sumar


New Delhi, July 2 : Pakistani filmmaker Sabiha Sumar, best known for directing films like “Khamosh Pani”, “Good Morning Karachia and “Chotay Shah”, feels the evolution of the digital media has brought the people of India and Pakistan closer.

Sumar, whose film “Chotay Shah” was the opening film of the 7th Jagran Film Festival along with Ketan Mehta’s “Toba Tek Singh”, feels India’s Bollywood has a “huge impact” on the entire sub-continent and many Pakistanis have learned Hindi language by seeing Bollywood films.

While speaking at a panel discussion, titled “Cinema Beyond Borders”, on Saturday, she said: “Internet has brought India and Pakistan together. Even when I went to college at the Cambridge University, I met students of my age from India. They were just like us.

“I remember going to one of my friends home and she started playing Begum Akhtar’s song and I was like ‘You also listen to her songs’. I feel with internet, now the connectivity is even stronger.”

About the demand of Indian films across the border, Sumar said: “Bollywood has definitely had a huge impact on the entire subcontinent. Even many people have learned Hindi by watching Bollywood films. When I went a village in Sindh, people there talk about Govinda. Even when I go to Thar Desert, people there say that we see everything on our phones only.”

She said that “Indians and Pakistanis connect with each other through music and stories as they are an important part of our culture”.

“I don’t think a nation can survive or thrive without storytelling.”

Apart from Sumar, the panel also included Indian filmmakers Sudhir Mishra and Bejoy Nambiar, and veteran Pakistani actor-director Khalid Ahmed.

Asked why Pakistani cinema didn’t get chance to evolve, Ahmed said: “It’s difficult to tell this. I think it was because of two factors. Firstly the tradition of Bollywood films has been going on since the pre-Partition era and it continues to do so.

“When the film industry was setup in Lahore, it was a new beginning. A lot of people from here went there and started a new thing. Also talent, expertise and technology were always there in Mumbai which was not available on that side of the border. Even the market is small there.”

The five-day Delhi leg of the Jagran Film Festival, which is taking place here at the Siri Fort Auditorium, will next showcase films like “Aligarh”, “Airlift”, “Natsamrat”, “Talvar” and “Sarbjit” among others.

After its Delhi leg, which will conclude on July 5, the festival will travel to different cities like Kanpur, Lucknow, Allahabad, Varansi, Agra, Meerut, Dehradun, Hisar, Ludhiana, Patna, Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Raipur, Indore, and Bhopal. The final leg of the festival will take place in Mumbai.

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