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    Pak. film 'Khuda Ke Liye' released in India

    Mumbai (PTI): Ending a gap of more than four decades since a Pakistani film was projected in Indian theatres, "Khuda Ke Liye", a box-office hit from across the border, was on Friday released all over India.

    Pakistani director Shoaib Mansoor's debut venture, the film has been released in more than a hundred cinemas in 20 cities across the country.

    The film stars Pakistani actor Shan and model Imam Ali along with a special appearance by Indian actor Naseeruddin Shah who has played the role of a Muslim cleric.

    "The film got a huge welcome from the Indian audiences at its Red Carpet premiere in Mumbai yesterday. And we hope it will do good business here," said Ashok Ahuja of Percept Picture Company, the distributor of the film in India.

    "The film is an attempt to project the tragedy of a liberal Muslim, who internally is not considered a good Muslim because of his modernity and outside his religion, he is labelled a fundamentalist just for having a Muslim name," director Shoaib Mansoor told PTI in an e-mail interview.

    The internationally-acclaimed film deals with the story of two pop musician brothers in Lahore. One comes under the influence of fundamentalists, while the other brother goes to the US, where he is held by the police due to his Muslim name.

    Following the 1965 war, Pakistan outlawed all Indian films from being screened there and that was followed by a similar ban in India.

    Trade analyst Amod Mehra described the "Khuda Ke Liye" to be a well-made and hard-hitting one. But at the same time he was sceptical about its box office success in India.

    "The movie will be liked by lovers of good cinema. I wonder whether the college-going crowd that frequents multiplexes will enjoy a serious film like this," he said.

    Film critics were also divided over the fate of the film at the box office given the fact that cinema here is entertainment-driven.

    They felt that a theme like the one depicted in 'Khuda...' is more for the thinking viewer, who loves to ponder over the movie after watching it.

    This is a film that sparks off debates and discussions, they said.

    Filmmaker Ashok Pandit lauded the finesse with which director Shoaib Mansoor has handled a sensitive subject.

    "The fact that this film makes a bold statement against fundamentalism and comes from Pakistan is a very good achievement. It is well-directed and takes a balanced view.

    The look of the film is also mind blowing, he added.

    Recently, two Indian blockbusters -- Aamir Khan's "Tare Zameen Par" and Akshay Kumar-Katrina Kaif starrer "Welcome" -- were released in Pakistan.

    Film-maker Mukesh Bhatt termed the release of "Khuda Ke Liye" in India as a "historic occasion".

    "It is a historic day as a Pakistani film is being released in our theatres after a gap of decades," Bhatt said.

    Mansoor's film was recently honoured with Pakistan's highest civilian award -- 'Sitar-i-Imtiaz', and also won the special jury award at the 31st Cairo International Film Festival in December last year.


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