Pakistan has lifted its 41-year ban on Bollywood pics: Helmer K. Asif’s 1960 epic “Mughal-e-Azam” unspooled in Lahore’s Gulistan Cinema last Friday, and Akbar Khan-helmed “Taj Mahal: An Eternal Love Story” (2005) will open in Karachi this Friday.
“Taj Mahal,” which had a disappointing run at the Indian box office, stars Sonya Jehan, granddaughter of Pakistani singing star Noorjehan.
Both films depict doomed love stories set in the Mughal court (around 1700 A.D.), when Muslim rulers held sway over the undivided subcontinent.
Bollywood films, though hugely popular in Pakistan, have been banned in theaters to protect the country’s limping film industry but are available on pirated DVDs and are sometimes shown on cable TV.
India and Pakistan have had a strained relationship since a bloody partition in 1947, when both countries won independence from the U.K. They have fought three wars over the disputed Kashmir state.