MUMBAI: Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has invited Indian producers to come and film in his country. He promised safety and provision of logistical support to the filmmakers.
According to a report in TOI: Director Mahesh Bhatt, who was part of the film delegation that met Karzai , said, "Mr Karzai spoke about how the appetite for entertainment was peaking in his country. Almost 35 channels have started airing all kinds of content in Afghanistan. Our movies and TV soaps are a rage."
Afghanistan was among the biggest markets of Bollywood films until the early 1990s.
Even during the war, Hindi movies were screened in cinemas of Kabul. Bhatt adds, "Mr Karzai emphasized that the time is here for the Indian film industry to pick up the threads from where we left and build strong cinematic ties with Afghanistan. He has welcomed us with open arms to come and film there. He assured us that his government will give us all the logistical support."
Karzai, who speaks fluent Hindi, talked about actors like Meena Kumari and Rajendra Kumar. General secretary of FWICE, Dinesh Chaturvedi, said, "He even knew most of our actors and actresses and is more than happy to see our films release in Afghanistan."
Karzai also said there are so many things common in the culture of our two countries and we need to celebrate that.
Arshad Warsi, who shot his film Kabul Express in Afghanistan, also attended the meet. He said, "Mr Karzai assured us that it is absolutely safe to shoot films in Afghanistan. There are about 35 TV channels there and most of them are Indian."
Other films shot in Afghanistan are Khuda Gawah, Escape from Taliban and Dharmatma.