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Pick Your Entertainer: India or Pakistan? 


One often hears the claim that there are no barriers and borders for art and creativity. Given the popularity of Indian songs and movies in Pakistan and vice versa, one is forced to accept this claim. Moreover, the two countries have now even initiated combined projects. Gallup Pakistan has been conducting regular polls on the subject.
In 2005, the people were asked about the kind of music they preferred. 24% said that they bought cassettes of Pakistani songs only, 39% bought cassettes of Indian songs only and 35% liked both Indian and Pakistani songs.
In 2006, 19% stated that they bought cassettes of Pakistani songs, 37% preferred Indian music and 39% asserted that they purchased cassettes of both Indian and Pakistani songs. 70% of the respondents also claimed that they watched Indian movies in contrast to 30% who stated that they did not watch Indian films. In addition, 69% admitted that they liked Indian movies the most, 10% preferred English films and 21% declared that they liked Pakistani movies the best. When asked about specific Indian channels watched by the public, 31% of those questioned said that they watched Star Plus.
The respondents were also questioned about coproduction between the two countries in 2006. 38% of the people believed that joint ventures will improve the quality of Pakistan dramas and films, 21% felt that they would deteriorate it, 24% were of the opinion that there would be no change and 17% said that they did not know. The respondents were clearly divided on the issue of Pakistani artists working in India. 50% favored such a situation and 50% were against it. Similarly, 52% were in favor of Indian artists working in Pakistan and 48% opposed such a scenario.
50% had had the opportunity of viewing a movie or a television serial in which artists from both the countries had performed. 49% had not watched any such film or television soap. Amongst those who had watched such a film or drama, 46% considered it to be good, 39% claimed it to be normal and 10% rated it as bad. 5% were not sure. 22% were of the view that Pakistani artists had performed better in the play or film, 19% felt that Indian artists’ performance was better and 59% thought that both had performed well. When asked about the quality of Indian and Pakistan movies and plays, 21% asserted that Pakistani movies were good, 61% considered Pakistani plays to be good, 40% rated Indian movies as good and 32% said the Indian plays were good.
When questioned about the exhibition of Indian movies in Pakistani cinemas, 52% said that they were in favor of such an action and 48% stated that they were against it. 58%, however, were of the opinion that the showcasing of Indian movies in Pakistani cinemas would increase the number of cinema goers, 13% felt that the number of cinema goers would decline, 25% believed that there would be no change and 1% did not offer a response. In response to another question, only 4 % of those questioned said that they went to the cinema, 55% stated that they watched movies on their television or cable and 15% used a VCR. 25% of the people said that they did not watch movies.
In 2007, when cable operators had once again started broadcasting Indian channels, 71% of the respondents said that they could view Indian channels on their cable, 14% said that they did not have access to Indian channels and 15% said that they did not know. 44% were in favor of broadcasting Indian channels, 36% were against it and 11% said that they were not sure. Similarly, 46%of the people were convinced that Indian channels were shown on public demand as compared to 33% who believed that they were broadcasted so that the people were distracted and did not watch the national news. 21%, however, expressed their uncertainty over the matter. When inquired about the channels that were mostly viewed by the public, 71% said that they mostly viewed Pakistani channels, 53% mostly watched Indian channels and 23% preferred English channels.
While the majority of the people seem to enjoy Indian music and like India movies, a lot of them are still against the idea of joint ventures and the showcasing of Indian movies in Pakistani cinemas. Perhaps the notion of India being an enemy or an opponent takes precedence when such a suggestion is put forward or maybe the people are simply worried that the much stronger Indian industry will completely take over and outdo Pakistan’s entertainment industry.
These surveys and polls were conducted by Gallup Pakistan, an affiliate of Gallup International, on a sample of over 1100 respondents in urban areas of all four provinces of Pakistan. This sample was statistically selected across all ages, income groups and educational levels. The error for a sample of this kind is estimated to be +/- 5% at a 95% confidence level.