Pakistani film set for India

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NEW DELHI -- For the first time, a Pakistani film,"Khuda Ke Liye"(In the Name of God), will be released in India, the director told The Hollywood Reporter Friday.

Expected for release in February by Mumbai-based Percept Picture Co., Lahore, Pakistan-based director Shoaib Mansoor said, "This is a momentous occasion, and I am looking forward to the film's release in India. I am sure there is a lot of interest in this film."

Along with Pakistani talent such as model-turned-actress Iman Ali and actor Shan, "God" also stars veteran Indian actor Naseeruddin Shah in a key role as a liberal Muslim cleric. The cast also includes American actress Austin Marie Sayre.

The film was written, produced and directed by Shoaib Mansoor and will be distributed by Independent Motion Pictures (Pvt) Ltd. under the banner Geo Films. IMP holds the worldwide rights for "Khuda Kay Liye," and is owned by the GEO TV network.

"God" received critical acclaim and boxoffice success in Pakistan in July, and is seen as a milestone in reviving Pakistan's otherwise struggling film industry. Mumbai-based Percept Pictures director of distribution and acquisition Ashok Ahuja said, "The film has a very strong concept, and we are looking forward to promoting it here." Percept plans to release the film in the first half of February.

In December, Bollywood football drama "Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal" became the first Indian film to see a day-and-date release in Pakistan. Indian films have been officially banned in Pakistan since 1965, and Pakistani films were also never released in India. Mansoor said, however, that Pakistani films were never officially banned in India "but they were never considered for release in India because of their quality. I hope 'Khuda Ke Liye' will change that perception."

"Goal" was released in Pakistan because it was officially a U.K. production produced by the London-based banner of Mumbai-based UTV Motion Pictures.

"God" has screened at festivals in India, including December's International Film Festival in Goa. It will also screen Sunday in New Delhi at the opening of the International Week of Justice Festival organized by Amnesty International India.
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