Sustainability commands success in the consumer market and cinema is not an exception to this trade rule either. A continuous presence of local films on cinema screens has been a primary requirement for the tenable growth of Pakistan film industry.
However, the current scenario defies this basic principle, where filmmakers and distributors have developed this chronic tendency of cluttering their releases on a particular date, mostly Eids.
This has led to the establishment of the widespread belief that Pakistani films only work on Eids and that too in the absence of their bigger counterparts from India or Hollywood. The presence of clear two-week space around Eids where no new release is allowed except for the local ones has only augmented this rhetoric. Even the blockbuster performance of the non-festival release, Teefa In Trouble, hasn’t helped in giving filmmakers and distributors any confidence.
The situation remains the same this year too. Into the second month of 2019, the image for the first three festival holidays seems to be getting more evident, and it looks pretty stark, to say the least.
The 23rd March Bandwagon
The news circle in the past few weeks has been brimming with the reports of at least three different films under consideration for the release on 22nd March 2019, a day earlier than the national holiday.
Among these three films are Mansha Pasha and Ahmed Ali Akbar’s Laal Kabootar, Armeena Khan and Mikaal Zulfiqar’s Sherdil, and Sheheryar Munawwar, Syra Shehroz, and Humayun Saeed’s Project Ghazi.
Out of the three, only Laal Kabootar is officially locked for 22nd March at this moment. However, multiple reports are confirming that the makers of the other two are thinking on the same lines too, which, if materialises, will only add to the box office complications on Pakistan Day.
As of now, close sources inform that Sherdil is still on the editing table and undergoing simultaneous dubbing. Whereas, Project Ghazi, with the lack of any on-going palpable promotion, may head towards another postponement. But even if these two do come out on 22nd March, the makers of Laal Kabootar do need to consider whether their film is rightly suited for a Pakistan Day release or not.
Interestingly, according to a report by VeryFilmi, there is a fourth addition to the list. Apparently, industry veteran Sangeeta has also decided to release her long-shelved Danish Taimoor starrer, Tum Hee Ho. However, when we contacted Danish for confirmation on this, he seemed completely unaware of the development.
Choti Eid Bara Dangal
Eid ul Fitr is debatably the most lucrative release spot for filmmakers. Pakistan’s biggest productions are kept for this holiday period of the year, and with time, the growing industry has witnessed overcrowding of this festival.
This year is no exception either as Fawad Khan, Mahira Khan starrer The Legends of Maula Jatt is confirmed to clash with the Sami Khan and Neelum Muneer starrer, Wrong No. 2 (WN2).
The makers of WN2 are justifying this release choice by saying that their film will add to the flavour on Eid and might benefit from the audience overflow from Maula Jatt. While it is a solid argument, the problem is that Wajahat Rauf has also announced that his untitled third will hit cinemas around Eid-ul-Fitr.
The co-producer of WN2, Hassan Zia, however, claimed in a talk with Galaxy Lollywood that their distributor, DC; that is also the distributor of Wajahat Rauf film, plans on pushing the latter’s film to 19th July. Well, nothing is officially announced from Wajahat’s side in this regard yet, but fingers crossed.
Eid ul Adha to Witness Biggest Dangal
With other dates already crammed, Lollywood’s bigwigs are ensuring to supersaturate our Eid ul Adha holidays too
The first film to lock Eid ul Adha as its release date was Sheheryar Munawwar and Maya Ali starrer romcom, Parey Hut Love (PHL). Ideally, when Asim had announced the film, other filmmakers should have backed out. Instead, PHL is reportedly going to face competition from three other films.
Like every year, this year too, Humayun Saeed has announced that he will be coming on Eid ul Adha with a film titled, Love You Jatta. The film is in its initial stages at the moment, and only Humayun knows how he will deliver it at the festival.
Besides that, producer Imran Raza Kazmi, even after a good response to his 2018 non-holiday experiment, Parchi, is in no mood to experiment further and has announced his next, Heer Maan Ja, starring Hareem Farooq and Ali Rehman Khan for Eid ul Adha 2019.
Last but not the least in this race will be Shaan Shahid’s highly anticipated spy-thriller Zararr. It was primarily Zarrar’s producer, Adnan Butt, who confirmed to Galaxy Lollywood that they have locked Eid ul Adha as their release date.
However, in a recent and soon-to-publish interview to Galaxy Lollywood, Shaan denied all such reports, but didn’t also rule out the possibility of this by saying “we are calculating our choices, and Eid ul Adha 2019 is one of them.”
Need for Collective Planning
While this has been said enough times already, we will reiterate the fact that filmmakers need to sit collectively and realize that for the Pakistani cinema to be taken seriously by both, its fans and critics, it has to come out of the Eid-only mindset.
It is also the responsibility of the public that if they want to Pakistani films through the year, then whenever a good non-holiday release takes place, they should come out in numbers and support it.