In February this year, we witnessed Pakistan putting a blanket ban on the Indian films after Bollywood producers like Ajay Devgan and Dinesh Vijan decided not to release their respective films Total Dhamaal and Luka Chuppi in Pakistan. This led to local cinemas also placing a ban on Bollywood with Gully Boy being the last film to be released in the Pakistan market.
The aftermath of the blanket ban on Bollywood
Since the blanket ban on Indian films, the cinemas have suffered massively all over the country. Most of them have shut down their screens with multiplexes only playing on 3 to 4 screens with limited shows. It is, unfortunately, the dearth of content that has led to the shutting down of these screens. Cherry on top, with most of our local films releasing only on national holidays thereby creating a clutter, our cinemas have nothing else to play on the other days.
The good part about Indian films is that there is a new release every other week which keeps the cinemas afloat. Even if they are not huge successes, their constant flow helps the cinema industry stay grounded. This implies that for the entirety of the said ban, the films missed could have been big hits, had they been released here. These films include names such as Total Dhamaal, Luka Chuppi, Kalank, Badla, Student of the year 2 and De De Pyaar De.
Bharat to be released in Pakistan?
Now, just a few days back, elections wrapped up in India and Prime Minister Modi was re-elected. As our Prime Minister pointed out a month back that Modi’s government’s come back would be a good sign for India-Pakistan relations, the local cinema industry is feeling the same. There is some unconfirmed news coming through that Bharat might see a release in Pakistan. Some distributor companies are trying to get the rights for the film while we can sense some good vibes coming from the other side of the border too. One point to be noted here is that if it releases in Pakistan, it will happen one week after Eid, as per the rules of the local body.
Bharat‘s release, if it happens, will be a sigh of relief for the local cinema industry. The local releases scheduled for Eid are yet to generate any real hype and we are keeping our fingers crossed for if they actually follow through with their promotional strategies, we can witness some huge numbers. Similarly, the foreign releases Aladdin and Godzilla 2 while seem to be a tad bit appealing but there are no chances of them being the long-running winners, for now.
Salman Khan’s films on Eids, on the other hand, have almost always been a big pull for the Pakistani audience. Sultan’s opening records were broken a month back by Avengers but it is still one of the highest grossing foreign films. Similarly, Race 3, opened to humungous opening numbers last year, despite the movie mired in bad reports.
Our fingers are crossed, and we hope that Bharat releases in Pakistan soon so that it can bring Bollywood back to the country as entertainment should always be kept separate from politics or so we think.