Eid-ul-Azha is still a good two months away. For the Pakistani movie industry, however, that date has been in the news since last year. A coveted holiday period sought out by almost all the major filmmakers of the country, the Eid ul Azha holiday has become akin to a goose that is bound to lay a golden egg for whoever releases their movie on the day.
The case of multiple Eid releases
Let’s take a step back. Way back in 2018, Asim Raza announced that his second directorial venture Parey Hut Love would be released on Eid ul Azha in 2019; a decision the man and his film have stuck by completely. Then, Humayun Saeed announced later in 2018 that he would keep up with his tradition of releasing a film on Eid-ul-Azha but he eventually took back his announcement and chose not to release anything this year.
IRK Films later stepped in and announced their next feature Heer Maan Jaa as an Eid ul Azha release, which is definitely still happening. There were rumors of Shaan Shahid’s Zarrar also releasing on Eid ul Azha and clashing with PHL and HMJ but there hasn’t been any official news about that. Moreover, when The Legend of Maula Jutt bowed out of its first announced Eid ul Fitr release, there were rumors that the film would now release on Eid ul Azha but so far, no official date has been released.
Just when it had started to look that Pakistani film industry’s obsession with the Eid ul Azha holiday has seen it all, in a surprise turn of events, two new movies entered the field and locked the Eid for their release. The Khalil ur Rahman Qamar directorial venture Kaaf Kangana and the Mahira Khan-Bilal Ashraf starrer Superstar both announced Eid ul Azha as their release date and we were left holding our spinning heads at these sudden developments.
What the clashing filmmakers themselves have to say
So, to get a clearer picture, we reached out to all the key players of this clash to get their point of views about these developments.
Imran Raza Kazmi
“We only found out about these developments after they were announced,” said Imran Raza Kazmi of IRK Films and the producer of Heer Maan Jaa. “It is definitely a matter of concern as not just Heer Maan Jaa and Parey Hut Love, films that had been announced as badi Eid releases months ago, would be affected but so would Kaaf Kangana and Superstar as the shows would be divided.” Imran also said that these last-minute clashes give out a bad image to the distributors as well as the investors who get the impression that the Pakistani industry only has two big dates to offer for the films to do any business.
Asim Raza echoed Imran Raza Kazmi’s sentiments by saying, “The filmmakers must be aware of the market and its limitations. I would understand if the new filmmakers were to make such amateur mistakes but for the experienced people, who have been in this industry for so long, to do such things is simply incomprehensible. They must know that even if their product is of exceptional quality, the divided market would mean that they cannot make an exceptional business out of it. It’s simple logic.”
Khalil ur Rehman Qamar
The Kaaf Kangana‘s director, Khalil ur Rehman Qamar, however, had a slightly different view to it. “I make movies with the intention of boosting our Pakistani cinema. The more the merrier, as it gives the industry self-confidence. We should not be wary of releasing our products in the market. It is about time Pakistan gets free of the shackles of Bollywood films and stands on its own two feet.”
Following the success of Parwaz Hai Junoon last year, Momina Duraid has decided to release Hum Network’s next feature film Superstar on Eid ul Azha as well. In defense of her decision, Momina said, “Historically we’ve seen that if a film is good, it will do good business whether it’s a solo release or a multiple release scenario. Personally, I feel that we should concentrate on the quality of our films and if we keep making quality films, they will show numbers and the industry will grow.”
The (maybe) contentious ethical conduct of the clashing filmmakers
That was all about the economics of the clash. But what about the ethics of it? Parey Hut Love and Heer Maan Jaa are the two films which not only announced their release date months, and in PHL’s case a whole year, in advance. They also periodically made sure to keep the industry updated with the developments of their movies by throwing wrap up parties and releasing teasers and exclusive stills to keep the hype up.
By all means, these two movies have been fairly transparent about their production journies and have done everything fairly by minding the inclusivity of the industry. Is it not disrespectful towards them by the other films to suddenly announce a clash with them just a couple of months before the release?
“I refuse to believe that they are doing it innocently,” Asim said in a frank, matter-of-fact tone. “There is always lip service by the filmmakers that they are doing this for the industry but that is not the case. It’s high time words like, “hopefully things will work out well” and “let’s see what happens”, stop getting thrown around.
There should be a plan that everyone must follow. When Maula Jutt got delayed, people were at each other‘s throats after rumors of it being delayed till badi Eid spread. Now everyone is blatantly announcing whatever date they wish for without thinking about how the market only offers a certain share of the pie to everyone.”
Asim Raza concluded with sharing his disappointment in the fraternity, where he believes political games are being favored instead of thinking about the industry as a whole.
Imran Raza Kazmi
Imran Raza cited the example of his previous film Parchi and talked about how the producers that have been in the industry since 2013 have released their films on non-Eid days to send a message that the industry can support non-Eid films as well by having them turn a profit. “I wish every movie well but it would’ve been better had this last-minute clash been avoided. If the movies discussed their release dates with the Association beforehand, it would’ve been better but it’s a free market and everyone has a right to do what they feel is the best.”
He also said that while this clash is definitely a tough thing for the producers, the audience might not feel the same as they would have different kinds of films to choose from. “People want to see a certain kind of fun films on Eid. A romantic comedy or an action comedy would be welcomed by the audience as compared to a serious drama. But while it would be tough for the producers, the audience would definitely have a lot to choose from.
From the trailer of Kaaf Kangana, it looks like a tragic drama and Superstar is giving off serious drama vibes. They have a romantic comedy in Heer Maan Jaa and a romance drama with Parey Hut Love. I wish all the movies best of luck and let’s see how the films fare on Eid.”
Khalil Ur Rehman Qamar
Considering how Kaaf Kangana entered the race at the very last moment, the director of the movie did not sound concerned at all about what message this move sends. “I was asked to delay the movie but why should I be the one to do that?” asked KUR straightforwardly. “Why don’t the others act responsibly? I have 21 years of experience in the industry, the ones asking me to delay are the newbies. Why are they trying to tell me what to do? They can delay their movies and I would happily support them.”
KUR also said that his movie has been in the works for over a year, a fact that everyone was aware of. “I have always come with my movies on Eid ul Azha. My films like Punjab Nahin Jaungi and Nikki Jai Haan came on badi Eid. Everyone knew I have been working on this film for the past 14 months and I had announced it as well. But if other movies want to jump in then they are free to do so. Although, I do not think HUM’s film will get released on this date.”
KUR did, however, say that the people involved should sit down and have a discussion about these things. How is it possible that the industry people are not aware of which films are in the works and which have been announced to release on a certain date? “But if someone is in the mood to clash, so be it. We’ll see how it goes- yeh ghoda aur ye ghoday ka maidaan.”
A final word
On a parting note, Imran Raza Kazmi talked about the need for cross-channel promotions. “Everyone has to come up support the industry via helping in the marketing so at least the people should know that the film industry has revived and is now in the phase of survival stage. Firstly, there should be support in expanding the market via support in marketing i.e. Hum should promote products backed by ARY and ARY should do the same for Hum and Geo. Once that is achieved, everyone can give an opinion about the market however they wish.”
It’s to be seen which movie would be the ultimate winner. Unless someone else decides to make another last-minute announcement and make Eid ul Azha a five-way clash. Well, worry not. Galaxy Lollywood would be right here covering every development and bringing you exclusive insights on the coveted clash.