Ban on Bollywood films affecting footfalls in cinema halls in Pakistan

Film distributors in Pakistan say the ban on Indian films in Pakistan is affecting business as very few in Pakistan watch Hollywood films.

Post the Pulwama attack, Indian film fraternity decided not to release Indian movies in Pakistan. While the move hardly had any affect on the business of the Indian film industry, the ban is affecting footfall in cinemas halls in Pakistan, reports the Dawn.

“No-showing of Indian films always affects business in Pakistan, and it will remain that way. The reason is that a majority of the audience watches either Pakistani or Indian movies. Those who are into English films are in a minority. Even in the past, it was the Urdu and Punjabi films that used to be watched. The English ones would be run only in select cinema halls,” says Film distributor and exhibitor Nadeem Mandviwalla.

Even during Eid, people in Pakistan did not have lots of options (in films) to entertain themselves with. “The difference when Bollywood movies were shown and now is of about 70 and 30 per cent,” says Asad, who works at the box office (ticket counter) at a local multiplex.

As far as the Indian film industry, the collection from Pakistan forms a very tiny percentage of the worldwide box office collection numbers of Hindi films.

“There are about 150 screens in Pakistan. Like us, they also love Hindi movies. They make very few films. Also, you cannot show Hollywood films round-the-clock. Indian films are a big addiction… It is going to be tough for them as it is a small market for us,” Bollywood trade analyst Taran Adarsh.

“The impact of Indian films not releasing in Pakistan will be massive on exhibition sector there, but it will be minuscule for Indian producers. Lots of consumption of Indian films happens through piracy and the kind of collection that comes out of Pakistan is very less as compared to other territories,” says Mumbai based film exhibitor Akshay Rathi.

“Pakistan contributes around ‘four to six’ per cent to the total collection of Indian films. The losses can be amortized from other avenues like exploiting new media platforms. A blockbuster Indian film hardly grosses four to six per cent of Indian box office in Pakistan and for a regular film, it is even less. This is actually a big loss for them because their industry depends up to 70 per cent on Bollywood and Hollywood content,” Rahul Kadbet, Vice President, Programming at Carnival Cinemas.

About the Pakistani Film Industry

Bollywood films are getting bigger by the day, both in terms of production costs & market share; same goes for our South-Indian movies. But how about the film-industry across the border – in Pakistan?

Bollywood film Arth to be remade in Pakistan
Mahesh Bhatt’s classic film Arth will be the first Bollywood film to be remade in Pakistan. The Pakistani remake titled ‘Arth 2’ will be a contemporary retelling of the original story and will be set in Lahore. The Pakistani version will star Shaan Shahid, Humaima Malick, Uzma Hassan (Shabana Azmi) and Mohib Mirza.

An insider reports that Mahesh Bhatt gave the story and screenplay rights to Shaan without charging any money.

“When Shaan expressed the desire to revisit Arth, I had no objection. The story has endured the passage of time and is available in public domain. Shaan wanted to use my story and present it as a local, indigenous narrative that suited his country’s palate. I’m not aware of what he has done. Every filmmaker has his own worldview and the freedom to reinterpret a story the way he wishes.”

“Arth is the first film with the DNA of an Indian story to be set in Pakistan. If we want to strengthen film trade between our countries, Arth’s model is a great way of collaborating,” says Shaan.

Here are some posters of Arth, shared by Shaan on Instagram.

Pakistani Film ‘Waar’ breaking New Grounds
We’all know that Bollywood films are quite popular in Pakistan, but even Pakistani cinema has come a long way (in terms of better production quality).

Blockbuster movie ‘Waar’ got great response in the overseas market as well. The theme of the movie is terrorism, the story-line seems familiar, but this time the villain is ‘India’ (another reason probably it did well in Pakistan).

It seems the overall quality of movies in the Indian subcontinent is only going higher, which is definitely a good thing.