LAHORE : While the fate of Bollywood films remains in limbo in Pakistan, the same cannot be said of Kung Fu Yoga. Bollywood’s first co production with the Chinese film industry.
The upcoming action comedy is slated to hit theatres nationwide on February 3 despite boasting Bollywood actors Sonu Sood, Disha Patani and Amyra Dastur in titular roles. Renowned action star Jackie Chan is also part of the project.
Local distributors, however, are using Kung Fu Yoga to gauge the audience’s response towards Chinese productions. If the film fares well and finances permit, they hope to release more Chinese films in the future. “The best thing about Kung Fu Yoga is that it features Indian artistes. That is sure to attract Pakistani viewers,” Distribution Club CEO Sheikh Abid told The Express Tribune.
According to industry insiders, the Chinese are just as eager to begin trading films with Pakistan. Kung Fu Yoga will be the first Chinese offering to be screened here in the last eight years. There was once a time when Chinese films enjoyed stable viewership. Unfortunately, the Lollywood crisis rendered local distributors incapable of financing such initiatives.
The situation has exacerbated over the last few months due to the ban on Bollywood films. Under such circumstances, distributors and cinema owners have little choice but to try their luck with Chinese productions once again.
It is pertinent to mention that the decision to bring back Chinese films is also part of the government’s plan to cement political and economic relations with the neighbouring country. Last year, a delegation of Pakistani filmmakers and distributors visited China to scout for opportunities. Directors Syed Noor and Shahzad Rafique, singer Waris Baig and Chaudhary Ejaz Kamran – chairman of the Pakistan Film Distributor’s Association – were all part of the delegation.
“We cannot deny that filmmaking and audience’s preferences have evolved over the years. China will export romantic films, action films and even musicals,” Kamran said. “Also, since Kung Fu Yoga is a co production, we can derive inspiration from them to produce our own.”