Theatres to bring back best of Pakistani cinema



With a gap left by the ongoing ban on Bollywood films, local exhibitors have come up with an alternative to maintain footfall. As all we have left now is Hollywood and our local cinema to keep the cash flowing, cinema owners are in full preparation to bring back the best of Pakistani films to our screens.

Cinepax Cinemas took to Facebook page to make the announcement that it will be screening films like Moor, Manto, Mah-e-Mir and Bin Roye. “The schedule is not confirmed yet but it will obviously be after Ashura. We will announce it soon,” Cinepax Cinemas Assistant Marketing Manager Abid Ali Zaidi told The Express Tribune. Other films planned for reruns include Shah, Dukhtar, Bachaana and Zinda Bhaag.

Super Cinemas also has similar plans. “We are currently planning to do so but as of now, the three Eid releases are doing really well and we don’t want to affect their business. We will wait another week or so before we do it,” said Super Cinemas General Manager Khorem Gultasab. “We are already in talks with the producers of our popular films,” he added.

On the other hand, Atrium Cinemas Managing Director Nadeem Mandviwalla said he has no plans to rerun films currently as Janaan, Actor In Law and Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hay are doing well but he might consider doing so in the near future.

With Zinda Bhaag back in theatres, producer Mazhar Zaidi has a bittersweet response. “I’m happy to see that my film has been brought back to cinemas. It’s an encouraging step as people used to say they watched it at random screenings but not in cinemas,” he said. “However, at the same time, it’s a sad situation that we’ve ended up relying on reruns. This is obviously not a long-term solution since we depend heavily on Bollywood films for our revenue.”

It is interesting to note that four of the films being brought back – Moor, Zinda Bhaag, Mah-e-Mir and Dukhtar – have been Pakistan’s submissions for Academy Awards in recent years. Negotiations to rerun our first Oscar submission, Jago Hua Savera, are also under way.

The reruns come in the wake of exhibitors collectively deciding to ban Bollywood films in solidarity with Pakistani actors and the army, after the Indian Motion Picture Producers Association (IMPPA) decided to temporarily ban Pakistani artists from working in the neighbouring country.

In another interesting development, IMPPA member Rahul Aggarwal resigned over the ban. “With utmost respect and humility, I would like to resign from the executive body of IMPPA, following the ban on Pakistani artists in the Indian film industry,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “I strongly feel that art is above politics and as the custodians of this art, it is our responsibility to bring people together, rather than divide them.”

As local cinemas prepare to survive the turbulent months, it will be interesting to see how they affect the box office.