Eid is always a great time for Pakistani films. The national holiday serves as the perfect time for families to go out and often, their need for an outing takes them to a cinema. This works out very well for our film industry which usually releases films keeping the Eid holidays in mind.
This is precisely the reason why so many films are released during Eid time and why they do better than films released on other days. Not to say that this time slot isn’t competitive enough; all the major Pakistani studios put forth their best features at this time. Which is why the Government of Pakistan’s decision to temporarily ban Indian films (and give Pakistani films more of a shot at the box office) was music too much of Pakistani film industry. Now the Pakistani government has decided to extend the ban for two weeks, instead of the one week ban.
The news comes shortly after it was announced that cinemas nationwide were prohibited from screening films two days before and two weeks after the Eid days. This would mean that theaters across Pakistan would lose a lot of the revenue they usually generate from Bollywood films which wouldn’t really help anyone. Back in 2016 when Bollywood films were banned in Pakistan due to tension between Indian and Pakistani Armies, cinema owners reportedly incurred Rs 150 million in losses. And by reducing the temporary ban for Indian films, cinema owners are going to prevent losses that would come about due to lack of Bollywood films.
Back in 2016 when Bollywood films were banned in Pakistan due to tension between Indian and Pakistani Armies, cinema owners reportedly incurred Rs 150 million in losses.
It’s very likely that the decision to reduce the time span of the ban came as a result of pressure from international distributors who wanted to see some Indian films benefit from the Eid holiday boon. But whether or not Bollywood content is being screened or not, Pakistani Cinema will be doing quite well with Mahira Khan, Sheheryar Munawar starrer 7 Din Mohabbat In, war thriller Azadi (starring Jawaid Sheikh), Mikaal Zulfiqar and Ali Kazmi’s Na Band Na Baarati all released during the Eid holidays.
Previous releases Motorcycle Girl and Cake will still be playing at select theaters too. And although Cake has been released some time ago. In fact, if auideinces don’t enjoy 7 Din Mohabbat In they could instead end up watching the critically acclaimed Sanam Saeed-Aamina Sheikh film Cake.
The decision to reduce the duration of the Bollywood film ban also helps out Salman Khan’s Race 3. Because the film would have had to delay an extra week before airing in Pakistan, it would have ended up releasing on the same day as Ranbir Kapoor’s Sanjay Dutt biopic Sanju which has been generating a lot of buzz. Due to the two week ban, Race 3 and Sanju would have clashed on the same date and in light of how well Sanju’s promotional content has been received online, Sanju would have done better business. With Race 3 now being released in Pakistan a week before Sanju, it has a decent shot of doing business.
In fact if word of mouth for 7 Din Mohabbat In isn’t the best, the audiences opting for the Mahira Khan film could instead end up watching the critically acclaimed Sanam Saeed-Aamina Sheikh film Cake.
Now all is left to do is wait and see which movie reigns supreme at the domestic box office on Eid ul Fitr.