In a rare show of support for the local film industry, a leading Pakistani distributor and exhibitors have decided to shun two big releases --Shah Rukh Khan's Chennai Express and Akshay Kumar's Once Upon A Time in Mumbai 2 --this Eid.
Distributor Abdul Rashid told PTI that they have decided not to screen the two Bollywood movie to give a chance to four Pakistani films releasing on Eid.
"The reason is we have four big Pakistani releases lined up for Eid and this time we want to see how they fare at the box office without direct competition from Indian films," Rashid said.
Both the Indian films were slated for release on August 8 but Rashid said now Pakistani filmmakers will get a chance to screen their films, Josh, Waar, Main Huun Shahid Afridi and Ishq Khuda during Eid.
Rashid is the leading distributor of Indian films in Pakistan and admitted the decision to not release the two Bollywood films during the festive time could result in loss of revenues for exhibitors.
"But this time we want to see what happens because we are accused of not supporting the Pakistani film industry."
Rashid said he had been in touch with the production houses of the two Bollywood movies, UTV and Balaji and explained the situation to them.
Nadeem Mandviwalla, a leading exhibitor and partner of the Atrium multiplex in Karachi, said the government also wanted to protect the Pakistani film industry interests.
"The four Pakistani films which want more screens this Eid are good productions but we have to see how the public responds to them. As far as the Indian movies are concerned their release on Eid would have meant a bonanza for the exhibitors," he said.
Mandviwalla said there was a suggestion to release the two Bollywood starrers one week later in Pakistani cinemas.
Since the government allowed screening of Indian films in Pakistan the cinema business in Karachi in particular has been revived handsomely with distributors and exhibitors reporting profits in crores from some big releases.