Is the ban on Indian films affecting footfall in cinemas?

Is the ban on Indian films affecting footfall in cinemas?

“No-showing of Indian films always affects business, and it will remain that way,” says Nadeem Mandviwalla.
Updated 06 Jun, 2019

Two local and three Hollywood films will entertain cine-goers this Eidul Fitr.

Sometimes the number of films screening — big or small — doesn’t matter a great deal; but it usually happens when a big banner movie or a film with a stellar cast (such as any of the Marvel ventures or projects with the Bollywood Khans in them) is being released on Eid. This time around, that’s not the case.

The two local films are Chhalawa, directed by Wajahat Rauf, and Yasir Nawaz’s Wrong No 2. The comedy quotient in both stories is on the higher side, and that seems to be the trend that Pakistani film-makers have largely been following since the much-hyped revival of cinema has taken place.

Some of the most commercially successful films in recent times — Jawani Phir Nahi Aani, Punjab Nahi Jaongi, Namaloom Afraad etc — are testimony to it. That’s not it, though. This year the most talked-about Pakistani cinema offering, thus far, has been Laal Kabootar directed by Kamal Khan, and it isn’t a comedy.

Mehwish Hayat (who has become a go-to heroine for our directors), Azfar Rehman, Adnan Shah and Mahmood Aslam make up the principal cast of Chhalawa, while Sami Khan, Neelam Munir, Nayyar Ejaz, Javed Sheikh and Danish Nawaz star in Wrong No 2.

The three Hollywood projects (released earlier worldwide) that will try and get some footfall in cinema halls are Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Aladdin and The Secret Life of Pets 2. The first two — helmed by Michael Dougherty and Guy Ritchie, respectively — are fantasy stories (Godzilla is also categorised as sci-fi). The third, directed by Chris Renaud, is an animated adventure comedy.

One can understand by looking at the line-up of Eid specials that there isn’t a wide variety available for cinephiles to entertain themselves with. Could it be that the ban on Indian films is affecting footfall? Asad, who works at the box office (ticket counter) at a local multiplex, agrees. “The difference when Bollywood movies were shown and now is of about 70 and 30 per cent. These days the number of viewers increases on occasions such as Eid.”

Film distributor and exhibitor Nadeem Mandviwalla feels the same. “No-showing of Indian films always affects business, 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 in cinemas such as Prince and Capri.”

As far as the Pakistani films are concerned, Mandviwalla is optimistic about them. “Two films are being released on Eid. Even if one of them does well, it will be good for the industry.”

Originally published in Dawn, June 5th, 2019


Anti-Corruption_Pakistani Jun 06, 2019 12:09pm
No, we don't want Indian films in Pakistan, until India shows our films. We have to encourage our film industry with films that promote unity, loyality patrioism, our culture and religion, and conveying positive message of being Pakistani first.
Shah Jun 06, 2019 01:06pm
I have not followed Bollywood since Kargil conflict and I have never looked back. Torturing your self for 2-3 hours watching a 50 years old man with haircolor falling in love with a 19 year old girl with no acting talent. No thank you. I value my time.
Sameer Jun 06, 2019 01:24pm
This Mandviwalla's business is the only one getting effected. We Pakistanis are extremely pleased to see raunchy and pure vulgarity banned. Good material from India is a a rare possibility nowadays since their public demand is not OUR public demand.
Bipul Jun 06, 2019 01:29pm
There are no movies in Indian theatre either.
topbrass Jun 06, 2019 01:29pm
Funny predicament !!! You ban Indian films and you suffer lower footfalls. If you allow Indian films anyway your films will experience still lower footfalls. What is better low OR lower footfalls.
Laila Jun 06, 2019 02:01pm
I don't watch bollywood so I, for one, am not affected in case you all wanted to know.
Ravi Jun 06, 2019 02:35pm
U can't survive without us
Fastrack Jun 06, 2019 02:48pm
Never watch them. They say most are Hollywood rip-offs anyway. Stay away.
Mangoman Jun 06, 2019 03:46pm
Keep the ban.
indian Jun 06, 2019 03:57pm
Ban on Bollywood films in Pakistan helps both Pakistan and India,
Just Saying Jun 06, 2019 04:41pm
What about Turkish or Chinese films.
RP Jun 06, 2019 06:17pm
Why ban , we need to bridge by any way to eachother, it's either people to people contact , trade, tourism, infact internet is world vide you can access by any way on YouTube if you name of movie, but it's better feel when you see new realeased in theatre...
Anon Jun 06, 2019 06:23pm
No to Indian films.
Prapr Jun 06, 2019 07:18pm
Pirated copies are watched at home. Ban is for poor only. Many watched Bharat by now. It’s loss to both theaters and movie makers.
peace Jun 06, 2019 07:25pm
Indian films should not be banned as culture is same.
SHAHID SATTAR Jun 06, 2019 08:00pm
Stop complaining and start selling something else as a side business. At least you will be in a position to bear your staff's salaries and other expenses related to the cinema business.
Beiging China Jun 06, 2019 11:08pm
Why are cinemas on cost cutting mode then
isha Jun 07, 2019 01:32am
so when indian gov bans bollywood from releasing their movies in pakistan what will be the excuse of distributors in that case ??. its better that they get the dubbed version of hollywood movies and invest in local productions to get rid of their reliance on Bollywood
Reader Jun 07, 2019 08:19am
Let us ban the politicians instead. Then we can once again live in peace as we have for a thousand years.
oldhabibian Jun 07, 2019 03:11pm
Why not? India bans our players and actors. So why not us. As for the cinemas. Perhaps they can be more creative with their investments.