Many celebrities aren't pleased with the release of Doctor Strange 2 alongside launch of five Pakistani films

Many celebrities aren't pleased with the release of Doctor Strange 2 alongside launch of five Pakistani films

Amar Khan, Ali Rehman Khan, Hareem Farooq and Adnan Siddiqui and others believe local films should be given preference.
10 May, 2022

Celebrities, particularly from the film industry, took a stand against the release of foreign films such as Doctor Strange 2 during the initial release period of local films. They said if they stayed silent, "our own will keep bulldozing over us till there are no local films left."

This Eid, five Pakistani films were scheduled for a release and they were promoted for months before the launch. The release date of Marvel's Doctor Strange 2 coincided with the local films' early days in theatres, which filmmakers believe led to a drop in ticket sales. There was a lot of backlash from the directors, who demanded change in order for local films to prosper. The released movies included Dum Mastam, Parde Mein Rehnay Do, Ghabrana Nahi Hai. and Chakkar.

Actors and directors united to put their stance on the matter forward, claiming that foreign films are going to lead to the death of Pakistani cinema. On Saturday, a group of producers and directors held a press conference at the Arts Council of Pakistan in Karachi and asked the authorities to give them some relief.

Badar Ikram representing the Hum TV Network said they had earlier requested the authorities to give the Pakistani films three days (Friday — when the English film was to be screened — Saturday and Sunday) after Eid. “We were given assurance by the ministry through different quarters that we would get that. We must clarify here that we’re not against foreign films nor do we want to ban any film. We want cinemas to earn money. If they earn, the film business will increase, and Pakistani films will benefit from it. Our plea is that we have given five films which have been very well received. After a long time Pakistani films have performed well. Until 3pm yesterday [Friday] we were going great. Immediately after 3pm, 50 per cent of the shows were dropped. We don’t know what’s going to happen today.”

Actor Adnan Siddiqui, who produced Dum Mastam, said it is his first venture as producer. “Through our life savings (umr bhar ki kamai) we put the film on the silver screen only because it’s our passion. I’m not saying that I should get profit out of it. If I get in return what I’ve invested, it’ll be a big thing for me. But it doesn’t seem like it. That foreign film had already raked in big money through advanced booking, so even if it was released a little later, it’d have attracted the same crowds. We had only asked a week for that film to delay… How can our cinema become big? Only if you support us.”

Yasir Nawaz, the director of Chakkar, said he’d begun shooting for the film a few days before Covid hit the country. Nobody knew how long the pandemic would last. “We said let’s bear this three to four-day loss and not make the film. But then we thought that if we don’t make films, how the industry will move forward. We do a great deal of work to promote films so that people walk into cinema houses. So we should support each other. Someone informed me that he had bought the ticket for our film but when he went to the cinema he was told that either he get a refund or watch the foreign film,” he said.

Celebrities lend their support

Dum Mastam actor Amar Khan posted a long video discussing how the filmmakers had been wronged. "How strange, Dr Strange! These are my thoughts straight from the heart on what has happened to not just #DumMastam but the five films from Pakistan released this Eid," she captioned her post. "Pakistan wants its audience more than ever before. Also the industry [needs] not to be quiet anymore and be[come] one unit,"

"The [solution to the] problem is not you banning foreign films or stopping the public from watching what they demand but it's about equality and on an occasion like Eid, I think it is the Pakistani films that need to be prioritised." The actor asked her followers for support because thousands of people are working hard to revive the film industry. "If we don't keep making attempts, we won't evolve. Dr Strange, strangely, does not need you."

Director of Parde Mein Rehnay Do Wajahat Rauf posted a news snippet that discussed the negative impacts of foreign films and tagged the authorities, asking them to intervene to ensure fairness and the survival of the Pakistani film industry.

"The Motion Picture Ordinance of Pakistan says you cant exhibit more than 15% foreign content on occasions like Eid. Here we have five Pakistani films with sold out shows in prime time shows (some sold out even at 3am) and they are either taken down or given 70 per cent less shows, most of which are at odd timings. We appeal to PM Shahbaz Sharif, ISPR (Inter-Services Public Relations) and Maryam Aurangzeb to interfere, to regulate.. and be fair. All movies local or foreign, should get an equal opportunity or this will [be] the death of the industry...once again," he wrote.

Rauf also shared his film's lead actor Ali Rehman Khan's message on his Instagram account, grateful for people speaking up to avoid getting their voices and work squashed. "Thank you Ali Rehman Khan for standing up for your film and for the Pakistani film industry. Chup rahay to [If we stay silent] our own will keep bulldozing over us till there are no local films left."

Actor Zhalay Sarhadi also called for all units of the industry to come together saying "If we keep taking the sahara [support] of foreign films and not give our own a fleeting chance, let's dig our graves abhi say [from now]." She reminded them that it is not time for shade or critique because this affects everyone, not just the films that are currently battling for space in the cinema.

Actor Yasir Hussain lauded filmmakers for continuing their work in such circumstances. He tagged some of them on his story.

Actor and director Siddiqui said that the release of Doctor Strange 2 could have waited for a few days. "The last thing we need when the industry is finally opening up after two years is some foreign film hijacking our screens and relegating us in a corner. Home grown cinema has more right any day," he tweeted.

Actor Hareem Farooq repetitively asked why local films that were finally bringing some life into the industry were pitted against a foreign film. "Putting up a foreign film when there are five good Pak[istani] films going houseful, WHY?! Pak[istani] cinema revives after decades, gets damaged by [the] pandemic and then just as it's about to restart, a foreign film is released. WHY?! Lets find a good reason why it couldn’t be delayed by a few days, WHY?!"

Actor Ahmed Ali Butt called Dr Strange 2 "the most hated doctor in Lollywood at the moment" and rated the film a passing five, saying it was average compared to others from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

There is, of course, another side to this argument — that of the viewers'. People believe they should be able to watch what they want and that the audiences for Dr Strange 2 and these five Pakistani films are different. The release of Dr Strange would not have affected the sales of these movies because they were not targeting the same audience. However, the argument can be made that these films were given fewer show times to make way for Dr Strange, therefore cutting into their revenue. Do you think it was fair for a foreign film to be released in cinemas on the day of its global launch with five Pakistani films battling for the top spot?


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CringeCop May 10, 2022 07:09pm
PK entertainers force their content on everyone instead of having the self awareness to know their stuff SUCKS.
Baloch May 10, 2022 07:10pm
First they make third class movies and then expect audience to spend their money for those cheap products. Stop crying, make good movies and compete.
Saira Khan May 10, 2022 07:12pm
Burgers who never saw a Pakistani or Indian film growing up now want all Pakistanis to be patriotic
Ed May 10, 2022 07:15pm
Pakistani movies first !!
JUR USA May 10, 2022 07:28pm
You don’t need foreign conspiracy to destroy country’s economy. We need to regulate business people
Ahad Khan May 10, 2022 08:08pm
Rubbish reason. There are better reasons to be against DS2, like Egypt and other countries were, this isn't one of them. Learn to compete and quit complaining.
ENGR Hamid Shafiq May 10, 2022 08:10pm
Pakistani cinema quality knows everyone so they blame to foreign film
Faisal May 10, 2022 08:19pm
Most desi films are a tested and tired formula. Watching films should provide excitement and substance which our films do not have, not to mention creative writing.
Anaya May 10, 2022 09:34pm
I watched doctor strange and it was amazing.
Suresh May 10, 2022 09:49pm
Seriously if those movies are good and making money, why would they remove ... Accept your lack of talent Mr
Citizen May 10, 2022 09:54pm
We need to support but content and sequence always missing.
Ahad Khan May 10, 2022 10:37pm
@Saira Khan I get your point but why would they need to see an Indian film? That would be the opposite of patriotic.
Abdullah May 10, 2022 11:48pm
Lets be true .Our films suck and yes we will not feed your incompetence when all our actors can do is attend rallies to get some fans.
VoiceOfReason May 11, 2022 12:10am
Dont expect people to go watch sub par movies. Improve your content and this issue will go away. Back in the 70s folks went out to watch pakistani movies right besides premiering hollywood movies and they never had this issue. Guess why that was?
PakSarZameen May 11, 2022 12:41am
Cinema is a business and these cinema houses will show that content which will bring MONEY. It is STRANGE that these celebs forgot that they are in Pakistan where our elite controlling bodies worship west and western orders.
Owais Ahmad May 11, 2022 12:42am
@Ed Why? Also, how are all of these Pakistani movies, when its quite evident that they are copying someone else' culture and aesthetics. and not even the good kind. but cheap and campy kind.
Nadeem Shah May 11, 2022 01:21am
There is no match between the two.... But nice try trying to equate yourself with Hollywood.
Nadeem Shah May 11, 2022 01:22am
@Saira Khan bet you ate a burger or two in your life, don't be a hater.
Shahzad Arif May 11, 2022 01:45am
Why is everyone being so harsh to Pakistani films? None of the artists are forcing you to go to the cinema to watch a Pakistani film. They're merely saying Doctor Strange could had waited for a week or two. Don't forget Marvel movies are made with huge budget even with Hollywood standards and in comparison Pakistani films don't get the same level of audience or the money. Learn to support your local products if you want Pakistan to succeed.
ABCD May 11, 2022 05:42am
Watch Pushpa and pretend you don't watch indian movie . That will beat Doctor definitely. Available in Amazone Prime and Netflix.
Anonymouseee May 11, 2022 06:15am
First off, I don’tbelieve any of these actors or directors are poor. Secondly, why not start with banning Indian content ( movies and dramas) which are far more vulgar in nature anyways.
Ahsan May 11, 2022 06:38am
People have the right to watch good movies. Pakistani movies have a long way to match international standards. How would u feel if Pakistani films are banned overseas??
noor May 11, 2022 06:41am
So 'Pakistani' content which is actually just rehashed B-grade Indian content is afraid of competition and cannot survive. You are making telefilms with non-filmi people with zero scripting and talent, and expect people to ruin their Eids on your ego.
Irfan Huq May 11, 2022 08:36am
On principle I agree that Foreign films should not be pitched against Pakistani movies.. However making a video of talking people and projecting it on the biggest screen is not about making movies. I saw PMRD in USA. There is no imagination no screen writing,poor editing there is no camera work. It was like watching ATV drama on the big screen. With steep prices in cinema tickets I do not blame the people making a choice When spending their hard earned money.
AJ May 11, 2022 09:22am
Why do all good Pakistani movies have to release on Eid anyway? If your movie is good, people will watch it on any weekend. The movies would have probably made more money if you would release 1 movie each per weekend than 5 movies on a single weekend. I understand Eid means more moviegoers. But 5 movies on Eid also means less screens per movie.
Sab Se Pehle Pakistan May 11, 2022 09:24am
Make quality stuff so people won't give preference to Hollywood movies over garbage we make. Lame excuses.
Rookie May 11, 2022 10:36am
Lets be honest, there are a host of reasons causing hinderance in the revival of lollywood. For starters, the audience is used to consuming top tier content in the form of streaming services, their productions whether TV or film comprises of cinematic stories, elaborate setups, vfx, foley sounds, exquisite background score, pristine color grading etc. It enables them to create a mesmerizing immersive world, this feeling is further enhanced by a unique signature style. People watch movies for three reasons (story, actors and directors) without going into detail think Zoya Akhtar, Shahrukh Khan and James Cameroon. Our industry is currently lacking on all these fronts, limited technical access to ARRI, RED, trained actors, foley, vfx, score etc. Secondly, our industry lacks a unique signature style. Passing TV movies for feature films is synonymous to the insulting the sensibilities of the audience. Investing in indigenous technical capabilities is the only way forward.
Aiza May 11, 2022 11:22am
We need to support our emerging film industry! Plenty of good stuff coming up!
bimal william May 11, 2022 01:06pm
The best will servive n the worst will perish. The directors need to improve the quality of movies if they really want to stay in the race.
Sheri May 11, 2022 01:21pm
Well I am not a fan of marvel movies but I know they are extraordinary that's why people watch them. Pakistani films, without any proper story and plot, are no fun to watch. If we have to watch these shadi wali movies, I rather watch Dr. Strange.
Danish Shah Tariq May 11, 2022 01:23pm
Stop blaming foreign films for your own inability to make good quality films that can capture local audiences.
SM May 11, 2022 03:20pm
If you want public to watch your movies then make better quality movies that compete with foreign movies. Its not about budget as a good original movie can be made on a budget. Pakistan needs cross genre movies and not the same glorified drama series in the cinemas.
Rami May 13, 2022 02:20am
Pakistan films should come after 2 wks of HW films release, two at a time given 3 weeks of separation instead of 5 films released at one time! EiD business release should have HW film should released before 2 wks of eid then it can merged with Pakistani releases of two films at a time by having a lottery of which 2 films by trusted persons who does the toss!