Sindh High Court says Pakistani films must get preference at local cinemas

Sindh High Court says Pakistani films must get preference at local cinemas

A suit was filed against govt bodies by the makers of Chakkar, Dum Mastam and Parde Mein Rehne Do.
20 May, 2022

The Sindh High Court has ordered that local films must get 85 per cent of playing time at Pakistani cinemas.

An order issued by the high court on May 19 says foreign films will not be exhibited over 15 per cent as per the law of the land, Images learnt in an exclusive. The development comes as a new twist in what was once the passive-voiced skirmish between Pakistani filmmakers and cinema owners (ie exhibitors) over domestic films versus Hollywood releases.

According to the high court order, foreign film releases will have to abide by rules of the Motion Picture Ordinance, 1979, which states that internationally produced films imported to Pakistan can only have 15 per cent screen space if domestically produced films are also showing in cinemas.

The Sindh High Court suits numbering 754, 754 and 755 have as plaintiffs Cereal Entertainment (Adnan Siddiqui and Akhter Hasnain’s company), Wajahat Rauf and Shazia Wajahat, and Farid Nawaz Productions (Yasir Nawaz and Nida Yasir), for their films Dum Mastam, Parde Mein Rehne Do and Chakkar.

The 12 defendants in the suits include the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Central Board of Film Censors, Punjab Film Censor Board, Sindh Board of Film Censors, Competition Commission of Pakistan, J.B. Films, Nueplex Cinemas, Cinepax Cinemas, Cinegold Cinemas, HKC Entertainment and the Karachi District South deputy commissioner.

The ruling directed the defendants to follow the rules of the Motion Picture Ordinance “strictly in letter and spirit” and to provide 85 per cent playing time to Pakistani films till the next date of hearing on June 2.

The June 6 date only effects the shows of Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness and a handful of other releases like the Nicolas Cage starrer The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, Liam Neeson starrer Memory, and Tom Cruise’s tentpole Top Gun: Maverick, which opens on May 27.

Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness was already expected to slide at the box office in any case from this week onward, which likely would increase the number of shows for Pakistani films, if, that is, there was a demand from the audience.

The suits call for compensation of damages to filmmakers. However, one can assume that if the law of limiting 15 per cent screens to foreign films is forced onto cinema owners — and that cinema owners do not retaliate — the real winners of the case would likely be the makers of Quaid-e-Azam Zindabad, London Nahi Jaunga and any other filmmaker who has a film coming out this Eidul Azha.


Zulfiqar May 20, 2022 10:01pm
Are the cinemas nationalized in Pakistan? How is this even courts jurisdiction? If Pakistani film content was better it will surely get an audience in Pakistan and beyond. Just like Pakistani dramas.
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Nh May 20, 2022 10:58pm
Why court is involved in such decisions. It is govt decision.
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Dr. Salaria, Aamir Ahmad May 20, 2022 11:31pm
Grat move and excellent news.
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Tariq Choudry May 20, 2022 11:31pm
@Zulfiqar you can't simply compare a film by Marvel with budget of millions of dollars while a film made with few crores. We have to give Pakistani cinemas space which are still in their infancy, production wise. I enjoyed Ghabrana Nahien, Saba Qamar aced in her acting.
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Sid May 20, 2022 11:35pm
@zulfikar let them grow, every seed a care before to be tree. So if we give them extra space they might produce good results
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Hamed May 20, 2022 11:52pm
Not practical. One can block foreign films if they are controversial.
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khan May 20, 2022 11:58pm
This is too much. Businesses spend millions and billions in the business and now courts are going to decide , how to run a business ! Too much of interference of courts .
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Syed Hasni May 21, 2022 12:00am
Did they say if the audience does not show up for the Pakistani content, do they play the movie to the empty theaters ? This bunch has to grow up, in times when social media is so vibrant, the only way one can survive is better content, no politics.
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CringeCop May 21, 2022 12:22am
nothing will help these crybabies. watch how they ruin cinema business in PK and still not get audience for their cringe movies.
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Qamar Raja May 21, 2022 12:23am
What a load of rubbish, no wonder the country is in a mess, make good films and people will automatically watch....make rubbish films and people will not watch..even if you have 100% cinemas showing them.
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Khan May 21, 2022 01:54am
I agree 100% with you sir. All Pakistanis must compulsorily see at least 1 local film per month to improve the local economy.
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Abs UK May 21, 2022 01:56am
Sensible decision
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Aamer Sharif May 21, 2022 02:54am
Made in Pakistan
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Riaz Uddin May 21, 2022 03:51am
It is an observation of the court not a verdict!
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Irfan Huq May 21, 2022 03:54am
Can someone explain in simple English what is viewing time and screening space or view space and what was the calculation when the lawsuit was filed. Everything is so marky. If foreign film occupy more than 15% then how much it did occupy in fact.
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fida May 21, 2022 06:05am
Good work SINDH HIGH COURT. However I am not happy with the judgement. I believe all Indian movies should be banned in Pakistan, because our brother and sister in Kashmir are brutulised and killed and there properties destroyed in there homeland KASHMIR.
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Oz May 21, 2022 07:03am
Ya govt cant force cinemas to show bad quality local films and come on 85% screen time?
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Mulla Manzoor May 21, 2022 08:18am
@Zulfiqar Politics and rallies are interesting.
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Dhinchack May 21, 2022 11:12am
What an article. Seems the courts don't have any other things to decide. But the way our country is going, I don't fault the courts. Even they have the right to entertain us with these kinds of rulings.
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Gary May 21, 2022 12:32pm
Who watches English movies in Pakistan?
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Dr. Salaria, Aamir Ahmad May 21, 2022 01:00pm
Great move and wonderful news.
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Tanya May 22, 2022 03:49am
Now even in movies, this lot will have to see people walking around in tents and praying. They have very low standards of entertainment.
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Zulfiqar May 22, 2022 11:31am
@Gary people who read and write this publication and several others like it
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Zulfiqar May 22, 2022 11:38am
@Tariq Choudry you don’t need millions of dollars to make a brilliant movie. A good story with good acting will do. How can they produce brilliant shows like Parizaad and Jo bichar Gaye and not make movies on more relevant topics like that?
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Zak May 23, 2022 05:31am
The Sindh High Court has ordered that local films must get 85 per cent of playing time at Pakistani cinemas. No one can dictate to entertainment industry and audience preferences. Sind government under ppp is corrupt.
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