A spokesperson for multiplex chain INOX said, “The distributor has conveyed that the release of the film in India has now been postponed indefinitely, and we have not been given any new date or the reason for stalling the release.”
Zee Studios had acquired the distribution rights of the film, which was to have a limited release in Delhi and Punjab. Zee Studios did not respond to a request for comment from The Indian Express.
The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) did not comment on the Pakistani movie, but sources involved in its release said announcements by theatres are usually “done only after CBFC clearance” has been obtained for the films.
The Legend of Maula Jatt was to be the first Pakistani film to be released in India in more than a decade, after Shoaib Mansoor’s Bol.
The Express said Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) had warned cinema-hall owners against screening the movie and sent letters to various establishments, including Zee Studios, Movietime Cinema, August Entertainment and Tilak Entertainment. MNS leader Ameya Khopkar said, “We want to tell the sympathisers of Pakistani artists in India that if an attempt is made to show any kind of support to them, they will also face a boycott.” Earlier this month, Pakistan-based OTT streaming platform Vidly TV was banned in India for “streaming anti-India content”, The Express added.
However, sources in the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, under which the CBFC functions, were quoted as saying, “Even as there is no official ban on the release of Pakistani films in India, no Pakistani film has been released in the country in the wake of the dastardly Uri and Pulwama attacks.”
The CBFC of India has also asked the makers of Shah Rukh Khan’s Pathaan to implement “advised changes…including the songs and submit the revised version”. The move comes days after one of the movie songs, ‘Besharam Rang’, featuring Deepika Padukone in a saffron monokini, faced social media backlash allegedly for “hurting Hindu sentiments”.
Pathaan joins the list of big-ticket movies, such as fantasy action saga Brahmastra, which featured Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt, and Aamir Khan-starrer Laal Singh Chaddha to face calls for a boycott.
Originally published in Dawn, December 31st, 2022