Despite not being officially released in Pakistan, Pathaan, the new Indian blockbuster movie breaking box office records in the neighbouring country is being screened illegally in Karachi, that too, in Defence Housing Authority.
In February 2019, the association of film exhibitors had decided to not release any Indian films against the backdrop of violation of Pakistani airspace by Indian jets. Despite passage of four years, no Indian film has officially been released in Pakistan.
However, an advertisement was boldly posted on at least two prominent Facebook pages to sell tickets for Rs900 each of the film, which stars Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone and John Abraham, alongside Dimple Kapadia and Ashutosh Rana.
Soon after, interested persons were asking about the film quality, venue, etc. Some people were also asking as to why a controversial Hindi film was being shown here, but they were all being directed to call on a phone number for further queries.
The company organising the screening is named Firework Events, but after searching the name on social media one could only find a UK-based company sharing its plans of lighting up the skies at King Charles’ coronation in England.
Then the page announced that they were all sold out for Saturday. On the demand of friends they were going to organise two extra shows, from 4:30pm to 7:30pm and 8pm to 11pm, on Sunday also.
When this scribe called them on the given number to ask the venue of the screenings, it was said that they would be at different places for both the days. One at the Khayaban-i-Shahbaz commercial area and the other they did not know as yet.
“There is some construction happening at the place we hoped to screen the movie on Sunday so we don’t know as yet,” was the reply given by a young female voice with a fake American accent.
Then she messaged to say that Sundays screenings were being shifted to Friday (Feb 3). And the venue on Friday would be the Ittehad Commercial Area for which she also shared the location.
When asked about the film quality, one was informed that it was “not HD, but really good and clear”. The size of the screen was said to be 8ft by 10ft. “It is a projector screen,” one was informed.
When asked if they were offering any snacks or should the viewers pack their own, one was informed that one could definitely purchase snacks, too, while watching.
Later, when returned to one of the two Facebook posts selling the tickets, one could only find a message saying that the page does not exist anymore, although the other one was still very much there and attracting visitors.
Originally published in Dawn, February 1, 2023