Piracy, military against Kaafila in Pakistan

MUMBAI: Makers of Kaafila, producer Tony Sandhu and director Ammtoje Mann held a press conference in Mumbai today (11 August) to clarify their stand on Kaafila’s ban in Pakistan.

The filmmakers claim that the Pakistan audience reacted with utmost enthusiasm to the theatrical promos of Kaafila. The promo had apparently been cleared by the Pakistan Censor Board. So good was the response that the distributor Satish Anand of Eveready Pictures even asked for an increase in the number of prints from 15 to 25.

However, on Thursday (10 August) as the film was being viewed by the Pakistan Censor Board including the chairman Mr Cheema, the colonel and military general also chose to view the film. “They started to raise silly objections, which had no justifications. The Pakistan I&B minister said that the film shouldn’t be released in Pakistan,” says producer Sandhu.

“According to me the film is not against any Pakistani norms, in fact I have taken utmost care to make it as authentic as possible,” adds director Mann.

As the response from the audience was overwhelming, Sandhu thought of an alternate strategy alongside to curb piracy. “I wanted the film to have a simultaneous release in India and Pakistan, so that people would not opt for the pirated DVDs and VCDs. Moreover I also sold the home video rights to ARY channel, thus ensuring that there is minimal or no piracy,” informs Sandhu.

Late on Thursday, some officials told Sandhu that he may re-edit the film and apply for censorship again. However, he refused the offer because the film’s purpose of a simultaneous release would be defeated. He also suspects that since Indian film releases in Pakistan were to become more frequent, this would harm the interest of the Pakistani film makers and hence they too were up in arms against the movie’s release.

In the bargain Sandhu suffered a loss of Rs 25 lakhs toward prints and traveling and Rs 30 – 40 million (Rs 3 – 4 crore), which the film may have garnered from Pakistan.