MUMBAI: Rumour has it that Shah Rukh Khan and Akshay Kumar’s upcoming releases, ‘Chennai Express’ and ‘Once Upon a Time In Mumbaai 2’ respectively will not see a theatrical release across the border.
Both films are slated to release on 8 August, which is incidentally also the day of Eid, but distributors and exhibitors from Pakistan have decided against buying the films. The decision comes close on the heels of Pakistani filmmakers trying to protect their interests, and promoting local films over their Bollywood counterparts.
A leading distributor in Pakistan, Abdul Rashid confirmed the news, by saying: “Yes, we are not releasing ‘Chennai Express’ and ‘Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai 2’ in Pakistan. Our government wants to protect the interests of the Pakistan film fraternity.We don’t mind rescheduling the two films to August 15. But piracy would have reduced the business prospects of the two films by then.”
Reportedly, four other Pakistani films – ‘Josh’, ‘Ishq Khuda’, ‘War’ and ‘Mera Naam Afridi’ – will release in place of SRK and Akshay’s films.
This will surely lead to losses for the Indian film fraternity. Revealed a source: “Theatres in Pakistan generate maximum revenue from Hindi films. So it is really sad that this time, they did a volte face. UTV and Balaji tried reasoning with the filmmakers, but to no avail.” The source adds that the losses will be in the range of Rs 20 crore.
Balaji Motion Pictures, makers of ‘OUATIM 2’ feels that this is a sad situation indeed.
CEO of Balaji Motion Pictures Tanuj Garg commented on the issue, saying: “Though we have not yet received any official notification from the Pakistani authorities, if this is true, it will surely be really sad. In fact I feel that this is really amazing and bizarre that an industry that thrives on Bollywood films can take such a decision. If you look at the Pakistani market there has been a revival, thanks to Bollywood films. But all the same, if we do receive a notification, we will need to discuss this matter, since you cannot just blackout any film for your indigenous cinema, though you have all the right to revive it through better means.”