|Reports say distributors and exhibitors in Pakistan have decided to blackout the films of Shahrukh Khan and Akshay Kumar on Eid in August.
Chennai Express, starring Shahrukh Khan and Deepika Padukone and Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai Again, starring Akshay Kumar and Imran Khan are slated to clash at box office on August 8. But they may not release in Pakistan.
The blackout is apparently planned to promote Pakistan’s indigenous films on the festival of Eid. It goes without saying that Bollywood films have a huge market in Pakistan and when big banner films release during festive season, they do end up pulling the crowd away from Pakistani films.
On the flipside, Bollywood too stands to lose if the films are banned because a decent chunk of overseas collections of films come from Pakistan where Hindi movies are much loved. The blackout also entails losses for Pakistani exhibitors.
Tanuj Garg, CEO of Balaji Motion Pictures (producers of Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai Again), is quoted as 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.”
It must be mentioned that there has so far not been any official confirmation of the blackout of Akshay Kumar and Shahrukh Khan’s Eid releases in Pakistan by the authorities there.
In the past, Bollywood films like Ek Tha Tiger and Agent Vinod have faced ban in Pakistan but the reason was different. It was alleged that these films portray Pakistani agencies in poor light.