This year, Eid will arrive minus Bhaijaan at the box office. Pakistan has imposed a temporary ban on the exhibition and screening of Indian and other foreign language films during Eid. This means it will be a no-show for much-awaited films like Salman Khan’s Race 3 and Sandra Bullock’s Ocean’s 8 in Pakistan. This move is apparently in response to demands of the domestic film industry which is crumbling under the competition from Bollywood and Hollywood blockbuster releases during the holiday season.
A notification issued by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting states that the exhibition and screening of Indian and foreign films will be banned from two days before Eid till two weeks after the holidays. This step has apparently been implemented in keeping with the requests by Pakistani film exhibitors, distributors and production houses.
This move will ensure that no cinema hall in Pakistan will be permitted to screen Indian movies during the Eid holidays. Holiday business in Pakistan is generally huge. The Eid break, which usually lasts for four days, garners whopping business for new Pakistani, Bollywood and Hollywood films.
However, not all are raking in the moolah. Since the past two years, in particular, Pakistani film producers and artists have been moaning the loss of business. They claim that their films face huge competition from Bollywood and Hollywood films, which are grandly mounted and studded with popular stars. The problem is compounded by the lack of screens in the country. All these factors have severely impacted the business of local Pakistani films. Many are not able to generate the required business and in many cases, they fail to recover their investment.
The Pakistan Film Exhibitors' Association has confirmed they have received the notification regarding the ban on Hollywood and Bollywood films during the Eid break. What’s more, this embargo will also be applicable on outside films during the Eid-ul-Adha holidays in August-September. Officials reveal that the notification says that the temporary ban is being imposed in order to promote local movies on the festivals, a time when larger than usual numbers are attracted towards cinemas.