Local distributors of the latest Aamir Khan-starrer “Dangal” in Pakistan are pinning their hopes on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to give his formal approval to its release in the country and are expecting the film to be screened soon.
According to Pakistani media reports, the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage in association with the Ministry of Commerce, has sent an official summary to Sharif seeking his permission to release the film in Pakistan.
The local distributors have rubbished reports in Indian media as “false” that the film would not be released in the country, saying its screening may get delayed by a week.
“That is false news. Yes there are hurdles that we are facing in releasing the film in Pakistan but we haven’t lost hope yet. The film might get delayed by a week or so but no final decision has been taken as yet,” Mohammad Nasir of Geo films said.
Pakistani cinema owners are pinning their hopes on the release of “Dangal” and other Indian films to be released in January to make up for the losses they suffered during a three-month voluntarily ban on screening of Indian films in Pakistan.
The ban was lifted last week in a low-key fashion, but the release of “Dangal” still remains uncertain.
According to officials, local distributor Geo films are in direct correspondence with Aamir, who also happens to be the producer of the film, to make its release possible.
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A ministry source said that now only the Prime Minister can move things forward.
Zoraiz Lashari, chairman of the of the Film Exhibitors Association of Pakistan, has said that they too are awaiting the Prime Minister’s response.
“We have been suffering grave financial issues due to the suspension. Indian artistes and distributors want their films to be screened in Pakistan but the local distributors are hesitant to purchase new films before the government gives it a green light,” he said.
“I want to make it clear that there is no ban on Indian films in Pakistan as no official notification was issued by the government,” he stated.
According to industry sources, local distributors pay around rupees 80 to 100 million to Indian distributors and the buying group must earn around 200 million rupees as they also have to pay off some amount to the cinemas and make profit.
Pakistan is considered as the third largest market for Indian films.
Indian movies returned to Pakistani cinema houses in 2008 after a 43-year-long hiatus imposed during the 1965 war.