KARACHI: Considering Lahore Se Aagey was standing alone at the box office, it was expected to do great business and pull cinemas out of the slump caused by the boycott of Indian films. After the three Eid releases – namely Actor In Law, Janaan and Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hay (ZKHH) – the Saba Qamar-starrer was the only major Pakistani film to be released in the past two months. However, Lahore Se Aagey has not lived up to the expectations.
While ARY Films were not able to provide exact figures, The Express Tribune spoke to the exhibitors to figure out the film’s performance chart. Atrium Cinemas managing director Nadeem Mandviwalla said Lahore Se Aagey has performed well and only saw a normal drop in its second week. “It was an average of 70% last week and from Friday till yesterday, it was 55%. So, that’s a normal drop,” he shared. However, Mandviwalla did add that the film was expected to perform better. “It has done decent business but it was not up to the mark of Karachi Se Lahore.”
As to how he sees the film performing in the coming week, Mandviwalla pointed out that Lahore Se Aagey has already done fairly well and that is all it could do. “Its performance was lower than expected but now it’s done. And Dobara Phir Se is releasing this week so we are moving on to that,” he said. Asked whether Lahore Se Aagey had helped improve the financial situation of the cinema-industry, Mandviwalla replied, “Every film helps.”
Ironically, Lahore Se Aagey has performed even worse in Punjab. Super Cinemas general manager Khorem Gultasab said the film has failed to attract enough audience. “It opened with an average of 38% to 40% occupancy. On Monday, it dropped to 19%. Business was much lower than expected – a total disappointment.”
Gultasab blamed the failure on the film itself. “The film did not live up to people’s expectations either. They have been complaining. People are losing faith in Pakistani film-makers because they don’t know how to make films.”
Gultasab added that people used to give leeway to local films before. “Not anymore. A lot of social media warriors rant about giving Pakistani films a chance. Lahore Se Aagey stood alone and still didn’t deliver,” he said. “The whole thing about supporting films just because they are Pakistani films baffles me. If you make good films, people will support them. If they want people to support the bad films, just put a donation box beside the posters but don’t make them go through the pain of watching bad films!”
Gultasab said that Bollywood films used to keep the footfall intact. “That helps our films as well. Look, we have had 19 films this year and only four – Ho Mann Jahaan, Actor In Law, Janaan and ZKHH – did well.”
Published in The Express Tribune, November 23rd, 2016.