Just two weeks before its release, Ali Zafar, whose label is distributing Tere Bin Laden announced that the movie’s name would be Tere Bin for the territory of Pakistan.
The film was initially promoted as Tere Bin Laden and large posters of the film adorn cinema halls in Pakistan.
But the move comes after the film’s name has become common amongst the musician’s fans and film buffs.
However, Zafar claims the title change has to do with ‘sensibilities’.
He told The Express Tribune, “The sensibilities in Pakistan are somewhat different from the international market and our main intention was to ensure that people do not conceive it was a spoof of Osama bin Laden or the Taliban because it is not; it is a very pro-Pakistan comedy about a Pakistani journalist wanting to go to the US.”
“The posters will now focus on me and will not have the pictures of the actor playing (the fake) Osama bin Laden,” he said.
“I do not think that it will make a difference to how the film will be received as a whole lot of the public does not yet know about the film and they will only know it by this name.”
Zafar’s manager, Sarfraz Niazi said, “Originally Ali Zafar wasn’t releasing the film in Pakistan, another group was sponsoring the release and they were fine with the name but now Zafar’s own label, Alif Films is releasing the film here. We thought it would be wise to make modifications according to the region.”
The film’s name has been its biggest talking point, but in an interview with The Express Tribune, director Abhishek Sharma hoped people would not read too much into it.
“We do not want misconceptions,” he said. “But sometimes people just hear the name Osama bin Laden and assume a film will be made in a particular way. I hope that they will watch it and realise that it was not meant to spark controversy. “
While distributor Nadeem Mandviwalla said the move was not “unusual”, citing the example of how the title to Shah Rukh Khan’s 2009 film Billu Barber was changed to Billu because it offended the hairdressers’ community in India.
Distributors across the world have adapted film titles to match the audience’s mind set. Turkish film distributors have been changing the titles to make them more reflective of the films’ themes when translated into the local language.
“We want to attract the attention of the viewer. The movie An Education was a love film, and we distributed it under the name Love Lesson. Its direct translation would be correct, but would not mean much to the Turkish viewer,” a representative of Tiglon Film was quoted as saying by TodaysZaman.com.
Some of the major films that changed titles when they entered Turkish territory include Sweet November, which was changed to Love in November is Different; Edge of Darkness to After Vengeance; Wall Street to Stock Exchange, and The Lovely Bones to Looking from my Heaven.
Tere Bin Laden’s film distributors may have good reasons to change its title considering the sensitivity in Pakistan, but after massive promotion with its original title, one doubts if audiences will realise that the film is now called Tere Bin.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 8th, 2010.
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