The last 24 hours have given Pakistani film enthusiasts some good and some bad news. While Bodchitta Filmworks’s Seedlings made us proud by winning two awards at the New York Film Festival, Ek Tha Tiger — the most anticipated Indian film of the season — has been officially banned in Pakistan.
Muhammed Ashraf Gondal, the vice-chairman of the Central Board of Film Censors, told The Express Tribune that the Salman Khan-Katrina Kaif starrer had hit at Pakistan’s security agencies and was problematic for public screening in Pakistan.
According to Indian news reports, Katrina Kaif plays the character of Zoya in the movie, a scientist’s part-time home caretaker who is actually a Pakistani spy. Salman plays a RAW agent named Tiger, who then falls in love with Zoya.
“We have strict criteria due to which films that have themes that touch on anti-terrorism and are against Pakistan’s national institutions or security agencies ultimately have to be censored because they are against the national interest,” he said about the second Indian film to be banned this year, the first being Saif Ali Khan starrer Agent Vinod. “Ek Tha Tiger has several themes referring to Pakistan’s agencies, which were deemed problematic; thus, leading to the ban of the film.”
CEO of Brand TV and Cinema, the marketers of Atrium Cinemas, Asim Qureshi says the ban is bad for business. “Ek Tha Tiger would have smashed Bodyguard’s box office record in Pakistan,” he says, implying that if released, the movie would have drawn a massive audience here. “In the history of Pakistani cinema, Eid has been the most celebrated slot, since the biggest releases are scheduled for this time, he added.
“It will be a major loss. For the past four years, Eid Salman Khan ki hai, chahe India ho ya Pakistan.”
No Salman on Eid
Salman Khan has been ruling Eids in the subcontinent for the past three years. His films Dabangg and Bodyguard crossed the one billion mark and set new records of best openings in 2010 and 2011 respectively. The scenario, however, is a bit different on this side of the border as this is not the first time cinema owners and fans have been deprived of Salman Khan’s antics on Eid. In 2010, Dabangg’s screenings were banned on Eid and the picture became pretty ugly for Pakistani cinema. Although the ban on Dabangg was an effort to promote Pakistani films and let them have a clear box office ground, the strategy backfired. Cinema owners were promised Lollywood films in place of Hindi movies but they recieved nothing except Punjabi flicks. Not a single Lollywood film was released, as a result of which major centres, like Sindh, suffered huge losses. Cinema owners had no other option but to screen Punjabi films, which had a very low demand in the province.
Is banning an Indian film to promote Lollywood really a good idea? Certainly not! We already know that the Pakistani audience has the power to make or break a film — an observation that was proven correct last year when Pakistani films Love Mein Ghum and Bhai Log were beaten by Bodyguard on Eid 2011. The three films were being screened simultaneously at multiplexes but Love Mein Ghum turned out to be a major disappointment whereas Bhai Log did relatively well. Bodyguard destroyed both films hand down, proving that they were not competition.
Pakistani film-makers finally have the golden chance to prove their mettle since they don’t have any Indian film competing with them at the box office. Shareeka, Billu Da Kharak and Ishq Khuda are prospective releases this Eid and if they fail to attract an audience, cinema owners will have no option but to rescreen old Indian films again. The only positive aspect of this ban is that, after a long time, the Eid business in Pakistan will revolve around Lollywood and Hollywood releases only.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 18th, 2012.
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@ekhart: Proud to be a Pakistani strongly. As you people bring your own Indian girls in your movies showing them Pakistani, in the same way people in America pretending to be Indians might be Indians in reality and your thinking is going to be deviating. It is a saying that as you sow so shall you reap. Whatever you'll show in your films to the world, Nature will show the world in opposite. Shoaib Malak and company................:))))))))
I agree with you ALi, i also like salman khan but after that i hate Mr salman khan (Pakistan Ek ishq Ek Junoon)
i was a big fan of salman because he is a khan and me too, but as plays a role of agent against Pakistani agency ISI which is accepted by the whole world. Pakistan is my country and i can sacrifice my every thing for it. salman plays a role against it there fore for me no salman,,, i love Pakistan which gives me an identity and i hate salman now and for ever....
In Movies... Indian Boy and Pakistani Girl In Reality.... Pakistani Boy and Indian Girl (Shoaib Malik & Sania Mirza) Pakistani Uncle and Indian Girl (Remember Umpire Asad Rouf case)
A good decision by Pakistani authorities. no indian movie should be screened in Pakistan m frm dxb uae n as per m overseas pakistani alhumdulilah m proud ov it great step by pakistan dat dy r'nt showin such worst movies in Pakistan which spread hate arround
@gp65 Dude its 100.16crores in 5 days. First time in history of Indian cinema, in just 5 days a movie has crossed 100 crores. Its the data given by yashraj themselves. Yes your right It doesn't matter weather its released in pakistan or not. It has collected around 22crores in overseas market. The total remains 122.16 crores overall.Its acctually pakistani cinema owners who will suffer the most.
@Iron: The movie collected 98 crore Indian rupees in 5 days in India. IT has collected 5.86 crores in just 2 days in overseas market. So I doubt anyone is losing sleep over Pakistan's ban. Having said that, I don't understand what the ban is about. There is nothing remotely anti-Pakistan in th e movie. In fact it has a message of peace.
@ totally agreed with you sam, as an American i have seen a that the Pakistanis people who live here as students pretend as Indians. God knows why it takes happens...may be some inferiority complex or an identity crisis...
@Iron: Overseas Pakistanis pretend to be Indians. Didn't you know that
a good decision by Pakistani authorities. no indian movie should be screened in Pakistan
So what atleast it isnt as bad as india which has banned all pakistani chanels on their soil since the last ten years
All injuns movies should be banned in Pakistan at first place. don't know why Govt let them release these crappy movies in Pak
"Katrina Kaif plays the character of Zoya in the movie, a scientist’s part-time home caretaker who is actually a Pakistani spy."
Thanks for ruining the plot.
Salman khan movies must fall under cartoon's category
By the way pakistan is the 5th largest market for Indian films.
very good decision... we don't want salman unrealistic action movie... They should show hollywood movies if they are afraid of doing no business on Eid... Hollywood movies are way better than bollywood movies.
hay guys don't worry, the movie ETT is easily available in HD format over various websites and torrents can be downloaded in Pakistan, chill guys and enjoy HD prints from websites and torrents of any movie which u want to view in Pakistan and run on ur big screens or multi-media projectors in-house no legal issues in it. we not that much paak saaf, jo hum sab karte hain usko bhi ban ho jana chaiye ab, doghla pann kyon
@Arijit Sharma: Yah..indeed its shameful.
@shahzad, Is sunny L movies allowed?
@Iron: "@ToraBora: My friend it seems u don’t know the power of overseas Pakistan’s, if u wanna see the proof then are welcome see it yourself in North America if you get the visa :)" I live in the US. I saw Ek Tha Tiger on the day it was released in Dallas. It was a week noght and the usual buy one get one free offer was not available. Even the 9:15 pm show was housefull.
That could either mean: !) Pakistani audience is not necessary for an Indian movie to be a hit in USA OR 2) Despite the ban by Pakistani government, Pakistanis chose to come and watch the movie anyway.
Indian movies should be banned for being cheesy. I can't bear to watch any of them. They are banned in my house in USA.
@akash: " ... Why Pakistan banned Ek tha Tiger - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ravinder_Kaushik ... "
We let him down. Very shameful.
Why doesn't India allow purely entertainment channels like Express Channel? I am not even talking about Express News or other news channels but entirely non-political ones that screen dramas, music, etc. Why must we dehumanize the "enemy" so much and curtail access to tools that can clear misunderstandings and prejudices and help bring people together? It is a good thing they are obsessed with Zee and Star and Bollywood-- and I bet they will watch this banned movie on pirated DVD-- but to feign outrage and lecture, with a straight face, the other side if one movie out of several hundred gets officially banned is a bit hypocritical.
it seems I will have to start watching Bollywood movies,what kind of movies they are making now a days,which more often than not get banned in Pakistan.
@Iron: LoL its doesnt matter....we still have oversees indians, srilankans, bangladeshis, afghanistanis, arabs, some other middele eastern migrants as well who will watch it and didnt u guys say the same thing during kargil war and other issues,, but yet in those time bollywood pirated films still sold like hot cakes in pakistan.... so much for your dumb theory :P
I saw the movie last night, and quite honestly there was nothing against "national security"...so what if they displayed a Pakistani Girl with an Indian Boy...wouldn't we do the same if we had the capability and creativity to shoot movies at that level?!?! from cuba to turkey...with a stop in dublin! the story, I infact, as a Pakistani, felt that there was a message of peace...and to break down this wall of hatrid....we as a nation need all the help we can get, to overcome these issues and insecurities. I mean think about it...what can we as Jinnah's Nation offer, if we cant even give our people the freedom to live as they please, due to the fear of having a movie cause an uprising...and label it as a "threat to national security"...seriously!
Ek tha tiger should be released on Eid in Pakistan. Thank you
@ToraBora: My friend it seems u don't know the power of overseas Pakistan's, if u wanna see the proof then are welcome see it yourself in North America if you get the visa :)
Ek tha tiger should be released on Eid in Pakistan.
There have been too many good movies released this year, The Dark Knight Rises, Avengers, The Hunger Games etc....., I'm sure we can do without "Eik Thaa Doggy"
Atleast they havent banned India TV here the way shining Inda has banned Pak TV channels ..............
They had banned DaVinci code as well when the christian community tokk out jaloos to have it banned.
bangladesh after independence banned screening of indian movies in local cinema. it is still banned even after 41 years later.
@Falcon - Brother why are you getting so concerned ? Anyways Indian girls fall in love with Pakistani celebrities in real life. Starting from Imran Khan, Shoaib Malik and other big names like Salman Taseer, Asad Rauf, they either have Indian girlfriends or wife from Bollywood or elsewhere. Are you not happy with that.
Let us be happy with reel life atleast :)
On a serious note we men still consider an upper hand based on the scenario whether a girl from arch rivals is getting married to one of us or not. Its high time we treat them as equal and respect their decisions and not consider it as our success or failure.
I don't watch indian movies, I dislike musicales, and I cannot stand Salman Khan, All that being said when you ban a movie for mocking national institutions just shows that we have much to learn about freedom and democracy. Our democracy is a farce. When the army gets this bent out of shape over a stupid movie starring a no talent hack of an actor. When our Supreme court loses its mind because a washed up, former law minister said they overstepped their powers. It is all very telling. Our inability to tolerate dissenting opinion is either a sign of our tremendous political and economic success on the world stage or of such great insecurity caused by the fact that we don't feel we can adequately defend and justify our actions if they are subjected to scrutiny. I'll let you all decide which one is more likely the case. Dissent should always be welcomed. Dissent-Debate-Compromise. These are the corner stones of a vibrant democratic society
@Iron Dude, as if Bollywood movies are dependent on overseas Pakistanis for revenue. If overseas Pakistanis watch the movie then it generates a small change for the producers. Nothing else. In India alone Ek Tha Tiger generated INR 33 crores on just the first day.
It's not New york film festival (NYFF), it's New york International film festival (NYIFF) which is not as big or as famous NYFF.
Banning Indian films does not at all help Pakistani cinema. Quite the intranet actually. More Indian films coming to Pakistani cinema has restored the culture of going to cinema which is a great help for Pakistani film makers. Now it's up to them to make good films. How come Bol was the record breaking revenue generator while it was released along with other Indian films.
all Salman Khan movies deserve to get banned elsewhere too
Billu Da Kharak... I mean Common ,People At-least have some sensible titles now ...
I think it’s a good move because if we make movies based on Indian agencies/military/Kashmir then it would be banned in India for sure. I bet this movie will not be a big hit because over sees Pakistani will boycott it as well.
Oh...I will crying my eyes out since I can't watch Ek Tha Tiger now ;)...on a side note, Can Bollywood give us a better plot by allowing a Indian female spy to fall in love with the Pakistani guy for a change?
Whatever you do, no sane person is going to watch Pakistani movies!
Why Pakistan banned Ek tha Tiger http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ravinder_Kaushik