The release of the greatly anticipated Katrina Kaif, Anushka Sharma and Shahrukh Khan starrer Jab Tak Hai Jaan may well turn out to be one of the most mysterious foreign releases in the history of Pakistani cinema.
Earlier, it was reported that the film will not be released here as it shows Shahrukh playing an army officer in Kashmir, and it was believed that the plot may portray Pakistan in a negative light. The recent ban on Bollywood films Agent Vinod and Ek Tha Tiger for being “against national institutions” lead many to believe that Jab Tak Hai Jaan’s chances in Pakistan are bleak. But here’s the good news: thanks to some leg work by the local distributor of the film, IMGC Global Entertainment and assurance from Yash Raj Films (YRF) that the plot will not hurt sentiments, Yash Chopra’s final project will be screened in Pakistan.
“The film is coming to Pakistan and is in the process of being imported,” Chairman of IMGC Global Entertainment Amjad Rasheed told The Express Tribune.
“The film has received one NOC [No Objection Certificate] from the ministry of regulations and services and is now awaiting another from the ministry of commerce,” said Rasheed. “After this it will be all set to arrive in Pakistan. Upon its arrival, which would be sometime next week, the film will be submitted to the censor board for reviewing,” he added excitedly.
After all the rumours and hullabaloo surrounding its release, it was Rasheed’s trip to Yash Chopra’s funeral that really worked in Pakistan’s favour, as he claims that Aditya Chopra himself guaranteed that the film is not going to offend Pakistanis.
“I met Aditya Chopra on his father’s funeral and he assured me that the film is not against Pakistan or its security agencies and it does not have any negative religious connotations. It has a positive vibe overall and I am glad that one of the most awaited films of the year is finally releasing in Pakistan,” said Rasheed.
Vice President of International Operations at YRF Avtar Panesar confirmed this, when he told The Express Tribune, “I can confirm that the film has nothing that may be construed as anti-Pakistan; [it] is a simple love story,” he said. He added, “The film will be submitted to the censor board and only once they clear [it] will we release it. We have always respected the law in any of the countries we release our films in and Pakistan is no exception. We will respect the law of Pakistan and the release will take place once the formalities are completed.”
Apart from being Yash Chopra’s final project, it is also the only Shahrukh Khan film to come out this year and his first film with Katrina Kaif, which makes celebrities and audiences alike excited about its release.
“Like me, Pakistanis are anxiously waiting for Jab Tak Hai Jaan,” actor Humaima Malik told The Express Tribune. “This is Yash Chopra’s last contribution to cinema, so it should be honoured as he honoured people on this side of the border with so many great films,” she added.
It seems that the confusion regarding the release of the biggest Bollywood flick of 2012 is finally heading for a more favourable solution for Pakistan. If the film clears the Central Board of Film Censors review, which seems likely, it would be a treat for exhibitors and audiences. Get your popcorn ready: Jab Tak Hai Jaan is expected to release in major cinemas in Pakistan on November 15!
Published in The Express Tribune, November 8th, 2012.