LAHORE: While cinemas in Lahore were calculating the loss they had to bear by the ban on releasing of any Indian movies, commercial theatres were making money with the 10 new local productions that they prepared for Eid.
Data collected by The Express Tribune reveals that commercial theatres in Lahore earned almost Rs10 million and earned a net profit of Rs8.5 million during the Eid holiday. Alfalah Theatre was the biggest money-maker, and had a 90 per cent occupancy rate. The theatre earned Rs 2.5 million during Eid holidays. Its production, titled Masterpiece, starred Nargis, Khushbo and Nasir Chanioti in the lead roles. Mehfil Theatre earned Rs2.1 million and staged a play titled Sholay Pay Shola starring Iftikhar Thakur, Tariq Tedi, Deedar and Hina Shaheen in leading roles. Naz Theatre earned Rs1.7 million and audiences were entertained by actors Saima Khan, Nida Chaudhry and Nasim Vikki. Alhamra earned Rs1.2 million while Tamaseel Theatre earned Rs450,000. The other theatres earned Rs1 million collectively in Eid vacations.
Alhamra garnered the largest audience but the ticket price at Alhamra ranges between Rs200 and Rs300 so its income remained less than others.
An Alhamra representative told The Express Tribune that 5,000 people had watched plays at the theatre during Eid. According to a rough estimate, over 50,000 people watched commercial theatre plays in Lahore in Eid holidays.
Commercial Theatre Producers Association Chairman Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ahmed told The Express Tribune that the response of people had been outstanding during the Eid holiday. Even though the audience profile of cinemas and theatres was different, commercial theatre had a lot of potential to entertain people and pull in huge crowds. He said that commercial theatre was popular because of its spontaneity, energy and live performances. According to Zulfiqar, many people do not support vulgar dances in commercial theatre productions, adding that the government authorities had put several checks to stop any such dances.
Ahmad also said that two trucks of relief goods for flood victims had been donated using money generated by commercial theatres during Eid.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 17th, 2010.
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