A truly Pakistani Eid for cinema-lovers

Published: July 26, 2013
Instead of competing with Bollywood potboilers, cinema-goers will see three Pakistani films compete with each other this Eid.

Instead of competing with Bollywood potboilers, cinema-goers will see three Pakistani films compete with each other this Eid.


This Eid seems to be a promising one for the long lost Pakistani film industry, or so we hope. Three local films are set to make their debut in cinemas across the country. A  glance at the corridors of Atrium Cinemas makes one feel proud as next to half man, half wolf Hugh Jackman and the sari-clad Sonakshi resting on Ranveer, are the faces of Pakistani talents like Aamina Sheikh, Humayun Saeed and Ahsan Khan, splattered all over posters. We may not have ‘stars’ like those in Hollywood and Bollywood, but we do have capable actors, many of whom will have their very first experience on the silver screen.

Each of the three films releasing this Eid belong to a different genre entirely and hence, their impact on the box office and audience is likely to vary. The line-up includes the most-hyped Humayun Saeed production Main Hoon Shahid Afridi, Shahzad Rafique’s long-delayed Ishq-e-Khuda and Iram Parveen Bilal’s internationally acclaimed, small-budget Josh.

Amongst the three, Main Hoon Shahid Afridi has the highest expectations attached to it since it is not only Pakistan’s first sports-centric movie but also one that involves a major chunk of the film industry in its making. However, it remains to be seen if it only turns out to be a potpourri of sorts with Afridi’s name as its best selling point, though we hope otherwise. A blessing in disguise for the film is Shahid Afridi’s brilliant form in the first and last ODI. If he performs well in one of the upcoming T20 matches, the film will incidentally attract hoards to the theatre hall, since he is the only surviving star of Pakistan who is equally acknowledged by the ‘classes’ and the ‘masses’. The Afridi factor, accompanied by its big budget, catchy music and a commercially-layered patriotic theme can possibly make it a gold mine for the local box office.

Main Hoon Shahid Afridi is releasing on 35 screens across Pakistan and may cross the Rs30 million mark in its first week, barring any major unrest in the country. Keeping that in mind, it might do a total business of around Rs80 million, which, compared to the approximately Rs100 million budget of the film, is inadequate. However, with no mainstream Indian films being released on Eid, the film may gross more than expected.

The other release is the long-awaited Punjabi film Ishq-e-Khuda starring Ahsan Khan and Meera. This, too, will be released on 35 screens across Pakistan. It is expected to face stiff competition from Main Hoon Shahid Afridi at multiplexes and other cinemas in urban and sub-urban areas of Pakistan but is expected to sweep the single screens in Punjab.  The film seems like it could prove to be a surprising win for Punjabi cinema like Syed Noor’s Majajan but it won’t do that well on the box office compared to the other big release. Overall business of Rs20 million to Rs30 million will be quite an achievement.

Finally Josh, which despite having gained international fame received the least amount of attention in terms of marketing, will release digitally only on nine screens across the country. Nevertheless, it might just prove to be a surprise package. In terms of business, nine screens can barely result in a good return for the film though we can expect some power-packed performances. Although the budget of the film hasn’t been disclosed and returns can’t really be predicted with such a narrow release, we hope that Josh competes well alongside these commercial films so that other independent film-makers are also encouraged.

Alongside celebrations, this Eid probably brings the biggest test for Pakistani cinema as the return will truly represent how dependant we are on foreign films and how many more screens we need to have in order to make film-making a feasible business in Pakistan. Best of luck to everyone involved!

Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (30)

  • Curious
    Jul 26, 2013 - 7:56PM

    What about WAAR & Zinda Bhaag? When are these films releasing?


  • Pankaj
    Jul 26, 2013 - 8:33PM

    This is sheer torture…!!!


  • Bilal
    Jul 26, 2013 - 9:28PM

    Any news about “waar” ?


  • Falcon
    Jul 26, 2013 - 10:14PM

    I went to one of the initial screenings of Josh outside the country. I think the movie has a good concept and performances, it will do well in urban areas (specially Karachi), if marketed well.


  • Wahab
    Jul 26, 2013 - 10:41PM

    You missed zinda bhag


  • FR
    Jul 26, 2013 - 10:57PM

    It’s a great news that Zinda Bhaag and Waar are giving space to these films by not choosing to come Eid. Pakistani films should help each other.


  • Aschraful Makhlooq
    Jul 26, 2013 - 11:31PM

    How many Pakistanis shall see the stereotyped/stereotypical Pakistani films on Eid????


  • Aschraful Makhlooq
    Jul 26, 2013 - 11:35PM

    Can Pakistani substandard and stereotyped films enter 100 crore category’s movies like Indian movies?????


  • Naveen
    Jul 27, 2013 - 12:00AM

    These are just until Chennai Express is released.


  • Jul 27, 2013 - 12:15AM

    A true Pakistan film industry supporter will never like to allow the Bollywood movies to be released in Pakistani theatres. Especially when they do not allow our movies to be screened there in India. (Probably fearing the loss to their own industry due to competition).


  • TeamIshqKhuda
    Jul 27, 2013 - 1:53AM

    Thanks for your wishes – Team Ishq Khuda


  • Aamir
    Jul 27, 2013 - 2:22AM

    Its high time that everyone should go out and support these Pakistani films on Eid. We always complain that on films are not been made and nothing is being done for the revival of Pakistani cinema. Currently a number of films are being made by new filmmakers and a lot of hard work has gone in to making these films. Please go and watch these films and make them all super hit. We need our own cinema and more important our own identity. The day we understand the importance of cinema then automatically the film industry will flourish.


  • Rags
    Jul 27, 2013 - 7:28AM


    You r a true commedian comparing Bollywood with ?


  • Azeez
    Jul 27, 2013 - 8:23AM

    @ayesha: good joke….i like it


  • Mohinder Sandhu
    Jul 27, 2013 - 8:31AM

    ha ha


  • movebuff
    Jul 27, 2013 - 8:44AM

    Good cinema with thought-provoking themes would help revive the ailing Pakistani film industry which is virtually dead when it comes to intellectual creativity and slick filmmaking. Unfortunately, these qualities cannot exist in a country whose history has been notoriously characterized by repression and the muzzling of thinkers; good ideas can be nurtured and developed in a free and liberal society. I fear unless those conditions are created Pakistan will not have a viable film industry. Films like Bhol, Josh, etc. are the exception. Main Hoon Shahid Afridi grossly exaggerates the achievements of Afridi, considering there have been better performing and more mature Pakistani cricketers with no ego issues. Afridi, while he may temporarily find supporters in a country which hardly produces any personalities of renown, is considered by the cricketing world as an unstable flash-in-the-pan kind of player with an unusually inflated ego, and is not viewed sympathetically in any country outside his own. Why doesn’t some courageous Pakistani film maker think of making a film about Malala who is perceived as a true hero. I bet such a film would be a success not only worldwide, where she is being heroworshipped, but also in Pakistan itself.


  • Char Latan
    Jul 27, 2013 - 8:52AM

    I think it is the patriotic duty of every Pakistani to watch these films and to rave about them. Please take your friends and family along. If possible, sit through till the very end. In fact, it would be helpful if cinema owners do not to let anyone exit till the last of the credits have rolled. This is how we will recreate our own unique identity.


  • prashant kohale
    Jul 27, 2013 - 9:12AM

    how can you expect other countries to released film from Pakistan when in your country releasing Pakistani film is so difficult? and in India there is no restriction on releasing Pakistani film in fact movie Josh world premiered at the 2012 Mumbai International Film Festival and was one of the Top 15 Recommended Films at IFFI Goa’s Film Bazaar Viewing Room. and Khuda ke liye also had released in India.
    I really don’t know what true Pakistani should do, but my advise to you open your mind India and bollywood is not your Enemy but you are…
    and that last joke of your was killer “(Probably fearing the loss to their own industry due to competition).” dear India is number 2 country in population we have huge market and unlike Pakistan most of the people in India watch movie as a source of entertainment and not as a threat to religion…. Recommend

  • Nikesh
    Jul 27, 2013 - 10:28AM

    @ayesha, Please bear in mind that Bollywood films in India are already facing stiff competitions not only from Hollywood but also from South Indian film industries such as Tamil and Telugu, so I do not think there is any fear of loss…


  • rahul
    Jul 27, 2013 - 12:54PM

    Pakistani Cinema LOL .. Even Afghanistan people wont watch these sub standard films.


  • Punjabi from other side
    Jul 27, 2013 - 2:44PM

    Loved BOL but this main hoon shahid looks 3 grade from trailers


  • maestro
    Jul 27, 2013 - 3:38PM

    Where is “Waar” and “Kaptaan”??


  • Saima
    Jul 27, 2013 - 4:43PM

    Does anybody know the date of release for Zinda Bhaag?


  • Prasad Babu
    Jul 27, 2013 - 8:05PM

    Why are so many Indians so defensive? There is no need to jump in to the rescue of Mother India the minute a Pakistani criticizes India. There is no need to show India is better than Pakistan. The fact of the matter is both countries are equally miserable.


  • Optimist
    Jul 28, 2013 - 9:16AM

    @ Prasad Babu

    (Most) Indians are not defensive. They are insecure!
    Even a big industry like Bollywood hasn’t given Indians confidence and they feel better by unduly criticising and comparing.
    What’s the point of having a big Bollywood and a big SHINING INDIA when YOU DON’T HAVE BIG HEARTS and pounce upon a small film indsutry that is trying to revive itself after going through a rough patch.


  • Nikesh
    Jul 29, 2013 - 10:22AM

    @Optimist and Prasad. Can you please explain to me where do you see that we have talked about feelings of insecurity and are being defensive?…We are only talking EXCLUSIVELY about movies as the topic suggest and how Bollywood films is facing severe competition within India itself and NOT about how miserable both countries are or how low Indians are in their confidence…for which this is not the forum to talk about…Please be aware that even bollywood movies in the past and until now has taking a beating due to weak storyline and is facing severe competition from other movie industries but in no way they STOPPED making movies. India has welcomed Pakistani movies such as bol, khuda ke liye, josh and other co-productions and as a matter of fact has garnered big audience and earned more revenues in India then Pakistan. So please refrain from bad mouthing each other…


  • Babar
    Jul 29, 2013 - 6:31PM

    Yeah.. Too much happy after knowing this… shukar Now We can see our stars and actors on Big screen….. No more bollywood.. It’s Lollywood time :) :D


  • Bubloo
    Jul 31, 2013 - 12:32PM

    Is the budget of MHSA is really 10 crores?
    i mean this is the highest amount ever earned by any (BOL) film in Pakistan, so considering that if everything goes well it and it brings out even more audience than BOL it will still gross somewhere around 12 to 15 crores, so it will never be a commercial hit across Pakistan.
    I still hope that it pulls out historic figures..


  • Tughral T Ali
    Jul 31, 2013 - 5:52PM

    Its a good thing new filmmakers are coming forward. We should definitely support their work, or at least check it out.

    Why are our films so bad? If you look at the small screen, our TV dramas do quite well and have good quality too. I would say the dramas are popular across the border as well. However when it comes to films we are very substandard. Are there any systematic challenges in making a film? Are the economics of a film different? Perhaps some filmmaker can shed light on this.

    Anyway, good luck to the new films coming out. Hope to see more good stuff.


  • Aug 6, 2013 - 6:08PM

    Pakistani film industry compete with each other this Eid Instead of Bollywood


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