KARACHI: The last time two or more Pakistani films went neck-to-neck with each other in the presence of a Bollywood film, it didn’t end up well for one of the local movies. Operation 021 bore the brunt of hitting theatres the same day as Hrithik Roshan’s Bang Bang! Interestingly, history seems to have repeated itself as Pakistani movies have once again been dealt a knockout blow by a Bollywood film. The Akshay Kumar-starrer Brothers, which has raked in over Rs30 million at the Pakistani box office during the extended holiday weekend, is well beyond the reach of any local film.
Given the buzz surrounding it, Asadul Haq’s Dekh Magar Pyaar Say (DMPS) was the only movie that was likely to give it competition. But the negative word-of-mouth the movie has generated following its release may result in cinema-owners pulling the plug on it. Despite DMPS being the only local release to boast star power, it turned out to be a major disappointment for local cinemas after recording low turnouts, especially on the second and third-day screenings.
“The movie has recorded a low turnout after the opening days and many people even left the cinemas around the time of the interval,” a source told The Express Tribune. But unlike DMPS, dark horses Moor and Shah seem to have benefitted from the extended weekend. Revolving around the theme of patriotism, the two films were either made on a limited budget or limited release, but ended up riveting the audiences.
Shah’s opening day collections amounted to around Rs3 million. While its second-day box office earning was around Rs1.7 million, the distributors of the film were pleased with its overall performance and have estimated the opening weekend to gross Rs6 million. “With the space crunch that was there this weekend and the limited resources our movie was made with, we’re satisfied with its performance. And more than anything, the reviews and word-of-mouth Shah has garnered are very positive,” stated Mirza Saad Baig, general manager of FootPrint (Pvt) Ltd, the film’s distributor.
Moor, which is being dubbed a product of Pakistan’s parallel cinema, is gradually picking up in terms of business after a respectable opening weekend, where it grossed Rs6.2 million. Khorem Goltasab, general manager of Super Cinemas, said that given the positive response the movie has received and by judging its performance on the opening weekend, they’ll allot more shows to both Shah and Moor. “Shah wasn’t being screened on single-screen cinemas in Punjab on Sunday, but we screened it on three stations and we’re even going to screen Moor in larger multiplexes from this week onwards,” he added.
Nadeem Mandviwalla, managing director of Mandviwalla Entertainment and owner of Atrium Cinemas, holds that Moor’s success shouldn’t be measured in terms of box office but for its “critical likeness.” He explained, “Moor is a film that will continue to move at snail speed at the box office. We had only allotted it two shows on the opening weekend. All those shows went full and even this week, we’re going to give it two shows. If it manages to sustain its level by next week, then that would mean it’s doing well.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 18th, 2015.