Pakistan boycotting Indian films, won’t affect Bollywood’s business, says trade analysts

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After the pre-dawn air strike carried out by the Indian Air Force, in retaliation to Pulwama Terror Attack, Pakistani Cinema Exhibitors Association has decided to boycott Indian content. In reaction to this step taken by Pakistani Cinema Exhibitors Association, Bollywood trade analyst Taran Adarsh said that this is not going to affect the business of Indian films much.

“There are about 150 screens in Pakistan. Like us, they also love Hindi movies. They make very few films. Also, you cannot show Hollywood films round-the-clock. Indian films are a big addiction. It is going to be tough for them as it is a small market for us,” Adarsh said.

A city-based film exhibitor Akshay Rathi says that the Pakistanis will be more affected by their decision. He adds, “The impact of Indian films not releasing in Pakistan will be massive on exhibition sector there, but it will be minuscule for Indian producers. Lots of consumption of Indian films happens through piracy and the kind of collection that comes out of Pakistan is very less as compared to other territories.”

According to biz analysts, Pakistan contributes around “four to six” percent to the total collection of Indian films, which is ₹4-7 crores on average.

Rahul Kadbet, Vice President, Programming at Carnival Cinemas, says, “The losses can be amortized from other avenues like exploiting new media platforms. A blockbuster Indian film hardly grosses four to six percent of the Indian box office in Pakistan and for a regular film, it is even less.”

He adds, “This is actually a big loss for them because their industry depends up to 70 percent on Bollywood and Hollywood content.”

Following the ban against Pakistani artists in Bollywood, Salman Khan dropped one song from his movie ‘Notebook’ which was sung by Atif Aslam. Talking about it, the director Nitin Kakkar said, “There’s only one song of Atif in the film and we will have to redo it. We all are Indians and it is unfortunate whatever has happened. But the show must go on as they say.”

On the other hand, Pakistani filmmaker Sohail Khan says that Indian film industry will suffer huge losses as Pakistan contributes a large share to the global collections of Indian films.

“The Indian film industry makes a lot of money by screening movies in Pakistan. My idea is they make Rs 700-800 billion annually as over 100 films are exported and shown in Pakistan. So it is a big business for them and they will also lose money by this decision,” Khan told Press Trust of India.

He further adds, “I think there will be a short term impact on film and cinema business here due to this decision but in the long term, it would be good that Indian films are not shown in Pakistan.”

He also said that the decision regarding releasing of Indian films in Pakistan is not unison.  Khan said, “Only a few individuals have announced that they will not screen films in Pakistan. I have not seen any such collective decision by any association. I think it will not be very effective as there are people in India who would not like to lose the market in Pakistan. Legally, Indian films are still banned in Pakistan and they are shown when a No-Objection Certificate is issued by authorities.”

Meanwhile, All India Cine Workers Association (AICWA) has written a letter to Prime Minister demanding a complete ban on issuing any Visa to Pakistani actors, Film Association and media fraternity.

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