KARACHI: This Eidul Azha witnessed the release of three major Pakistani films including Load Wedding, Jawani Phir Nahi Ani 2 (JPNA2) and Parwaaz Hai Junoon. While the three films received positive reviews from audiences, film-maker Nabeel Qureshi expressed disappointment over the amount of shows Load Wedding was allotted at cinema houses across the country.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Qureshi revealed his film is suffering because of an ongoing dispute between the distributors and cinema owners. “They are useless and have no clue about what’s happening. Fizza Ali Meerza (producer) and I had to inform them that the film does not have enough shows. It’s not our job to tell them that.”
When Qureshi eventually contacted the cinema officials, he was told that they were having contract issues with the film’s distributors. However, he clarified the exhibitors are at fault too, for not granting Load Wedding a fair amount of shows. “As exhibitors, it’s their job to give an equal amount of shows to all the local films that are releasing on the same day. If one film fails to perform well, the show times can be reduced – which was not the case.” he said.
Load Wedding only had three shows in Centaurus, Islamabad, over the Eid weekend. The number increased on the weekdays which left Qureshi and his team “confused”.
The film-maker, who has previously helmed successful hits such as Na Maloom Afraad, Na Maloom Afraad 2 and Actor in Law mentioned that even if the number of shows were equal, Load Wedding was still assigned smaller halls as compared to larger ones for JPNA2.
The 33-year-old added, “For a good competition, all the films should have gotten the same amount of shows in cinemas across the country. But JPNA2 was getting 50% of all shows and Parwaaz Hai Junoon took another 30% to 35%, leaving Load Wedding with a mere 15% to 20%.”
While the reportedly unfair treatment at the hands of cinema owners is highly affecting Load Wedding’s business, Qureshi explained that this is the first time his film has failed to reach the Rs100 million mark in its opening week. “Since the past four times, my films have always released on Eidul Azha and opened to a very good start,” he mentioned.
Speaking about multiple films hitting movie theatres on the same day, Qureshi stated, “I have a good reputation when it comes to work commitments and had announced the release of Load Wedding last year. Having JPNA2 release the same day was fair because Humayun Saeed’s films often release on Eidul Azha as well.” Qureshi feels it was unfair that Parwaaz Hai Junoon delayed their initial Eidul Fitr release date.
Speaking of Load Wedding’s shows in cinemas out of Pakistan, Qureshi explained, “In the UK, films have to buy show times. JPNA2 has a big team to back it up and they had 42 screens while Load Wedding bought 36. The distribution ratio in the US and Dubai is also very similar to that. However, Load Wedding fared well than Parwaaz Hai Junoon in the US.”
Saddened by the discrimination, Qureshi said that the “damage has been done”, adding that young and aspiring film-makers will not be able to survive if the monopoly continues to exist. He concluded, “We’re not fighting for our fair share at cinemas anymore. We’re fighting for the future of the industry and other independent film-makers.”