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Bollywood takes revenge; cancels releases in Pakistan post Pulwama attack

PW Bureau

The decision to not release films in Pakistan is critical for Bollywood, trade analysts say, considering that the country brings about 5 percent of the overall earnings at times Mumbai: Bearing in mind this month’s terrorist attacks in Kashmir, at least two upcoming Bollywood films, including comedies “Total Dhamaal” and 'Luka Chhupi' will not release in Pakistan. Dinesh Vijan, producer of “Luka Chuppi” has ended contracts with distributors from Pakistan for the romantic comedy, along with other future projects comprising Diljit Dosanjh’s “Arjun Patiala” and Rajkummar Rao’s “Made in China”. Total Dhamaal’s lead actors Ajay Devgn and Riteish Deshmukh confirmed on Twitter: “In light of the current situation, the team of 'Total Dhamaal' has decided to not release the film in Pakistan." Bollywood earnings could be hit The country was rocked by a suicide bombing on February 14, when 40 of India’s paramilitary police were killed in an act of terror claimed by Pakistan-based Islamist militant group, Jaish-e-Mohammed. The decision to not release films in Pakistan is a critical for Bollywood, trade analysts say, considering that the country brings about 5 percent of the overall earnings at times. For a big Indian film, Pakistani distributors can usually pay a minimum assurance of up to Rs 5 crore. Incidentally, both the comedies had been locked in for the same price as such figures mean buyers are guaranteed collections worth Rs 8-9 crore at least. Lahore-Karachi multiplexes will bear the brunt “Cities such as Lahore and Karachi have several multiplexes coming up. How long can they run on Hollywood films or sporadic Pakistani content? They are dependent on Indian films," said Atul Mohan, editor of trade magazine Complete Cinema. Pakistan had banned Indian film screenings in September 2016 following the Uri attacks and India’s surgical strike. The Indian Motion Picture Producers’ Association (IMPPA) had also barred their members from hiring Pakistani actors.