Shijal ChudasamaDecember 28, 2022

After 11 years, a Pakistani movie will be released in India amid backlash.

After 11 years, a Pakistani movie will be released in India amid backlash.

The Legend of Maula Jatt, a popular Pakistani film, is about to make history by becoming the first movie from that nation to be released in India in more than ten years on December 30. This will signal a possible cultural breakthrough in the strained relations between the South Asian neighbors.

Director Bilal Lashari, 38, will release his Maula Jatt adaption in Indian Punjab and a few Delhi theaters, according to Rajender Singh Jyala, chief programming officer of the Indian multiplex network INOX Leisure.

Jyala stated to the Press Trust of India on December 26 that the play "would be shown in Punjab and a few theatres in Delhi in INOX where there are Punjabi-speaking people."

Another Indian cinema chain, PVR Cinemas, shared the movie's release announcement last week before removing it from its website. The incident highlighted the political risks Indian businesses and individuals face when doing business with their counterparts in Pakistan, however it is uncertain if the movie will continue to be shown in its theaters.

The Legend of Maula Jatt, released worldwide in October, has gone on to become the highest-grossing Pakistani film of all time and has so far amassed more than $10m at the box office.

The film, which has a running time of slightly over 150 minutes, centers on family conflicts and explores themes of vengeance and honor. It also has a strong cast of well-known performers who are well-known to Indian audiences, led by the movie's headliners, Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan.

Despite the fact that both Mahira and Fawad Khan have appeared in numerous Indian films, Bol by Mahira was the final Pakistani film to be released in India in 2011. In Khoobsurat, Kapoor & Sons, and Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, Fawad played the lead role. The 2017 film Raees, starring Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan, starred Mahira.

Pakistani film to release in India after 11 years amid blowback
Mahira Khan and Fawad Khan

After more than five years, both actors will make a comeback in Indian cinema with The Legend of Maula Jatt.

But if the movie is released in India, far-right political parties there have pledged to demonstrate. Hindu nationalist Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) leader Ameya Khopkar stated earlier in December that his group will not permit the film to be screened in India.

In a tweet on December 9, Khopkar wrote, “It is most infuriating that an Indian company is leading this plan. Following Raj Saheb’s orders we will not let this film release anywhere in India.” He was referring to MNS chief Raj Thackeray, whose party has frequently targeted films whose content — or actors — it disagrees with.

Khopkar, who is also a producer himself, said, “Fawad Khan’s fans, traitors may very well go to Pakistan and watch the film”.

In light of this, entertainment journalist and festival programmer Aseem Chhabra predicted that screening the film in India wouldn't be simple. He said. "I won't be astonished if the release of this movie has some political implications. But I think it's a terrific chance to restart cultural exchanges between the two countries.

Pakistani artists have frequently struggled to connect with their fans across the border, particularly after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014. This is despite the popularity of Pakistani films, plays, and its booming music industry in India.

Pakistani performers were in fact prohibited from appearing on any venues in India following the 2016 attack in Uri, in Indian-administered Kashmir, which claimed the lives of at least 19 Indian army men. This was the case despite their being no official ban. Following the Mumbai attacks in November 2008, Pakistani cricketers have already been banned from competing in the very famous Indian Premier League since 2009.

It has been ten years since Pakistan's national cricket side last faced off against India in a bilateral series. Since then, only multi-team international competitions have pitted the two cricket-obsessed nations against one another.

Nevertheless, Pakistani musicians have kept making a name for themselves online in India. The song Pasoori, performed by Pakistani singers Ali Sethi and Shae Gill on the Coke Studio platform, has become one of this year's biggest musical hits on both sides of the border. On Spotify India, it was one of the most streamed songs.

Joyland, Pakistan's Oscar nomination, was also screened in November at the Dharamshala International Film Festival in northern India. According to Chhabra, the movie was so well-received there that the festival's organizers had to add another showing.

Rafay Mahmood, a film critic and cultural analyst based in Karachi, remarked on the probable release of The Legend of Maula Jatt that it was crucial to keep in mind that India has not officially forbade the release of Pakistani films or the hiring of Pakistani actors.

Pakistani film to release in India after 11 years amid blowback
Pakistani film to release in India after 11 years amid blowback

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