Mumbai: It’s now official, Salman Khan’s 'Tubelight' will not release in Pakistan, because no local distributor is willing to come forward and release it there.
Apparently, Salman’s extraordinary popularity among Pakistani audiences has proved to be a deterrent.
According to the President of the Indian Film Exporters Association, Hirachand Dand, local distributors in Pakistan are hesitant to acquire the film, since there are two big local films scheduled for an Eid release and the makers do not want any competition, especially in the form of a Salman starrer.
“Salman has millions of fans in Pakistan and the filmmakers are in no mood to pitch their films against his. They are determined to protect the interests of their films instead.”
Sources point out that there is a huge amount of money riding on the two big local releases, one of them being 'Yalghaar,' touted as one of Pakistan’s first ever international film, and the other being 'Shor Sharaba.'
Interestingly, 'Yalghaar,' based on the sacrifices of the people and armed forces against terrorism, has premier shows scheduled in the US, UK and China.
According to Dand, there was initial speculation that 'Tubelight' would have a delayed release after two weeks in Pakistan but that possibility is now likely to be ruled out due to the price factor.
A Salman Khan film in the Pakistan market is said to be $5 lakh, and Dand reveals that the price has become a major point of contention.
“The distributors are in no mood to pay the asking price for a Salman film even if it is released two weeks later since it would have released all over the world by then. The business will also have reduced by 30 percent. And these days, pirated versions of films invariably get leaked online within a week of their release,” he says, adding that a majority of Salman-starrers had released on the same day in Pakistan.
Veteran Pakistan distributor Amjad Rashi, who last released 'Baahubali' and 'Hindi Medium' in Pakistan, confirmed that no distributor including the regular local distributor of Yashraj, Geo Films, had come forward to acquire the film.
However, he attributed it to completely different reasons. “I am not the right person to comment but I doubt whether the film will get clearance considering the Indo-China war subject. Salman is no doubt a big star in Pakistan but the film could also face other hurdles as it reflects anti-China sentiments,” he said.
A spokesperson from Geo refused to comment, stating that there was no confirmation on whether or not the film would release in Pakistan.
However, COO of Salman Khan Films- Amar Butala says, "Salman Khan Films is committed to taking 'Tubelight' to markets across the globe with our overseas distributors Yash Raj Films. Salman has a huge following in Pakistan, which has only grown with the positive messaging on 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan.' We hope to release 'Tubelight' in Pakistan as well, and our efforts continue in that direction, but we respect the law of the land and judiciary if they decide otherwise."