Post-ban: Cinemas fail to take notice of ‘Maalik’
LAHORE: Despite being given a green light by Lahore High Court,Maalik has failed to ride along the controversy at the box office. The political thriller has been given just one show each in Lahore’s Super Cinemas at Hussain Chowk and Fortress Stadium.
It has been facing stiff competition from local Eid releases such as Actor in Law, Janaan and Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hay, as well as international films such as Baar Baar Dekho and the upcoming Raaz Reboot.
“It is true that Maalik is not being screened in some of the biggest cities of Punjab, such as Sialkot, Faisalabad and Gujranwala. In Lahore, it has been given only two shows. What can I do when cinema-owners are unwilling to pay more attention to my film?” Azeem told The Express Tribune. “I do humbly request them to increase the number of shows being given to Maalik. In the meantime, I am glad that my work is getting a very positive response, in spite of the limited number of shows,” he added.
According to Azeem, Maalik has also been doing well in Sindh. The soaring popularity is surely a breath of fresh air for the film-maker, who had been struggling against the government to have the film released in the first place. Maalik previously opened back in April but was banned soon after.
However the ban on the film was revoked ahead of Eid, a time when a slew of big-budget local and international films were already headed to the cinemas. “The reason for Maalik not getting ample screen time is that we already have super hit Pakistani films playing at the cinemas,” explained Super Cinemas Public Relations Officer Waryam Iqbal. “Local competition has cut the number of Maalik screenings. Right now, nearly 80% of film-goers are coming to watch films other than Maalik.”
A film distributor seeking anonymity echoed Iqbal’s sentiments by highlighting the entire life cycle of Maalik. “When the film was released back in April, it was generating maximum footfall and the reason behind that was a lack of other good Pakistani content. Naturally, any film will have to face competition if more films are releasing around the same time,” he explained.
Even the Katrina Kaif and Sidharth Malhotra-starrer Baar Baar Dekhois now experiencing a tough time due to the negative responses it has received from the audience. “Viewers are intelligent. When they have a choice, they will always opt for the quality films and naturally, cinema-owners will give shows to only those that will generate good business,” he said.