The film touched everyone's heart across border as well...
The Bajrangi Bhaijaan fever has gripped audiences in Pakistan and thanks to the positive Indo-Pak message in the movie, the Salman Khan-starrer has received phenomenal response, with people thronging to watch the film even a week after its release. Theatre owners claim to have witnessed record number of people leaving cinema halls misty-eyed after watching the movie, about a Bajrangbali (Hanuman) devotee Pawan Kumar Chaturvedi's (played by Salman) journey from India to escort a six-year-old mute Pakistani girl back to her village. "I have been working in this cinema business for the last seven years but I never witnessed such a large number of people coming out of the cinema hall with tears in their eyes after every show of Bajrangi Bhaijaan," says Shahram Raza of Cine Star Cinema in Lahore.
Raza, who works at the ticket counter, said people look very excited while buying tickets for Bajrangi Bhaijaan. "However, as the show ends most of them especially women come out with tears in their eyes. In other movies, people come out talking loudly when the show ends but in the case of Bajrangi Bhaijaan, I hardly heard any chat," he said, adding that because of the emotional storyline people could relate to the film. Some youngsters in Pakistan have watched the movie twice including Momina Rana, who thinks it is perhaps the first Indian film in which Pakistan is shown in positive light. She is happy with this change of mindset among Bollywood filmmakers.
"The general public in both Pakistan and India is peace loving and that is why this movie is so widely appreciated here and must be out there (India) as well. I would love to watch this movie again and again as such a film is not made every day," she added.
Pakistan Film Exhibitors Association Chairman Zoraiz Lashari said that the Eid holidays were very well spent this year, all thanks to Bajrangi Bhaijaan. "There has been a phenomenal response from the public as over 80 cinemas of the country are jam-packed since Eid (July 18) to watch Bajrangi. People from all walks of life and of all age groups are standing in queues to book their seats in cinema halls for it," Lashari told PTI. He said the film, which also starred Kareena Kapoor Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, has entered into its second week and is doing tremendous business as there is no new Bollywood release.
Commenting on Pakistani movies released on Eid along with Bajrangi Bhaijaan Lashari said, "The two Pakistani films - Wrong No and Bin Roye are also doing good business on the box office but they have no match to the BB." Attributing the revival of the Pakistani film industry to Indian films, he said that cinema here is surviving because of exhibition of Indian movies. "The competition is forcing us to make good movies and this is what exactly happening... The Indian movies have in fact helped the Pakistani cinema and film industry in a big way."
However, some distributors of Pakistani films especially of Wrong No and Bin Roye have complained that the hall owners are meting out "step-motherly" treatment towards them. They claim the cinema owners having multiple screens are giving six shows a day to Bajrangi while running one show each for Wrong No and Bin Roye. Pakistan Film Producers Association Chairman Syed Noor said the cinema owners were giving more shows to the Indian movie which is "regrettable". "I am going to hold a film convention in Lahore in which I will invite producers and directors from across Pakistan to have a discussion on this 'bad trend' of giving more shows to Indian movies," Noor said.
However, he appreciated the 'healthy competition' between Pakistani and Indian films. Lashari said in Pakistan the three Khans (Aamir, Shah Rukh and Salman) are most liked by people. "You see people especially the middle class throng cinemas when a movie of the Khan's is shown. Earlier, Shah Rukh's Chennai Express and Aamir Khan's Dhoom 3 did great business. Now, it is the turn of Salman's movie. The factor of 'hero worship' cannot be ruled out here," Lashari said.
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