By Joginder Tuteja, Bollywood Hungama News Network
If reports from Pakistan and the makers of The Killer are to be believed, the film has seen a far better response than Bhatts own Awarapan and Gangster. This is not all as the film is also challenging Welcome, which is running at packed houses there.
Starring Emraan Hashmi, Irrfan Khan and Nisha Kothari (now Priyanka Kothari) in the lead roles, the film is doing bumper business and in Pakistan and is running simultaneously with all aforementioned films.
Emraan Hashmi, who is perpetually composed whether on a high or low, says calmly, "I am informed that the film has opened to a great response in Pakistan. Journalists and reporters from Pakistan tell me that the film's business is on par with Welcome, which is a great sign. I guess it was high time that the film got the recognition it deserved."
When released in India two years back, The Killer couldn't create any waves at the box office. It came in the time when it had to face competition from Omkara and Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna. "I guess that's what you call destiny. Chalo koyi baat nahi. Indian nahi to kam se kam Pakistani audiences have embraced the film," smiles Emraan.
Satish Anand, CEO of Eveready Pictures - Pakistan has been quoted as saying, "In the last one year, we have had a few releases from India and in the next one year we expect permission for the release at least 12 more films and that too simultaneously with India. Viewers here are already watching Indian films on cable all the time, but the excitement of going to the cinema and being able to watch the latest releases on big screen is definitely something completely different."
The move is expected to hit piracy racket prevalent in Pakistan in a big way. Owner of a video library in Karachi has a point of view when he says, "Until now, pirated DVDs were the only source of Indian films in Pakistan but that would change with this new progress. With Indian films arriving directly on the big screen, the DVD industry in Pakistan would surely be impacted."
Exhibitors are elated though. "With the exchange of films, even those who previously weren't going to the cinema, will now probably do so to catch the latest attractions," says Ashir Gill, General Manager of the Universe Cineplex in Karachi.
Director duo of Raksha Mistry and Hasnain Hyderabadwala, for whom The Killer was their first stint behind the camera as independent filmmakers, is unable to conceal their happiness. Comments Hasnain, "We are aware that The Killer or The Train didn't cover the kind of distance at the box office as they deserved. However, the success of The Killer in Pakistan has come as a welcome relief."
Adds Raksha, "Imagine the film being a bigger success than Gangster? Gangster has such a popular score and is genuinely a well-made film by Anurag Basu. On the other hand, Welcome has Akshay Kumar as the star power with such great humor by Anees Bazmee. It is an honor to be not just running alongside these films but also giving them tough competition!"
It was the release of Akbar Khan's Taj Mahal - An Eternal Love Story in 2006 and Emraan Hashmi's Awarapan in 2007 that had kick started the exhibition of Indian films in Pakistan. With Government of Pakistan allowing nation wide exhibition of Indian films, the door is wide open for many more Bollywood flicks to hit the Pakistani screens. Coming days would see Ajay Devgan's Sunday and Aamir Khan's Taare Zameen Par to see a release in Pakistan. Meanwhile there are also talks around Jodhaa Akbar to make its way into theaters there.