Pakistan waits for 'Jannat'

Islamabad, May 13 (IANS) Advance booking has begun for the Indian film "Jannat" which releases this Friday and has already entered the record books as the first film to be screened in both Pakistan and India.

The Emraan Hashmi starrer about match fixing, directed by Kunal Deshmukh and produced by Mukesh Bhatt, has been cleared by the censor board in Pakistan, where the government allows Indian films to be screened on a case-to-case basis.

"We are anxious about the movie and there is advance booking for it," Hammad Raza, the manager of Cinepax cinema in nearby Rawalpindi, told IANS.

He said the film's music had already become popular and this would be the first time that a movie would be released simultaneously across the border.

"We believe that it will draw huge crowds because it's related to cricket and will be screened when the IPL will be at its peak," said Raza.

Ironically, CD sellers are also expecting good business.

"It will be illegal but the movie will be available at many shops," a CD distributor in Islamabad told IANS. He said he had already got the master print for all those who didn't want to take the trouble of going to the theatre.

A new Indian movie on DVD in Pakistan is available for Pakistani Rs.150, the price dropping to Rs.100 or less after a month. However, films selling under copyright cost Rs.300 or more.

Songs from "Jannat" are already available in the Pakistani market.

"The music of "Jannat" is selling well, but not to our expectation," said Wajih Hussain, who sells music in Islamabad.

The film's lead actor Emraan is a known figure in Pakistan and has featured in TV ads being telecast by different television channels. In one commercial for a cell phone company, he says, "Now its my time to shine in Pakistan."

That may be true indeed.

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