Saturday, 15 December 2018

Fawad Khan v Salman Khan: Who will break box office records on Eid 2019?


KARACHI: Fans have been waiting for Bilal Lashari’s Maula Jatt for a while now. While the principle cast of the upcoming film – Fawad Khan, Mahira Khan and Hamza Ali Abbasi – was announced long ago, it’s release date was kept under wraps until very recently.

But we now know that The Legend of Maula Jatt will hit screens on Eidul Fitr 2019. That’s great news, of course. But the festival brings with itself a bevy of other big releases. For instance, last Eid saw Parwaaz Hai Junoon, Load Wedding and Jawani Phir Nahi Ani 2 clash big time at the box office.

While no other Pakistani film has been announced just yet, it looks like The Legend of Maula Jatt will be battling it out with Salman Khan’s upcoming period drama Bharat upon release. It’s no big news that the Dabangg actor always releases his films during the Eid season. Needless to say, it will be one Khan battling out against another and film enthusiasts are already prepping for it.

Bollywood critic Taran Adarsh addressed the same concern tweeting, “Salman Khan versus Fawad Khan…Pakistan is all set to release its most ambitious film Maula Jatt on Eid 2019, in their country and overseas. Salman’s Bharat is also confirmed for Eid 2019 so it will be Khan vs Khan at the Pakistani box office.

Actor Gohar Rasheed, who plays an essential role in The Legend of Maula Jatt, also took to Twitter to share his two cents. Replying to Taran, he wrote, “Sir, we all love Sallu bhai but saada piece – Fawad – vi bada tight hai (We love Salman too but our Fawad is no less either).

Discussing the clash of the two films, The Legend of Maula Jatt executive producer Ammara Hikmat told The Express Tribune, “We are positioning our film as an international one overseas, it won’t be a regional language movie limited to desi audiences.”

 It will be interesting to see how our producers and exhibitors work around the clash. Earlier this year, when Race 3 was due for release, the authorities moved all international film releases one week further so that local productions could hold their own too.

The Ministry of Information, Broadcasting, National History and Literary Heritage had released a statement back then that read, “Keeping the importance of the local film industry and exhibition facilities in mind, the government has decided that screening of Bollywood movies shall be restricted for a period of one week in total, starting from the Eid day. The decision has been taken to promote the Pakistani film industry.”

Let’s see what happens when Bharat and The Legend of Maula Jatt come face to face. Even Twitterati remained divided on the matter. A Salman fan, Pawan Thakur wrote, “Aaja Fawad, apni maut ka tamasha dekhne (Come forward to your own death Fawad).”

Or perhaps both films won’t even end up clashing at all. Pakistani censor boards are notorious for banning Bollywood films that promote Indian nationalism. Bharat – as the title suggests – will be very patriotic as well. In fact, rumour has it that the film features a scene involving Salman and his leading lady Katrina Kaif at Wagah Border too. Katrina’s presence brings the Chikni Chameli star up against Pakistan’s very own Mahira Khan as well.

The Legend of Maula Jatt will be the first film from the subcontinent to get the same release date in China – a market that film industries from across the world are currently hoping to make the most of. Even the likes of Dangal and Hindi Medium were released there after months of their releases in Pakistan. Will this be a game changer for Pakistani films or The Legend of Maula Jatt? Only time will tell. But for now, let’s just say we’re rooting for Fawad. But also for Salman just a little…

Which film will you be watching on Eidul Fitr 2019?

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