Karachi: Salman Khan's Bajrangi Bhaijaan has become the first film around the Indo-Pak theme to get a clearance for a screening in Pakistan this Eid.
The Pakistan Central Censor Board has given a go ahead to the Kabir Khan-directed movie, but with a few cuts. The movie is about an Indian man's attempt to help a young, speech-impaired girl reach safely home to Pakistan.
Bollywood films which revolve around Indo-Pak themes have faced trouble when it comes to their release in the country and recently Salman's 'Ek Tha Tiger', and other movies like 'Agent Vinod', 'Haider', 'Baby' and 'Tere Bin Laden' failed to release in Pakistan.
The Chairman of the Central Board of Film Censors, Mobashir Hasan, said that Bajrangi Bhaijaan has been approved for Eid release by the CBFC but with several cuts.
"We recommended these cuts after thorough discussion by our panel which comprises members of national security agencies, film critics and members of the civil society," he said.
Mr Hasan revealed that since the CBFC is a regulatory body, determining the time of release of a film doesn't fall within its jurisdiction, but that it has "approved" the movie for Eid.
He said so far the Board had not got any instructions from the Information Ministry for the film's exhibition to be delayed or restricted.
Satish Anand the chief executive of Eveready Pictures played down reports that the Lahore censor board had still not given clearance for the exhibition of the film in Punjab.
Nadeem Mandviwalla, a well-known distributor and exhibitor, told PTI that the CBFC doesn't hold the power to censor the film across Pakistan after the passing of the 18th Amendment and subsequent decentralisation of censor boards.
He said presently, all the cinemas in the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), Khyber Pakthunkhawa province and cantonments around the country come within the CBFC's ambit.
Mr Mandviwalla played down media reports that the Pakistani film industry personalities were pressurising the government to delay the release of Bajrangi Bhaijaan as some major Pakistani films were slated for release on Eid as well.
The two big Pakistani releases include Wrong No and Bin Roye which are bound to face stiff competition from Bajrangi Bhaijaan during the Eid holidays.
HUM films, which have produced 'Bin Roye' are said to be keen to have no international competition at Eid. The movie features actress Mahira Khan who is making her Bollywood debut opposite Shah Rukh Khan in 'Raees'.
After a premiere in Dubai, it will release in Indian theatres on Eid.