Pakistani film 'The Legend of Maula Jatt', starring Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan, is likely to be released on the big screen in India this Friday. This will perhaps be the first film from Pakistan in over a decade to get a theatrical release here. According to PTI, Multiplex chain PVR Cinemas had shared a release announcement on its official Instagram page but deleted it soon after. "Presenting the official poster of #TheLegendofMaulaJatt! Coming to PVR this Friday," the post read. The action drama, which has become the highest-grossing Pakistani film of all time amassing USD 10 million, was released in Pakistan on October 13.
Directed by Bilal Lashari, "The Legend of Maula Jatt" is an adaptation of the 1979 cult classic "Maula Jatt" and producers have said it is neither a remake nor a sequel. Its stars Mahira and Fawad are familiar to Indian audiences through their popular Pakistani drama "Humsafar" and also through Bollywood - Fawad, who was most recently seen in the superhero series "Ms Marvel", has featured in "Khoobsurat", "Kapoor & Sons", and "Ae Dil Hai Mushkil" while Mahira appeared in Shah Rukh Khan-starrer "Raees".
The last Pakistani film to get a theatrical release in India was "Bol" starring Mahira in 2011. Before that was "Ramchand Pakistani" starring Nandita Das and Rashid Farooqi in 2008. "Khuda Kay Liye", which included Fawad in the ensemble cast alongside Naseeruddin Shah, came in 2007.
Pakistani films, however, have been screened at festivals in India. In November this year, the Dharamshala International Film Festival screened Saim Sadiq's "Joyland", which is Pakistan's official entry in the international film category at the 95th Academy Awards.
"Khuda Kay Liye" was the first ever Pakistani film to be included in the official selection of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI). "The Legend of Maula Jatt" started production in January 2017 and concluded in June 2019. The film was initially scheduled for cinema release during multiple dates in 2019-2020, but kept getting delayed due to copyright related issues and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pakistani actors stopped being cast in Indian productions following the 2016 terror attack in Uri in which 19 Indian Army personnel were martyred. The decision came amid demands by various political outfits to ban Pakistani artistes from Indian films and from performing here.
(With PTI inputs)