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Coronavirus pandemic: Lollywood foresees dark times with Eid releases at stake, shoots stalled

Amidst the corona outbreak in the country and elsewhere in the world, there is good chance that most local films scheduled to release on Eid-ul-Fitr will now be delayed.

As per the official announcements by makers, only two films had confirmed their release on Eid ul Fitr this year. Among them were the much-hyped long-awaited The Legend of Maula Jutt (TLOMJ) and Urwa Hocane’s production debut Tich Button.

For now, most film makers haven’t taken any final decision and are waiting to witness how the situation of the country shapes up in coming days.

Talking to Dawn Images, TLOMJ producer Ammara Hikmat outlined,“As of now, we are on schedule for the Eid release because it’s difficult to predict how things will shape up. It’s quite a testing time for everyone. We hope that this ever-shifting situation gets controlled worldwide and everything goes as per plan. No one wants to risk the health and safety for people for the sake of entertainment.”

Adnan Siddiqui was also planning to release his first production on Eid ul Fitr but he has made his final decision and will no longer be releasing the film on Eid now, following in the footsteps of Hollywood and Bollywood film makers.

“I was thinking of releasing Dum Mustum on Eid and was even about to make an official announcement but I don’t think that I will be doing so now. In the current scenario, even major movies like James Bond have been postponed. Bollywood has halted productions. We are a much smaller industry and have to make sure that we release at a time when audiences will happily frequent cinemas without worrying over their health,” the actor turned produced told Images.

Various film makers have even halted the shoot of their ongoing productions in line with the social distancing advisory by the government of Pakistan to help stop spreading the deadly virus that has resulted in over 22, 000 deaths worldwide.

Fizza Ali Meerza and Nabeel Qureshi of Filmwala Productions have delayed the shoot of their upcoming movie FatMan, starring Ahmed Ali Butt, which was going to begin on the 28th of March.

Zahid Ahmed and Saba Qamar starrer Ghabrana Nahi Hai stopped its shoot merely after two days of filming.

Wajahat Rauf also recently made an official announcement that the shooting of his film Parde Mein Rehne Do, starring Ali Rehman Khan and Hania Aamir, had been stopped.

The government of Pakistan has ordered cinema halls across the country to remain shut till the 5th of April. However, in the light of the current situation of rapidly increasing corona cases in the country and the rising death toll, it now seems that most cinemas will not even open after this date.

While all hopes of local cinema owners relied on Eid outings to earn profits after the ban on Bollywood outings had  already crushed profits, the situation now seems bleak due to the spread of coronavirus in the country and provincial lockdowns imposed to contain the virus.

Will our cinemas be able to survive in this situation? It is being reported that various cinema owners have fired several employees foreseeing their dark future in coming days.

Well, all we can do is pray for these dark times to be over soon.

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