Indian pic scores first in Pakistan

'Goal!' goes day and date in both countries

HONG KONG — “Goal!” (Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal) became the first Indian film to have a day and date release in neighboring Pakistan Friday.

The Pakistan Censor Board cleared the film for general release Thursday allowing the sports pic to be released in 12 print outing in Pakistan on the same day as its general release in India and Indian diaspora territories overseas.

Indian films had been banned in Pakistan for more than 40 years with the embargo lifted in April last year, though there is a lively two-way underground trade in each country’s movies (Variety, April 26, 2006).

India’s Bollywood pics are popular in Pakistan on DVD and pirate cable channels, while Pakistani films are coveted in several Indian states.

Helmed by Vivek Agnihotri, “Goal” is story of an Indian community in the U.K. told through the lens of professional football. It stars John Abraham and Bipasha Basu.

Producer and distribber, UTV Motion Pictures recently said that the film had become profitable even before its theatrical preem. Combination of sponsorship deals and other endorsements had more than covered the Rup160 million ($4.05 million) budget. Largest sponsor is sportswear manufacturer Reebok India.

Last year’s thawing relations saw India’s union minister for culture and tourism Ambika Soni, Pakistan’s federal culture secretary Syed Jalil Abbas and central film censor board chairman Ziauddin Ahmad agree to set up a festival of Pakistani films in Mumbai.

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