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May 20, 1999
Sarfarosh Controversy a Myth: US Distributor
A Staff Writer
Ken Naz, chief executive for Eros Entertainment, is surprised by rumors that the hit film, Sarfarosh, has been yanked out of movie houses because of threats and demonstrations by Pakistani audiences.
"We opened the film on 24 screens," he says, adding that it performed strongly. "In the second week, we retained the 24 screens, and the film was down by about 30 per cent which is a very good sign." It has grossed about $ 300,000 in two weeks."
"Who is spreading the rumors?" he asks. Several theater managers in such cities as Boston and San Diego said that the rumors were just that - rumors.
"If there had been trouble how could we have kept it on?" he asks, adding that there could have some minor protests in a few places. "But the movie is undoubtedly out there." About 15 prints will play in the third week, he continues. Then the film will go to smaller cities in such states as Arizona and Tennessee where the South Asians are in much smaller numbers than in New York and California. The movie could gross about $ 500,000, making it one of the bigger hits of the season, far out-performing bigger films such as Lal Badshah starring Amitabh Bachchan.
"This film's experience is not like that of Border," Naz says. Director J P Dutta's much-acclaimed film led to huge protests by Pakistanis in United Kingdom and sporadic protests in the United States.
But in most cases in America the film continued to be shown, and became one of the bigger hits of last year.
Sarfarosh is being shown in New York area in more than three theaters, including the Eagle situated right in the heart of Jackson Heights, where the Pakistani, Indian and Bangladeshi communities co-mingle. The movie drew near-capacity audiences at the Eagle on the two weekends.
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