Indian film scores first 'Goal' in Pakistan


NEW DELHI -- An Indian film will be released officially Friday in Pakistan, a first for two countries that have banned each other's films for over three decades.

Mumbai-based UTV Motion Pictures' football drama "Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal," starring top actor John Abraham and directed by Vivek Agnihotri, received clearance from the Pakistan Censor Board, making it the first Indian film to get a day-and-date release in that country. The film opens with 12 prints in seven cities including Karachi and Lahore. The film premiered in Dubai Wednesday.

"We got the permission because 'Goal' is technically a U.K. production which was funded via a specially set up London-based banner, Aim Films. The Pakistan distribution deal with Lahore-based Eveready Pictures was worked out via our Dubai-based distributor Al Mansoor Films. Expectedly, there is a lot of excitement in Pakistan given the huge popularity of Bollywood stars there," UTVMP chief operating officer Siddharth Roy Kapur said in an interview.

Kapur added that "Goal" has been released with 450 prints in India, with 130 overseas.

"Goal," produced for 160 million rupees ($4 million), is set in London's Southall-based Asian community. The film reflects the current trend of sports films, which recently saw a hit in YashRaj Films' hockey drama "Chak De India" (Buck Up India) featuring superstar Shah Rukh Khan.