Thousands flock to Bangladesh cinemas to see first Bollywood film to get full release in 50 years

A Bangladeshi security guard stands next to  posters of the Indian Hindi-language movie 'Pathaan'  (EPA)
A Bangladeshi security guard stands next to posters of the Indian Hindi-language movie 'Pathaan' (EPA)

Thousands of people flocked to cinemas in Bangladesh to watch Shah Rukh Khan’s Pathaan – the first Hindi film to be released in the country in more than 50 years.

Dhaka had previously imposed a ban on foreign films in 1971 following its independence in order to protect the local entertainment industry. However, this year the Sheikh Hasina government decided to allow the commercial screening of up to 10 imported films.

The star-studded, action-packed spy thriller was released in 48 theatres, which will run nearly 200 shows per day.

Despite being available on OTT platforms, all the shows for the first two days were sold out in advance of the release, local distributor Action-Cut Entertainment said.

The film directed by Siddharth Anand also stars other top Bollywood actors such as Deepika Padukone, Salman Khan and John Abraham.

Pathaan was released on 25 January in India and two months later declared the highest-grossing Hindi film in the country. It was released in more than 100 countries and has sold over half a million tickets in advance bookings for its opening day.

Ahead of the film’s release, Yash Raj Films’s Nelson D’Souza, said: “Cinema has always been a unifying force between nations, races, and cultures.”

“It transcends borders, galvanises people and plays a significant hand in bringing people together. We are incredibly thrilled that Pathaan, which has done historic business worldwide, will now get a chance to entertain audiences in Bangladesh.”

Sazzad Hossain, 18, said he was “excited” to watch a Hindi film in Bangladesh cinema for the first time. “We are all Shah Rukh Khan fans. For the first time, I’ll watch Shah Rukh Khan on a giant screen.”

Cinemagoers were seen dancing in front of the big screen to the catchy tunes of the film's popular songs.

Other videos on social media showed people in Bangladesh garlanding human-size cut-outs of Shah Rukh Khan.

Bangladesh previously relaxed its laws and allowed the screening of Salman Khan's 2009 film Wanted, which was met with protests by a local cinema organisation and the film wasn’t screened.

After Pathaan, viewers will get to watch Salman Khan’s Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan, distributor Ananya Mamun told India Today.