LAHORE: After three months of remaining closed, the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) Cinema finally screened its first show (Bollywood’s Ra-One) under new management, the housing authority itself.
DHA Lahore public relations officer Tajammul Hussain told The Express Tribune that the cinema had officially reopened since January 20 (it had been closed since October 27, 2011). Hussain added that the cinema was being run by the DHA. “Since the reopening, we have directly undertaken the cinema management.”
Lahore University of Management Sciences student Maryam Ahmed said she was looking forward to the cinema being open as it was close to the campus. “PAF and Cinestar are good cinemas but getting there is a hassle.”
However, not everyone is as delighted as Ahmed at the reopening. The former management of the cinema, Mandviwalla Entertainment termed the reopening of the cinema under the new management as ‘sad and disturbing’.
Mandviwalla Entertainment managing director Nadeem Mandviwalla told The Express Tribune that the DHA had ‘blatantly ignored’ the directions of the district court. Mandivwalla said films being shown were “exhibited by the DHA, without the permission of the film distributors as the prints had given by the distributors to Mandviwalla Entertainment.” Mandviwalla said this was a violation of business ethics.
The Express Tribune has learnt that as late as January 23, the DHA management had failed to hand over the prints of five films for which distributors had given exhibition rights to Mandviwalla Entertainment (under an agreement with them as management authority and partner of DHA cinema).
Through official emails sent on January 20 and January 21 to the DHA management, the distributors had demanded the return of their (film) prints. The distributors had also expressed their disappointment, in an email, regarding the unauthorised screening of one of the films by the DHA at the cinema on January 20.
The film distributors had also demanded a ‘written confirmation’ from the DHA as evidence of settlement of all legal issues between the DHA and Mandviwalla Entertainment prior to the running of any of the films.
Answering a question regarding settlement of legal issues between DHA and Mandviwalla Entertainment, Additional Director (Facilities) DHA, Col Syed Faris Ali said it was a matter pertaining to the DHA adding “there is no need for anyone to go into that issue.”
Col Ali said the DHA cinema was being run successfully by the DHA management, “the cinema was, is and will always remain a DHA property,” he added.
Hoping to introduce 3D technology at the cinema, Col Ali said an announcement would be made in the coming days. He said the prices for 3D tickets will be announced once the 3D facility becomes operational at the cinema. He added, “Let’s focus for now on what is currently being offered to the people by the DHA.”
The DHA cinema website, run by Mandviwalla Entertainment, displays a copy of the latest civil court order.
Col Ali called the website a ‘fake’ saying it did not represent the DHA or the DHA cinema. “We will very soon launch our own website for show schedules and other information regarding the cinema.”
A police offier speaking to The Express Tribune on the condition of anonymity said currently there was no specific security threat in the area. He was responding to a question regarding the cinema being previously closed down due to security concerns.