Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Karnataka slips into the dark ages

No film story this; 7-week delay set to doom theatres

Linguistic Chauvinism, Parochialism And Protectionism touched a new high today with the Government appointed committee recommending a delayed release of all non-Kannada language films till after 7 weeks after their first release elsewhere in the country, a limit of only 6 prints per non-Kannada movie and an increase in the entertainment tax for such movies from 40% to 70%. Before they achieve financial bankruptcy the Kannada film industry has achieved mental bankruptcy. Why would any person in his right mind think these moves would get people to watch Kannada movies? If anything, it will push up piracy and television viewership.

It points to the total bankruptcy of ideas in the industry that no one is even considering the possibility of making movies that appeal to the cinegoer. 70% of Kannada movies released this year have been remakes of other language films! Whenever an attempt has been made to produce good (but still mainstream) cinema, the crowds have never failed to patronize it. In the last 3-4 years, take the case of movies like America America, Amruthavarshini, Namoora Mandara Hoove, Janumada Jodi and some more. The solution being offered in no way addresses the problem at hand. When was the last time negative tactics helped any business survive?

I will be surprised if someone doesn't move the courts over this move. But I won't be surprised if some "valiant saviours of Kannada" (read lumpen elements) decide to vandalize theatres that screen non-Kannada movies.

Three months down the lane, if there is even the slightest increase in the theatrical revenues of Kannada films, I will concede this move made sense.


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