Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Theatres likely to close down

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

Bangalore: Will the seven weeks delay in release of other language films — upheld by the Karnataka government’s film panel — spell doom for Hindi movies in the state?

It is not just alarmists who are asking this question. Even Karnataka Film Exhibitors Federation chairman and member of the government panel R.P. Odugoudar told The Times of India: “Hindi films will not get released at all in the state.’’

Here are the facts:
With extensive piracy, particularly in Hindi, a film hardly hits the screen before it comes on the video market; so a seven-week delay will kill the market.

Due to the delay, only ‘hit’ Hindi films — which are hardly a handful — will come to Karnataka, leading to a drastic shortage of supply for theatres that screen only Hindi. Result: Theatres will close down. Each distributor pays about Rs 15 lakh to Rs 20 lakh for the rights of a Hindi film; if the audience is reduced to a trickle, they won’t shell out this amount even for a hit Hindi film as returns will not be viable. So: No Hindi films will be screened in Karnataka.

As a language film distributor put it: “Why should we do business in this state with this kind of restrictions and such high taxes? We can always go elsewhere, we don’t lose anything.’’ The situation is not just grim, but desperate for other language exhibitors and distributors. The problem is not just small theatres, but also the big, well-established ones. “Kannada films are not running, because the quality is bad. Two movies that were released last Friday have been taken off within a day, as the collection was that bad. If you don’t permit other language films, what are we supposed to screen?’’ an anxious exhibitor asked.

As per industry statistics, there are 320 ‘A’ grade theatres in the state — 160 in Bangalore alone — which need to be given new releases every week. The Kannada industry produces about 100 films in a year, most of which run for a week, around 10-20 run for six weeks and hardly one or two for 100 days. With most new films themselves going through bad runs in theatres, there is no scope for re-runs, exhibitors said. There are no takers even for hit films like Kabhi Kushi Kabhi Gham or Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, because they have already been screened on TV.

So, the situation is do or die for exhibitors. They are examining just two options: is it smarter to shut down the theatres and do some other business, or can they go for a legal option and seek survival? A top exhibitor pointed out: “They are violating my fundamental right to run run my business through this kind of limits, imposed by fear psychosis and goodaism. They are also violating the fundamental right of the fans to see the movies along with the rest of the country.”


At Thursday, August 26, 2004 at 9:05:00 PM GMT+5:30, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Non kannada movies to be delayed in Karnataka??!!
This is stupidity. This is sad. This is frustrating. What to do when kannada movies do not run? Stop all other movies from running. Great! I'm a kannadiga and I do not watch many kannada movies. How can anyone when the quality is bad? Is karnataka a part of India? Else, how can they stop Hindi (which is the national language) movies from running in Karnataka (well, delayed is as good as stopped).


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