If you think Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement has only hit work and college, peep into your favourite cinema hall. Most probably, it’s empty. Recreational activities, especially movie-watching, have suffered a major setback due to the mass campaign, which is bringing down cinema occupancy to a mere 10-15%.
“Since Tuesday, the occupancy has come down to 10-20%, both in single screens and multiplexes. This week too, we are not expecting much, as Anna is still burning hot,” says Joginder Mahajan, a leading Delhi-based distributor. Mahajan also says that Prakash Jha’s Aarakshan, which released amid much controversy last week, has also suffered due to the campaign. “The film may suffer more losses in the coming week.”
Yogesh Raizada of Wave Cinemas says, “Anna Hazare has become more important than entertainment. Our occupancy has fallen, and it may fall more, leaving footfall to only 15-20% in the coming week.” Punit Sahaya of Spice Cinemas reports a similar trend: “The occupancy has dipped by over 20% due to the movement. We are concerned it will continue over this weekend, too.”
The movies that opened on Friday include Not a Love Story, Chatur Singh Two Star, Sahi Dhande Galat Bande, Bad Teacher and Spy Kids: All the Time in the World. Avinaash Jumani of PictureWorks, which is bringing Spy Kids to India, says, “We have our fingers crossed. Do we have a choice?”
Twist in the tale
Filmmaker Ishraq Shah, who is making a film on social activist Anna Hazare — Ek Bura Aadmi starring Raghubir Yadav — has decided to rescript his film. In the first version of the script, Yadav’s character dies in the climax, but after the tremendous support that the campaign has garnered in real life, Shah wants to change the plot according to the developments in the campaign.