Hindi films are often dubbed and simultaneously released in regional languages. However, when it came to doing the same for Yash Raj Films’ latest release, Gunday, things weren’t smooth. The production house was all set to release the Bengali version of the Ali Abbas Zafar directorial on February 14. However, this move was not whole-heartedly welcomed in the region.
Reportedly, personalities from the Bengali film industry including Jeet, Dev, Parambrata Chattopadhyay, June, Payel Sarkar, Haranath Chakraborty, Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury and Srijit Mukherji — got together for two hours at the Bharat Lakshmi Studio to protest against the “disaster”. They were joined by Raj Chakraborty, Mahendra Soni, Shrikant Mohta, Ashok Dhanuka, Nispal Singh, Sudeshna Roy and several technicians.
Local distributor Arun Mehra, who distributed Krrish 3 (2013) and Chennai Express (2013) in the region, explains that the local industry is protesting because they feel that the release of dubbed films would narrow down the prospects of their own films. “It would occupy most of the theatres and Bengali films won’t get as big a release as they were enjoying so far,” says Mehra.
However, Mehra further reveals that exhibitors are welcoming this trend. Big Bengali films don’t last for 18 weeks in the theatre whereas Hindi films run for 52 weeks. “When we were releasing Krrish 3 or Chennai Express there, exhibitors asked us if we could release them in Bengali. Also, Gunday is based in Bengal. So it will have a better connect,” he says.
When contacted, Rafiq Gangjee, official spokesperson of YRF says, “Gunday is a story that resonates with the time and ethos of an era which Bengal went through. We believe that this story needed to be told. We plan to release it in Bengal and we do hope that people will appreciate the film and understand our motive for doing so. The release of the Bengali version will only help to grow the local market and not stifle it.”