Movie aficionados have reason to cheer as some multiplexes will screen pre-scheduled small-budget Bollywood films despite a strike by producers and distributors beginning Saturday over a revenue-sharing tiff.
"There was already no such big-budget content scheduled during this time (April and May) due to IPL (Indian Premier League) like last year and not due to the strike, as they (producers-distributors) are calling it. Otherwise every week there is a Bollywood release. It's just that these are small budget movies and were not announced," Utpal Acharya, vice-president (programming and distribution) at Inox Leisure, told IANS by phone from Mumbai.
"Moreover, Hollywood is supplying content, and even movies that released today (April 3) are doing very well and we are expecting footfalls for sure. And so far as the bad occupancy is concerned, we are also planning to stream IPL matches live," he added.
An industry source from Mumbai also revealed that producers of some movies have themselves approached multiplexes to exhibit their content for a better play during this period.
Some of the movies slated to release between April 10-May 29 are Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas, Dasavathaaram, Aashayen, 99, Sanjay Gupta's next, Detective Nani, Sikandar and Kambakht Ishq to name a few.
PVR Cinemas too did not rule out screening films if given the opportunity.
"Any movie that is commercially viable PVR will be screening it if given an opportunity. '8X10 Tasveer' has released across all PVR centres today. The movies that have released oday are doing really well," said a PVR official.
Other multiplexes are also considering streaming world and old cinema as an alternative.
A source from BIG cinemas said they would be showing films like Dasavathaaram, Monsters Vs Aliens, 99 and New York among others in this period.
But keeping their word, the producers and distributors say the strike is very much on Saturday onwards.
Said Joginder Mahajan, a Delhi-based distributor: "There won't be any new release in any multiplex across the country tomorrow (Saturday) onwards. All our demands have fallen on deaf ears and even we are not ready to give up to this stubbornness of the exhibitors at the cost of our profit share. May be this will teach them a lesson."
"Our cause is to fight for justice and not for profits so nobody (distributors) will supply any movie to any national multiplex from April 3, 2009. Movies can be supplied to only single screens and independent multiplexes who have supported us and stood by us," added a release from UTV motion pictures, which also has its own distribution arm.