After pulling all the strings to stand by their two-month strike against the multiplexes’ profit-sharing model, the United Producers and Distributors Forum has pulled out its ace card.
No Hindi film will release this Friday. Moreover, after two weeks, the Forum plans to withdraw all films that are running in multiplexes.
“After April 24, we are going to withdraw the older content also, like Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi and Ghajini. We wanted to give each film five to six weeks’ time, before we withdraw it completely,” Priti Shahani, senior vice-president, Indian Films Company.
The strike is the first-of-its-kind in the history of the Hindi film industry since the first multiplex was set up in 1997.
The Multiplex Association has not yet contacted the United Producers/Distributors Forum after Tuesday’s conference where the two of the industry’s most powerful stars, Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan, were roped in to stand by the demand for 50 per cent profit sharing against the multiplexes’ performance-based sharing.
But for those who just have to watch a film first day, first show, there are Ek Se Bure Do and Pal Pal Dil Ke Ssaath, that do not promise to provide much respite, apart from the scheduled English film releases.
“Pal Pal… is a Shringar film owned by Fame and Ek Se... is being released as a special case after due permissions as it might not see a mainstream release otherwise,” said Shahani.
But those who swear by multiplexes are upset.
“Multiplexes are the only places that have late night shows at 10.45 and 11.15, people in our profession find it very difficult to find appropriate timings,” said Neha Bist, a television producer.
Single-screen theatres too have been dragged into the crisis with no producers willing to release films in only single halls after the failure of Aa Dekhen Zara.
“It saddens me to see this day, but nothing is for ever, we are making a humble request and everyone is putting a lot at stake. If nothing works out, we will revive single-screen theatres, and bring movies out in those ones again,” said Forum spokesperson and producer Mukesh Bhatt.
The multiplex association was unavailable for comment.
“Looks like it is going to be a dry week ahead, which kicks off with a holiday on top of that,” said an idle Gaiety counter ticket seller, on condition of anonymity.