The state government, cinema owners and Marathi film producers will have to sit together and solve the controversy over compulsory exhibition of Marathi films in theatres.
The Bombay High Court directed the principal secretary (home), secretary (culture), commissioner of police and two representatives each from the Cinema Owners’ and Exhibitors’ Association, and Marathi Film Producers’ Association to sort out the controversy over compulsory exhibition of Marathi films in a week.
In December 2008, the Cinema Owners’ and Exhibitors’ Association challenging a 40-year-old government rule mandating theatres to screen Marathi films for at least four weeks in a year.
The circular issued in 1968 was implemented only in 2007 “under pressure from the Marathi film producers’ lobby”, said the petition.
The petitioners’ counsel Virag Tulzapurkar argued they were ready to screen 28 Marathi film shows a year. “Four weeks in a year is unfeasible. It adds up to 112 shows a year. Theatres like Eros and Regal run empty,” said Tulzapurkar.
Government pleader D. Nalavade said only 20 of the 178 theatre owners had a problem screening Marathi films. Show cause notices were given to 70 owners for not complying with the circular. “They have given an undertaking they will exhibit Marathi films,” said Nalavade.
The court has asked Nalavade to bring statistics of the number of Marathi movies produced and exhibited last year. The government has to show how viable it is to exhibit Marathi films.