As the stand-off between multiplexes and the producer-distributor combine continues with no sign of being resolved, it’s movie-goers who’re left in the lurch. All they have now are a clutch of weak, small-budget Hindi films — and they’re clearly not interested, going by the abysmal collections of three to five per cent this month in multiplexes and single screens showing Hindi films across India.
Indeed, the only ones smiling are a bunch of small producers who have moved in while the biggies are held at bay. Many of them have wiped the dust off films waiting on the sidelines for ages, while others have gone in for a hasty release.
Some multiplexes are showing regional films like Mahesh Manjrekar’s Marathi hit Mee Shivajiraje Bhosale Boltoy, while Fame Cinemas is playing the Sindhi Vaisara Ee Gum, after its success in Nagpur and Raipur. Fun Republic, in association with NDTV, is screening a set of 45 award-winning international films in Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai in the next three months.
Besides, some producers are planning to re-release their films, following Ghajini. UTV, too, recently announced a “movie mela to support single screens” in which it will re-release some of its recent hits.
That strategy will not work for a new big-budget extravaganza, points out trade consultant Amod Mehra, since the three to four shows a single-screen offers at lower ticket rates are not sufficient to recover costs. Multiplexes, which can squeeze in 18 to 20 shows at two to three times single-screen rates, now account for over 50 per cent of collections.
Mukesh Bhatt, spokesperson of the United Producers and Distributors Forum, says that after the “very positive” round of negotiations on April 29, things are looking up. “I may be able to share some good news by Wednesday.” Movie-goers can keep their fingers crossed.
(With inputs from Malvika Nanda)