Even as some cinema owners and film professionals criticised the Maharashtra government’s fresh order for multiplexes to ensure the screening of at least one Marathi film in their prime time slots, many Maharashtrians have welcomed the move. There was certainly a need for such a slot for local films, many said.
Mugdha Abhijeet Risbud, 40, who teaches at KJ Somaiya College of Science and Commerce, Vidyavihar, said she can finally watch a Marathi film with her family after work. “I never miss out on successful Marathi films, but the timings were always a problem,” she said. “In this cosmopolitan city, we Maharashtrians are taken for granted. I am very happy about this rule,” she said.
Risbud’s sentiment was echoed by Thane resident Shubhangi Deshpande, who rued that whenever her family went to a multiplex in the evening, the members were forced to watch Hindi films, even if they wanted a Marathi one.
Marathi author and Sahitya Akademi awardee Laxman Gaikwad, while expressing relief over the rule, wondered if it was acceptable for the government to force multiplex owners to run losses, in the event that such shows get a dismal response. This concern was rejected by another Sahitya Akademi winner and Marathi playwright, Jayant Pawar. “It is not a lack of response that makes multiplexes relegate Marathi films to morning slots, but a derogatory mentality towards them. Not all big Hindi films go house-full. Multiplexes have shied away from even giving Marathi films an opportunity,” said Pawar.
Criticising a tweet by columnist Shobhaa De that vada pav should now replace popcorn to go well with Marathi films, Pawar said, “Is vada pav any less than popcorn? It’s all about an inferior image our industry people have for anything regional.”
Mechanical engineer Vedant Veralkar, 21, felt the move was inviting unnecessary ire, as people still have the option of watching other movies at prime time. Suresh Argade, an accountant, said, “The family was forced to travel to a single screen only to watch Marathi movies. Now, we can just go the nearest multiplex.”
I do not go to office, so timings were never a problem for me. But I still think it is the right move by the government, because Marathi films will get more visibility and hold a better chance of commercial success.
~Veena Narayanan, student of Kelkar College
I could seldom watch Marathi movies at the multiplex because of the odd timings. I will now get the chance to do so.
~Shubham Shetye, a mass media student