Strike ke side effects

It’s been exactly a month. Shravan Shroff of Fame Cinemas tells you why you haven’t seen a new movie in multiplexes.

entertainment Updated: May 12, 2009 19:39 IST

The strike started on April 10 and it’s been on for more than a month now. I’m of the belief that it was not the right way — both the parties should have sat across the table and settled the matter — it’s my personal view that a strike is the last resolve.

I agree that they had given an ultimatum but it doesn’t work this way. To think of it, it was a wise decision on their part as IPL was to start and going by how the movies fared during last year’s IPL, they decided to go ahead with the strike.

Now since the IPL is coming to an end, they’re going ahead with the release of Vashu Bhagnani’s Kal Kisne Dekha and other movies in singleplexes. Why didn’t they do the same from April 10? Why wait for a month? The answer is crystal clear — they were waiting for the IPL to get over.

Same same
I agree that both parties are suffering huge losses, but we’re yet to calculate the volume of it. During the last IPL season, the multiplexes all across registered collections between 20 and 23 per cent, while this year saw a considerable drop.. between 10 and 15 per cent.

As per our initial meetings, both the parties mutually agreed that neither of us would go and speak to media. And that we would try and settle the matters with talks first, without involving the media. But in a contravention to the discussion, they went ahead and spoke to the media. Although we kept quiet about it earlier, we later chose to give our side of story.

I don’t think they were trying to scare us by bringing in Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan for their major conference. Maybe they wanted to lure the media by adding star value. Fair enough. Nothing wrong with that, but if they think we’ll agree to their terms and conditions just because they’ve got the stars, then they’re wrong.

Now that they’ve decided to go ahead with releasing films in singleplexes, we too have opted to join hands to buy movies and release it in our respective multiplexes. Hollywood distributors, with the exception of 20th Century Fox, are going ahead with their releases. Recently, Paramount released Monsters vs Aliens.. and it has done very well.

April 30 was Election Day, one can call it almost a holiday. Next was Maharashtra Day, which was again a holiday, followed by Saturday and Sunday. It was a dream weekend.. the best opportunity for any filmmaker to release his film. But due to the producers-distributors’ decision, we lost out on such a long weekend. It was a loss for them as well as for us.

No one can say
It’s difficult to say what is going on.. and only God can predict that. Both the parties need to look at it objectively.. and keep themselves in each other’s shoes. Our point is very clear, we will share the money as per the performance of the movies.

Does this filmmaker pay the same amount to other actors as they pay to Shah Rukh Khan or Aamir Khan? Do they pay the same amount to branded stuff and non-branded stuff? Why should we think of equality when it comes to big films or small films? We don’t understand their logic at all.

According to them, Hollywood has the same profit sharing system which is not true. Abroad they have super hit sharing.. if the business is more, the share for filmmakers goes higher. No one knew that Jaane Tu Yaa Jaane Na would become a super success story. Same applies with Chandni Chowk To China.. no one expected the film to bomb so badly. No one can predict a film’s fate at the ticket counter so why jump to a ratio? Let the film speak for itself.

Not done
I personally feel that both the parties have disappointed the audiences. Consumers are being made to suffer. It took us long to get the audiences back to theatres. Due to the bad quality and service of the theatres, they were shying away from coming in. It took us eight to nine years to work on it.. give them better amenities, but its terrible that now we’re making them suffer for not supplying them the entertainment.

Apart from the audiences.. we are even making the daily-wagers suffer. Jobs of samosawallahs and suppliers of other edibles are at stake.. even the cleaners who work on daily wages.

In the end, I would like to say that we’re very clear in our minds. It is also a fact that no one is going to come to empty theatres. Both parties should realise it.. the sooner the better. I’m hopeful and optimistic that we will come to a conclusion sooner. And as they say, the show will go on..

(As told to Vajir Singh)

First Published: May 12, 2009 19:37 IST