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Maharashtra relaxes compulsory time-slots for Marathi movies

In a climbdown, the Maharashtra government on Friday relaxed norms for compulsory screening of Marathi movies in multiplexes, which can now show them in a time slot between 12 noon to 9pm, instead of the earlier stipulation of 6pm to 9pm.

india Updated: Apr 09, 2015 22:41 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Marathi movies,Maharashtra multiplexes,Cultural Affairs Minister Vinod Tawde

The state government on Thursday worked out a solution to end the row over multiplexes having to screen Marathi films during prime time. In a meeting convened by cultural affairs minister Vinod Tawde, multiplex owners and Marathi film producers agreed on the 12pm to 9pm slot as prime time for screening Marathi films. The show timings will be decided depending on the film’s genre and the producers will have a say in the matter.

HT had on Thursday reported about the state government’s decision to resolve the issue after arriving at a consensus.

Tawde said that the solution was accepted by multiplex owners, exhibitors and film producers unanimously. “Although the prime time defined by the government is between 12pm to 9pm, the discretion of deciding the time slot will be with the producer. The show timings will be decided amicably by the exhibitor and the producer. We have also decided to appoint a four-member committee, which will act as a tribunal. The committee will have two members each from both sides,” the minister said. Tawde said in case of a dispute over show timings and non-resolution by the committee, the government will intervene.

The state had earlier announced that the screening of Marathi films will have to be held after 6pm, but it changed its stand after multiplex owners met Tawde on Wednesday and pointed out that the audience for Marathi films changes depending on the film’s genre and so the preferred timings also vary accordingly.

Even the Marathi film producers, represented at Thursday’s meeting by the Akhil Bhartiya Marathi Chitrapat Mahamandal, informed the minister that they, too, did not want their shows to be screened in the 6pm to 9pm slots. “Films such as Duniyadari, which was mostly watched by college students, will prefer the matinee shows. The movies eyeing women audience will prefer the 3pm show,” said Tawde, adding that shows not screened between 12pm and 9pm won’t be counted in the 124 shows of Marathi films that every multiplex has to compulsorily have every year.

Multiplexowners Association of India (MAI), however, claimed that multiplexes could not be forced to conduct the screening, if the statutory binding of 124 shows was compiled by them. “The four-member committee is expected to resolve the dispute. We have been following fairly even distribution of the shows for Marathi films and even in future, in case of insistence for any particular show, it will be complied with based on availability,” said Deepak Asher, president MAI and head of the INOX chain of multiplexes. MAI also presented the collection figures of Marathi films and details of shows held at the multiplexes.

Asher said multiplexes were never against Marathi films, and on the contrary, many have screened more than 1,000 Marathi film shows a year. “At INOX, average Marathi film shows has been 830, which is seven times more than what the statutorily binding. We, in fact, screen Marathi films in other states such as Goa, Karnataka, as they do good business outside the state as well,” he said.

When asked about violations of other conditions of the Multiplex Policy of 2001, Tawde said the government will look into it at the later stage. There are more than 150 multiplexes, with screens ranging between 3 and 7. Of them, 52 multiplexes come up under Multiplex Policy of 2001, which offers tax holidays and additional floor space index (FSI).

First Published: Apr 09, 2015 21:47 IST