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Prime time for Marathi Cinema: But where's the audience?

August 28, 2010 04:30:46 PM IST
Enkayaar, Bollywood Trade News Network
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Though politics has become entangled in the issue, the multiplexes are finding that even when they are allocating prime time for Marathi cinema, the Marathi patrons are not warming up to this proposition as was evident from the empty cinema halls across various multiplexes in Mumbai. Even the High Court of Mumbai did not cognizance of the petition filed by the parties who derive their identity from "supposedly espousing" the cause of Marathi cinema.

It indeed is becoming a Catch-22 situation for the multiplex owners. They are in the business of money making and would not like to run empty cinema halls. Though off-late some good Marathi films including HAPUS, JHING CHIK JHING etc., have hit the cinema halls, the celebrity quotient is what is lacking in the Marathi cinema and it is a stumbling block in bringing the audience into the cinema halls.

The problem becomes perspective, if one were to analyze it in context of other regional cinema world in the country, be it Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, Malyali or for that matter Bengali films. All these kinds of regional cinema have big stars that have the potential to bring the audience to the cinema hall, and it is woefully lacking in case of Marathi films. Another problem that the Marathi films are besotted with is that as the films are made in Mumbai, the actors try to find their moorings in Hindi cinema, instead of concentrating in Marathi cinema, outreach and exposure being the primary consideration; the stars are not evolving in Marathi cinema. Besides, even the starlets are not agreeable to work in Marathi cinema though they may be doing inconsequential roles down South, as the money is too good to ignore. Even celebrity actors like Shayaji Rao Shinde are now an integral part of South Indian films, and he is seldom seen in Marathi films these days.

Another aspect that has to be tried out is about the show timing, may be instead of giving a 12 noon show, the multiplex owners could try for say a six p.m. show to test out the reaction of the audience. It is one issue that is politically sensitive and it has economic stumbling block as well. The target audience of Marathi cinema is vast rural base which has its own sensibility and the same is not probably acceptable in the metropolitan sectors. The producer and director of a Marathi film make the film for the vast rural populace that is not distributed in large numbers across different parts of Mumbai. When one contrasts the situation with Bhojpuri cinema the aspect becomes clearer. The audience does not have numbers for Marathi cinema, at least in Mumbai.

The way out or the solution still is lost in the Byzantine maze.

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