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Face-off: Who is to blame?

Enkayaar, Bollywood Trade News Network
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The ongoing tussle between the producers and the multiplex owners is becoming contagious. It started from Mumbai, the Mecca of the Hindi films distribution and the centre that contributes the biggest revenue, and has now taken in its ambit the Telugu films and there are reports that even the producers in the Tamil film industry may join the party. In the tough times, it seems that the film industry is also taking positions to cut down the losses and maximize the returns. As a result of this face-off, a scenario might emerge where from the first week of April no film may be released in the multiplexes.

But the multiplexes would have a cushion in the form of the IPL matches that would start in April itself, and they would not be much worried as they are already into advance stage of negotiations to clinch a deal with the IPL authorities. If the impasse is not broken, then the producers might be left high and dry in this scenario, as it is the peak season for film viewing. India after all is a country where cricket and film viewing govern day-to-day life in an intricate manner, or so to say the average life is woven around these two. The cause of discontent is revenue sharing. It could be a valid cause, however there is a different aspect to it as well, it is the quality of content that is being offered, and which forces the multiplex authorities to drop the screening of the films from the third day after its releases. They have the real feel of the footfalls, and they would not be able to run the film to empty halls, for the sake of revenue to the producers.

Having said that, the ticket prices that have been hiked by the multiplex owners is also a contributory factor for the decrease in the footfall, as one movie outing on an average takes a hit of more than 1000 rupees, which the average movie goer is very reluctant to spend for a film on week on basis. It is also a matter of dispute whether the items of food that are charged by the multiplex owners to maximize the revenue is a cause for drop in footfall as well.

One thing is for sure the producers also would have to do an introspection of the quality of the content that is being offered. Efforts also need to be made to cut down the cost of film making and it may include entering into a dialogue with the lead actors and request them to lower their rates. The yeomen contribution of the multiplexes has been that they have facilitated the new breed of film makers find a place for themselves in the sun, and have been the catalytic factor for emergence of new wave of cinema. If the standoff continues, it may harm the interests of the new breed of filmmakers, as also the new breed of moviegoers who have come up in a short span of time of last four-five years. So it is better both for the industry and the multiplex owners to resolve the stand-off at the earliest.

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