Marathi films feeling the coronavirus fever
With 20 movies including AB Ani CD lined up for release, regional cinema hit by lockdown; to clash with Bollywood biggies when theatres re-open.
If Bollywood has been hit hard by the shutdown of theatres from March 14 and the subsequent lockdown, its Marathi counterpart has met harsher fate. While AB Ani CD — featuring Amitabh Bachchan in a special appearance — was one of the three releases that opened just for a day over the March 13 weekend, almost 20 Marathi movies were slated to release between April and June. Trade analysts believe the industry will suffer huge losses if the cloud of uncertainty doesn't disappear by June.
Vijeta is among the movies eyeing a re-release
AB Ani CD producer Akshay Bardapurkar intends to release his project again if theatres re-open, as per plan, on April 14. "Amazon Prime, which owns the film's digital rights, asked me to release it now on their platform. But we refused as we want the film to get a theatrical release. We can pursue a theatrical release till May 6; post which it will drop on Amazon Prime."
Bardapurkar warns that whenever the cinemas re-open, a battle for screen space will ensue. AB Ani CD, Vijeta and Ibhrat that are eyeing a re-release will jostle for space alongside new Marathi offerings. "These movies will also face competition from Bollywood films that are waiting in the wings. So, they may get comparatively lesser screens. Marathi cinema may incur losses to the tune of Rs 100 crore."
Ibhrat is among the movies eyeing a re-release
Trade analyst Taran Adarsh agrees that Hindi cinema's poorer cousin may have a tough road ahead. "Even if Bollywood filmmakers try to work on the dates [for the backlog of releases], how will they fit in regional movies? In Maharashtra, a Hindi film will get preference over a Marathi one."
However, all is not lost for regional films, argues trade watcher Atul Mohan. "Thanks to government support, each theatre has to allot a specific number of shows to them."
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