Promoting Marathi films is our responsibility, says president of multiplex owners association

Apr 10, 2015, 07:07 IST | Dharmendra Jore

Multiplex owners have agreed to screen Marathi films between noon and 9 pm, with top priority going to the 6-9 pm slot; film producers shall have the freedom to choose the slots within this window

Following the state government’s diktat, multiplex owners have agreed to screen Marathi movies between noon and 9 pm. The top priority will be a slot between 6 pm and 9 pm, but the film producers have been given freedom to demand slots in the prescribed prime time.

Shiv Sena workers protested outside author Shobhaa De’s house, offering her vada pav and dahi misal after De mockingly said the dishes would replace popcorn in multiplexes. Pics/Satyajit Desai
Shiv Sena workers protested outside author Shobhaa De’s house, offering her vada pav and dahi misal after De mockingly said the dishes would replace popcorn in multiplexes. Pics/Satyajit Desai

Cultural Affairs Minister Vinod Tawde, who had announced the decision of making prime-time screening compulsory on Tuesday, had a meeting with representatives of Marathi film industry and multiplexes. He said, after the meeting, that the owners did not have any problem with the compulsion.

He said the multiplexes were given many concessions like more FSI and tax waiver by the government in a policy released in 2001, and, hence, the government expected them to reciprocate by supporting Marathi films.

Deepak Ashar, president, Multiplex Owners Association of India, told the media after the meeting that the owners were never opposed to screening of Marathi movies. “Marathi movies do not affect our business. To promote Marathi movies is our responsibility,” he said.

How it will work
Choosing a slot has been left to the discretion of the film’s producers, if they feel the subject warranted a slot other than the evening one. “Producers told us that the movies popular among youth ran better in afternoon slots. Family dramas get packed shows in the 6-9 pm slot,” said Tawde.

Screening of Marathi films before 12 noon and after 11 pm will not be allowed, and should they still get screened, they will not be counted in the mandatory 124 shows per year, said the minister. “The compulsion to screen 124 shows per year was already there. But since Marathi movies were denied prime time slots, they could not reach the masses.

However, the multiplex owners, too, have realised that quality of Marathi movies has improved tremendously over the past five years, and they, too, are enthusiastic to support the industry,” said Tawde after the meeting. Should there be a clash in choosing the screening slot, a dispute redressal committee of four members, which has two representatives each of Marathi producers and multiplex owners, will address the matter.

Vada pav, dahi misal for Shobhaa De
Reacting to writer Shobhaa De’s mocking tweets that vada pav and dahi misal would be served in multiplexes after screening of Marathi films was made mandatory, Shiv Sena workers landed outside the author’s house in Cuffe Parade yesterday, with trays full of the delicacies.

The protesters claimed De’s comments amounted to an insult to Marathi culture. “This is an insult of Marathi cultureand we will give her a taste of vada pav and dahi misal by this evening. When you are so irked with Marathi cinema and culture, then why are you living here?” said senior Sena leader Sanjay Raut, adding, “You are staying in Maharashtra, calling yourself a Maharashtrian and then speaking against Marathi films.

I feel such people have no right to call themselves Maharashtrian...” Sena mouthpiece Saamana had also spewed vitriol against the writer. De, who received police protection, remained unfazed and said, “I am not worried. I am very confident. And whatever is said ... we will see.” Shiv Sena’s Pratap Sarnaik moved a breach of privilege motion in the legislature against De on Wednesday.

Cultural affairs minister Vinod Tawde, however, told the media yesterday that the author enjoyed freedom of expression. He said he had suggested to Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik to not file the motion against the socialite on Wednesday. “But then, Sarnaik too enjoys freedom of expression...” he added.

Mandatory number of shows per year that multiplexes are required to have for Marathi films

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