Talking Point: Small Film, Big Issue?

Do smaller films face discrimination by theatres as is the case of Ankhon Dekhi and Lakshmi? We let the experts speak.

Updated: March 27, 2014 11:38:04 pm
p1-m Kamal Gianchandani and Luv Ranjan

Kamal Gianchandani

(President, PVR Pictures Ltd)

The number of shows a film gets is reflective of demand and supply of that film. We want to ensure that the audience never has to go back without watching the film. Secondly, the number of seats, instead of shows, is a better matrix to understand this. The number of seats given to a film is also a function of the competition it is facing at the cinemas. Hence, the release date is a critical factor. Queen was a rare case in which the second week’s collections were better than first week’s.

Thirdly, smaller films usually have a slower start at the box office, and then it grows strength to strength, thanks to word of mouth. Ankhon Dekhi is a good example. If small films such as these open with too many shows, it’s a sure way of killing it. In our experience, what we call ‘platform release’ works better for smaller films. This means, having a limited number of shows at the start, and then scaling up as the word of mouth increases.

Fourthly, the nature of the film also decides the number of shows. A youth-based film such as Yaariyan will have more shows compared to Ankhon Dekhi, which mainly caters to a mature audience. Also, marketing has become an important factor. Ragini MMS 2, despite not being a star-driven film, was well promoted and is a good example of a genre film.

My personal sense is that the exhibitors are not to be blamed. The issue is also of poor supply of content. As far as timings are concerned, they are selected very carefully so that footfall is maximised. Even if there are two shows, there will be a time gap between the shows to increase the pressure on each individual show. Exhibitors want every film to be a hit.

Luv Ranjan
(Director, Pyaar Ka Punchnama)

It can’t be denied that multiplexes are a boon for smaller films. In fact, so many small films are being made because they are reaching the audience thanks to multiplexes. However, it is frustrating when smaller films get odd timings. Instead of shows in the morning or more number of shows, give smaller films two shows, but give them evening or night shows so that they get a fair chance to grow at the ticket window.

Also, the sharing pattern of smaller films should be revised. As per the current scenario, after the first week, the share of the exhibitor increases comparatively than what it was in the first week. When Queen does better in its second week, somehow the producers will have lesser share in their pocket. As the momentum increases for smaller films with successive weeks, the share keeps reducing. It seems unfair. Logic says, at least it should be 50-50.

The discrimination is like two sides of a coin. Imagine a scenario where there are only single screens — where will we get the audience for smaller films? If I were a multiplex owner, I would also give shows to the film that guarantees a certain number of audience or has strong expectations. Eventually, this is a business. But yes, small filmmakers are willing to show the film before release, so the multiplex chains can decide what kind of scenario they are in. For smaller films, give lesser number of shows, but show a little more faith.

In the end, it comes down to the audience. If a big film gets 18 shows a day, this means it has generated that demand. Now, even Hollywood films get more shows than small Hindi films as there is a demand. At the end, everything works according to demand and supply.

(Conducted by RANJIB MAZUMDER)

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