War Cry

Friday is when you flip a coin and fate takes over. But this Friday,the Film Producers’ Guild of India have intervened with fate’s little fete and sounded the war cry.

Written by Jaskiran Kapoor | Published: February 20, 2009 2:57:25 am

As the Film Producers’ Guild draw battlelines with the multiplex moghuls,we wonder if Delhi 6 will flash on the screen this Friday

Friday is when you flip a coin and fate takes over. But this Friday,the Film Producers’ Guild of India have intervened with fate’s little fete and sounded the war cry. It’s history repeated,only this time,on a larger scale. Doing a ‘Yashraj’ on them,the producers’ body have decided to put a stay on all Bollywood releases in multiplexes post Delhi 6. But with the film still ‘subject to release’ till the filing of this report,it seems like ab Dilli duur hai. “We will not give in to the high-handed attitude of the multiplex owners,” sounds the producers’ body head,Mukesh Bhatt. He is angry,so are fellow producers and filmmakers. “They make unreasonable demands when it comes to sharing film revenue. It’s an extortion bid! We make the films,we take the risk,we pump in the money and they want it all! We want an equal share,it’s our birthright,and we’ve decided not to release any more film promos till this matter is resolved,” comments Bhatt,with distributors,producers,hollywood and bollywood backing him up. Post this decision,producer Vashu Bhagnani,Chairman Puja Films too states that there will not be any Bollywood release after Delhi 6. “It’s become a norm – they demand an increased percentage of profit in films despite the increase in production cost and the recession effect on entertainment industry. This year,the entertainment industry is expected to grow at just 7 per cent whereas last year it was at 12.3 per cent,still they are demanding more,” Bhagnani was all set to release his son Jackky’s debut film,Kal Kissne Dekha on April 24,but says it can wait. Giving a percentage-wise bifurcation,Bhatt adds how “multiplex owners are making money at their cost – they make 25 per cent from their canteens,15 per cent on car park and eight per cent from ad revenue,and still they say want a 40-60 ratio? They don’t share any of the above mentioned revenues with us,are insensitive towards the film-goer,and ironically their business runs because of our films! There has to be a 50-50 sharing,” Bhatt snubs the ‘bully factor’ and makes another valid point which has been irking quite a few city residents too. “The cost of tickets,the pricing – multiplexes are making cinema-viewing so expensive that it’s fuelling piracy,and it’s a further loss to the producer,” he says. Apparently,there is a dispute before the release of every film. It happened when Yashraj stayed the release of Fanaa and Tashan by a week. It’s happening again,this time with Delhi 6. While PVR Chandigarh confirmed they have not received any prints of the film as yet,a visit of Abhishek Bachchan and Rakeysh Om Prakash Mehra slated for tomorrow is also uncertain.

“It’s the distributors who ask for a bigger share….in any case,where will they release their films,on single screen cinemas? They need the multiplex,” says one of the cinema employees of a local multiplex on the condition of anonymity. Another local multiplex personnel adds,“We have not received the prints yet,but to tell you the truth,there’s 23 per cent of tax on the ticket,the distributor takes the lion’s share; 50 per cent in the first week and all we make money is on food! We have overheads,huge expenses to incur,so what do we share?” While Aditya Shroff of Fame multiplexes refused to comment,filmmaker Harry Baweja feel that they should “stick to their guns. We need to sit and fix a percentage. They have their point of view,we have ours. All we need to do is workout a win-win solution.” Let’s see.

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