After marathon deliberations Thursday, the Maharashtra government finally decided to redefine the “prime time” for screening of Marathi films in multiplexes and consider three slots — 12 to 3 pm, 3 to 6 pm and 6 to 9 pm — for the shows.
Cultural Affairs Minister Vinod Tawde adopted this middle path to accommodate the concerns of multiplex owners and Marathi film producers and distributors, and to pull curtains on the controversy that had erupted after the government decided to make it mandatory for multiplexes to show at least one Marathi film during prime time hours in the evening.
“The prime time would now be between 12 (noon) and 9 pm. It would be mandatory for the multiplexes to screen at least 124 shows of Marathi films in a year in this slot. The decision to derive consensus was derived through a long discussion and the feedback the government received from all the stakeholders in the Marathi film industry, including the multiplex owners,” Tawde said Thursday.
He added, “When I announced that Marathi films should be screened during prime time, it gave an impression that the show would be mandatory between 6 pm and 9 pm. However, after interaction with associations representing multiplexes and Marathi cinema, we have now adopted the prime time stretched over 12 to 9 pm.”
A four-member committee representing two members each from the associations of multiplexes and Marathi film producers would mutually decide on when a particular film should be screened. The reason cited was, “If a Marathi film appeals to youths (college going) it draws maximum crowd in the afternoons. If there is a film that holds appeal for women it works best in the slot between 3 pm and 6 pm. The family oriented films draw maximum audience for the 6-9 pm show.”
Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Cinema Mahamandal president Vijay Patkar said, “It was our long-pending demand to push the Marathi cinema screening to prime time. Our objection was to the secondary treatment meted to the Marathi cinema in multiplexes. Often, they would screen the films before noon, which drew thin audience.”
He also alleged discrimination in sharing of finances. “Marathi film producers receive just 45 per cent of the revenue share. The revenue distribution should be 50:50. Other regional films like Telugu and Tamil receive 48 per cent.”