December saw the release of many Marathi films including Candle March, Avtarachi Gosht, Love Factor, Madhyamvarg and Premasathi Coming Sunn. Unfortunately, none of the films appealed to the audience much. Trade analyst Dilip Thakur says the films were overshadowed by the November releases. “This is not to say that the films were good,” he rues.
Thakur adds that the Marathi audience watches just one film, or at the most, two films a month, but because of brilliant films like Dr. Prakash Baba Amte, Elizabeth Ekadashi, Happy Journey, Viti Dandu, which were released in November, their ‘monthly quota’ was full and they preferred to keep away from average films that came in December. Hence, there were no footfalls at the theatres. “Aur uspar PK ne aake maar dala,” laughs Thakur, adding that while Avtarachi Gosht, a love triangle with Adinath Kothare, Neha Pendse and Jitendra Joshi and Madhyamvarg that had Bhojpuri superstar Ravi Kishan featuring in a parallel role with Siddharth Jadhav, did above average business, none of the other films garnered many eyeballs.
Distributor Sanjay Chabbria, who has produced Happy Journey under the Everest Entertainment banner says, “Happy Journey has grossed nearly Rs. 4 crore at the box-office and is still running well in Pune. In fact, films like Happy Journey, Elizabeth Ekadashi performed very well in November and December,” says Chabbria, who thinks that the time of the release has nothing to do with the film’s performance. “It is the content which drives people. I don’t know about the fate of other films as I’ve been out of the country but December, particularly Christmas period, is always good to release films,” he adds.
Candle March, starring Tejaswini Pandit and Manava Naik, was about a statement against the nonchalance of the society against brutal rapes and sexual harassment of women. A topical film, yet it did not work. Smaller films like Love Factor, Miss Match, IPL faded without any trace. Adinath Kothare had two releases in the last month of the year; Premasathi …and Avtarachi…, of which only Avtarachi …did average business while Premasathi …was down in one week .
When asked if PK has affected Marathi films, and Chabbria is quick to remark that it is more to do with the quality of films than the release of PK. “But it is not wise to release any film opposite Rajkumar Hirani and Aamir Khan. Having said that, there have been instances where films released simultaneously with biggies have done well. Years ago, Natarang and Shikshanachya Aaicha Gho did well alongside 3 Idiots. Duniyadari came with Chennai Express. Rege and Poster Boyz were pitted against Kick and Singham 2. Hence, I don’t buy the argument that big Hindi films quash Marathi films. In fact, the last few years have shown that many people favour Marathi films,” he points out.
Sanjay Jadhav, whose Pyar Vali Love story was one of the much-anticipated films of the year, says that for a Marathi film to work, it firstly needs to have good content and secondly, its promotion should begin at least three months before its release. Unfortunately, many are not aware of the film till a week before its release. He thinks the film also needs to be up to the mark and entertaining. “People are tired of preaching and message-oriented films. If you see the history of Marathi films, the successful ones have always been the entertainers,” points out Jadhav. He remarks that the audience today is loyal and open to good films. December is a good month as well, as it is vacation and party time and people want to watch a good film, he believes.
While Thakur mentions that 2014 was good for Marathi cinema as meaningful as well as masala films hit the theatres, though 80 per cent of them were out of the theatres in one-two weeks only, he sums up saying, “2015 has started on a good note with Lokmanya hitting the screens. Let’s wait for more fireworks.”