Happy ending eludes Mollywood

The fight between exhibitors and producers has dampened the New Year spirit as no Malayalam movies are being released.

The situation of somebody making a fortune out of our bad times is happening live in the Malayalam film industry like never before. Our star-cast movies continue to stand in the queue, leaving our audience with little to lack forward too. Reports have started trickling in on other industry films raking in the moolah. Aamir Khan's much-hyped Dangal, accordingly, has collected money to the tune of Rs 2.10 crore in just three days, no bad performance for a B-Town movie down South. The exhibitors-producers cold war reaching nowhere, this may be expected to add fodder for others to flourish in the coming days. The tug of war continues, with the distributers threatening to pull out ongoing Malayalees films before New Year’s eve.

“Certain films were doing well at the box office which is why we backtracked from the decision to withdraw them from the theatres. Our stand with the exhibitors has not changed how. Demanding an exorbitant share from our profit cannot be justified at any cost. Which business offers a 50 per cent of its profit as commission,” asks G. Suresh Kumar, president of Kerala Film Producers' Association.

Director Sathyan Anthikad has openly expressed his disbelief at the messy situation. Excerpts critique open defence that appeared on a Malayalam daily translates like this. “Each movie is an outcome of the long-time effort of a set of artists; it’s not a mere commercial product. Creative writers, cinematographers, poets, musicians and talented actors are all behind it. I feel pity when such a product of art is being haggled over and treated like a thing put for sale in the market,” goes his opinion. He does a hair-spliting analysis pointing towards the making of Jomonte Suviseshangal.

No matter what the situation is, hard-core audience of Malayalam movies are a worried lot. “Nowadays, people are coming back to movie halls. We all prefer good entertainment with proper amenities. Single screen theatres are demanding box office share equivalent to the multiplexes. So they are obliged to provide modern facilities pursuant to that demand. But the exhibitors are showing a negative approach on the proposal of the state government to give a reasonable time to study. Every organisation has to collectively examine the problem without pushing the film industry into a crisis,” says Chippy B. Krishna from Thiruvananthapuram.

“We expected a lot as trailers of many of these movies were out much earlier. This is a season of disappointment for movie buffs like me,” she adds. Chippy is a representative of the film lovers who expect that the Christmas movies will hit the screens at least towards New Year.

K.J. Siju, a keen observer of films, assesses the situation, “The uncompromising attitude of theatre owners is a reason for the current situation. I don’t feel that their demand is reasonable. Let them volunteer to offer better facilities in theatres than drawing commercial parallels with multiplexes. I feel they haven't taken an initiative to have a dialogue and arrive at a feasible solution. There could probably be personal agendas. However, I don’t think these factors have contributed to Dangal’s success. Even if the crisis was not there, it would have gained audience. Certain other language movies do not witness such a crowd at the same time. It cannot be adjudged that the audience for Malayalam movies have vanished. Once the films are released, if they have content, viewers will watch it.”

Those utilising the calamity for productive purposes is another side. Jay Krishnan, director of Ezra, is a debut feature filmmaker. Also, the Mumbaikar Malayali ad-man's foray into Malayalam films is also taking place with Ezra. “I don't look from a monetary perspective. There are advantages and disadvantages. My film has lots of sound technicalities involved. This is an extra window to fine tune things, time to prune and polish it further. It’s festive season in fact and people have choices when there are multiple releases. After all, the product matters finally,” observes Jay.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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