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Big B helps out recession-hit cinema halls Saturday, April 21, 2001
VADODARA: The angry young man seems to have made a comeback to city theatres. Both in Ahmedabad and Vadodara a few theatre owners are showing old hits of Amitabh Bachchan in the hope of tiding over the current drop in attendance and fewer film prints, which theatre owners say are comparatively expensive due to decrease in viewership and revenue.
Most film distributors, until recently, were wary to release new films due to the recession. Theatre owners too were reluctant to buy prints of new films due to the recessionary trends. Most of them say that collections have been down throughout the state due to the earthquake, water crisis, money flow problem and the exams.
However, the approaching summer vacations are making them optimistic. They feel once new films are released audiences would once again throng theatres.
"Now that summer vacations have started and new films (like Albela that released on Friday) are being released, things would change," says Alpana's Raghuvir Gohil. But not all seem to share this optimism. Regarding the comeback of the Big B on theatre screens he says the current popularity of the KBC show has renewed interest in his old hits.
Barring Albela, Jodi No 1, Rahul and One 2 Ka 4 there have been no new releases in the past few days and most theatre owners are showing films released months ago such as Mohabbatein and Kaho Na Pyar Hai or old hits of Amitabh Bachchan.
In Vadodara, Aradhana recently showed Sholay in its matinee show daily for two weeks and in Vihar Coolie is currently being shown in the matinee. In Ahmedabad Shalimar and Sangam are showing Don and Deewar respectively.
According to Narendra Doshi of Aradhana, the earthquake coupled with water crisis has caused a drop in collections. "We showed Sholay to cater to the demand of the audience for a change. Since bringing new film prints is not possible, we decided to show Sholay during the matinee for a change," he says.
Doshi says Sholay got a good response. "Though the number of audience has dropped, Sholay being a classic film had a good number of viewers," he said.
He says distributors of new films that are produced under big banners quote a high price for prints. Due to the decrease in audience our revenues are down and therefore the cost of bringing in new films produced under big banners becomes expensive," he says.
The distributors, on their part, are wary of bringing new films due to the recession and drop in the number of theatre-goers since the past few months.
Suryakant Patel of Sangam in Ahmedabad says they have to keep changing the movies that they air so that film-goers keep coming to theatres. The reduced collections since the past few months had affected film distributors and new releases, but now things would slowly get back to normal.
"We have no plans to show only old movies. We might be bringing in new released films like Jodi No 1 soon," he said. According to him, new big banner releases are difficult to acquire due to the high costs involved.
Most big banner film distributors either hire cinema halls for a certain period of time or sell prints of a percentage-sharing basis. Due to recession and the reduction in the number of audience many theatre owners are opting to hire out their halls says a theatre owner on condition of anonymity.