Mini theatres to dot districts

The Chamber has also called for the amending of Cinematographic Act


Jayamala

For, if the long pending demand of the industry is implemented, then mini theatres, could soon dot all districts. Incidentally, the proposal for putting up mini theatres was mooted way back by V N Subbarao Committee which gave its recommendations in the State Film Policy of 1994.

Film Chamber President Jayamala told Deccan Herald that in the first phase nearly 100 mini theatres has been proposed in its a representation to the government, which had responded very positively. The chamber’s plea, she said, is a throw-back to similar Bayalu Rangamandira concept in all districts made popular during former Chief Minister late Gundu Rao’s regime.

1,000 theatres

Nearly 1,000 theatres are necessary to win back Kannada cinema audiences across the State.  These, she added, could be of 300/500 seaters and help in taking films of choice nearer to people.

Further, the Chamber has called for amending the Centre’s Cinematographic Act so that necessary licence and subsidy for developing such theatres could be encouraged.

“If the Act is amended, even defunct theatres could be revived and cancelled licenses reissued,” Jayamala added.  The Rs 10 lakh subsidy, with rider that theatres screen Kannada films compulsorily among others, for five years, should also be revived, she stated.  

Likewise, she said, the contentious issue of rate of admission also needs to be looked into like Tamil Nadu has done. Concurring, sources said, “with present day theatres turning virtually into Kalayana Mantapas charging exorbitant rents,” mini theatres are the answer to attract audiences back.

Better facilities

Exhibitors too are caught in the conundrum of providing better facilities for audiences than just screening films. Citing neighbouring Kerala’s Kairali Cinema model which were set up in district centres and managed by Kerala Cinema Academy  “mini theatres,” they said, would give both commercial and creative cinema right fillip to woo audiences now deterred by high ticket rates and consigned to their living rooms watching re-runs on TV.

Karnataka, that once prided itself for having most number of film theatres, seeing their numbers dwindle by the dozen too multiplexes and shopping complexes, mini theatres are the way out, Jayamala said. Meanwhile, a meeting has been called to discuss the modalities and the proposal is before the State finance department, official sources said.

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