Polls bat away audience from theatres

Polls bat away audience from theatres

Numbers of cine lovers dwindle at movie halls, multiplexes

If elections have brought smiles to the faces of people willing to make a fast buck, on the flip side, film exhibitors in the city have a different story to tell.

Elections coupled by ongoing IPL cricket tourney has taken a toll on the screens, besides deferring the releases of a couple of movies.

There is a dip in revenue of theatres by at least 25 per cent, said M R Rajaram of Gayatri talkies here.

 According to him, it’s not only the cine lovers who have turned their back, but also the lower cadre employees (sweepers) in the theatres, who have abstained from work ever since the onset of poll season.

Reason - they get to earn more through electioneering. They are being paid between Rs 300 to Rs 500 per day against Rs 130 to Rs 150 by the theatres.

For the time being, cleaning job at theatres is managed by the remaining staff.

Those theatres screening Kannada, Tamil and Telugu films have felt the pinch with the lower middle class families forming the audience for second class in the movie halls. On regular days, if the tickets for balcony (upper class) is sold out, there will be 80 per cent occupation in the lower class. Now, it has come down to 50 per cent in the lower class, while the occupancy in the upper class remains the same.

Cricket

Earlier when the first edition of IPL kicked off, it had a major effect on the screens with nearly 50 pc to 60 pc cutting in the revenue.

However, the following editions of IPL haven’t taken much of a toll on the movie business -- though the tourneys too act as one of the contributing factors.

A minimum of five movies that were slated for release between April and May have been deferred to the second week of May.

Prominent among them is Darshan Thoogudeepa and Ambareesh starrer ‘Bulbul’ scheduled for release on May 2 and postponed to May 10. Another reason for Bulbul’s delayed release is Ambareesh contesting the polls from Mandya constituency.

The code of conduct stipulates non release of films of actos contesting the polls.

In the meantime, low budget movies like Shubha Poonja starrer ‘Paraari’ and newcomer Raj starrer ‘Jataayu’ have seen the light of the day. According to the exhibitors, coming Friday (May 2) may not see any new releases.

The city has 19 theatres in total, besides two multiplexes; DRC Cinema and Satyam having four screens each.

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