Multiplexes told to screen Kannada films in prime slots

Multiplexes told to screen Kannada films in prime slots

The State government has issued a diktat to the various multiplexes to ensure prime time screening of Kannada films and also to make tickets more affordable to the viewers.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who held a meeting to address concerns of the Kannada film industry, said that he had directed owners/representatives of the multiplexes to give primacy to Kannada films. The government will also study the Maharashtra model, where Marathi films are now getting prime time slots and also compulsory screening in multiplexes, he said. However, a final call on the modalities will be arrived at after Information Minister Roshan Baig convenes another meeting with the representatives of multiplexes.

Siddaramaiah, along with Baig and Kannada and Culture Minister Umashree, met representatives of 10 multiplexes, stakeholders of Kannada film industry and officials of Information department at his home office Krishna on Thursday. Representatives from PVR, Inox, Cinepolis and others were present.

Industry representatives - Jaggesh, Jayamala, Karnataka Chalanachitra Academy chairperson S V Rajendra Singh Babu     and others - contended that multiplexes were neglecting Kannada films, with films being screened at odd hours. They said that the tickets were priced exorbitantly, as a result of which a majority of Kannada moviegoers were giving these films a miss.

Multiplex representatives countered, saying they had been screening Kannada films and that they had not priced the tickets over Rs 130 each. They claimed that hit films like ‘Mungaru Male’ and the latest blockbuster ‘Ranna’ had been screened for maximum hours. However, a majority of the films don’t do well, as a result of which they have to cut short the screening hours.

Baig said multiplexes were apprehensive of allotting prime time slots or set hours of screening for Kannada films, due to  minimal returns.  “They claimed that they had invested heavily on hi-tech infrastructure and that their businesses had taken a hit on many occasions, with less than 20 people making it to the screening at a time,” he said. Baig said  Sandalwood too was at fault at times.

“Many a time, they seek subsidies for a film, and not even release it. I have sought for corresponding details from the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce and multiplexes about the number of Kannada films released and the number of times they have been screened at multiplexes. Only after that, we will arrive at a decision,” he said. Rajendra Singh Babu said that Karnataka viewers were contributing around Rs 1,000 crore annually to watch Tamil, Hindi, English and Telugu films, as a result of which Kannada films were faring badly. Babu said that the film fraternity had also sought the government’s intervention with regard to reducing the prices at eateries in the multiplexes.

“A pack of popcorn costs close to Rs 400.  This matter has to be addressed by the government,” he said. Baig said that the matter would be addressed during the meeting.
“I too feel the pinch when I go to a multiplex with my grandchildren. The prices at the eateries are exorbitant. They have to be made more affordable,” he added.

Janata Chitramandira

The proposal of setting up 300 theatres across the State to exclusively screen Kannada films is now before the chief minister. An announcement to this effect was made in the 2015-16 budget.

Rajendra Singh Babu said that Karnataka too should implement Janata Chitramandiras (theatres) on the lines of Amma Theatres in Tamil Nadu. Roshan Baig said that a decision would be taken only after the CM’s office issues guidelines for the theatres.

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