Actors, filmmakers question the untimely disappearance of Bengali films from theatres | Bengali Movie News

Actors, filmmakers question the untimely disappearance of Bengali films from theatres | Bengali Movie News

Lately, social media has been abuzz with debates and discussions over how recently released Bengali films, which were running successfully or had great openings, were denied decent show timings and allotted fewer shows at the theatres after the release of a Bollywood film. CT reached out to people from Tollywood to know their views on the issue and understand the problems plaguing the Bengali film industry right now despite the odd success story. Read on… I want to know who is making these policies: Prosenjit Chatterjee
Prosenjit Chatterjee, whose film Kaberi Antardhan directed by Kaushik Ganguly is not getting enough shows and desirable show timings despite being shown a lot of love from the audience, said, “If a big-budget Bollywood film releases, will the theatres and multiplexes in Bengal stop running Bengali films despite them doing good at the box office? Are the single screen owners and multiplexes refusing to screen the film just to run a Hindi film? They are saying it is a policy. I want to know who is making these policies. Will my colleagues in Mumbai be happy to know that to run their films, Bengali films here are denied the number of shows and timings they deserve? No! This is nothing but a roadblock to our survival.”


Govt must create a film policy with experts: Kaushik GangulySharing his thoughts, the actor-filmmaker said, “Any such mandate should not be acceptable. Theatres in Bengal cannot refuse to screen Bengali films for this mandate. The government needs to interfere and create a concrete film policy after discussing it with film experts. Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and other north Indian states have already figured out a policy. We should consult them and strike a proper balance as exhibitors too need to do their business.”

We need to generate good content for exhibitors to feel confident: Dev
Dev feels Tollywood needs to generate more meaningful content. “Amra ki bhalo chobi banachi? Not really. First, we need to generate good content so that exhibitors feel confident about it, as they are here to do business. Second, stakeholders from the industry need to unite and come on the same platform where we can fight such issues unitedly. Otherwise, these issues will persist. There has to be a balance between Hindi and Bengali film timings,” said Dev, who is happy that his film Projapoti helped a single-screen theatre, which was shut down, reopen.


The ‘no show sharing’ attitude is not right: Avijit Sen
Projapoti director Avijit Sen shared that despite doing very good business, the film is not getting an adequate number of shows. “That is so unfair. I’m not saying that Hindi films doing good business should not be screened, but the ‘no show sharing’ attitude is not right. There should be a balance. We need a policy that ensures all films
get proper shows. Let the audience decide what they want to watch,” he added.

Some single screens support Bengali films
A few single screen owners have decided to run only Bengali films and not to screen the SRK starrer. Navin Choukhani, owner of a single screen on Prince Anwar Shah Road, said, “Projapoti is doing so well that it’d have been unfair not to continue screening it. And the SRK film distributor wanted all the shows. We felt that’s unfair and so we decided to screen Projapoti.” Joydeep Mukherjee, owner of a single screen in Hatibagan, said, “When Projapoti, Dilkush and Kaberi Antardhan are bringing in good revenues, why won’t I screen them? I am not against Hindi films, but Bengali films are my priority and they are doing good business. We don’t get so many Hindi or other language movies to run throughout the year. So, we depend on Bengali movies. When the time comes to stand by Bengali movies, should we run away?”


It’s all about the numbers: Theatre owners & exhibitors
‘We need to recover from the pandemic blow’
“We are still recovering from the losses made in the pandemic. We need business and the SRK film is doing great. I agree Projapoti had the merit to pull crowds, but unfortunately, we have to follow the best business strategy as at the end of the day we need to survive too.”
– Arijit Dutta, owner of a single-screen theatre in Deshapriya Park

‘Theatre owners can decide which film to run or not’
“Theatres will only run films that are likely to do good business, irrespective of the language. At the end of the day, we have to run our institutions. Projapoti is doing well and has got a good number of shows. Why will we screen a film which is not doing good business at a time when a Hindi film is giving us houseful shows? Is there any logic? A theatre owner has the right to decide which film to run or not based on the film’s merit.”
– Satadeep Saha, exhibitor

‘Content of all genres and languages are significant’
“The programming of shows in our cinema halls is done on the basis of current audience preferences, demand and the popularity of content, so that maximum number of guests get to enjoy the content which is enjoying the maximum popularity. We have always assigned immense significance to content of all genres and languages.”
– Amitava Guha Thakurta, regional director of a multiplex


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