State govt makes Marathi film screening mandatory in prime time

MUMBAI: Under protest threats from both the MNS and the Shiv Sena, the Maharashtra government has decided to make it mandatory for multiplexes in Mumbai to allot prime slots to Marathi films.

According to the new guidelines, multiplexes stand to lose their licence if they treat Marathi cinema as secondary to any other cinema. It will hereafter be mandatory for all the 27 multiplexes in the city to allot prime time slots to Marathi films.

Currently, it is mandatory for multiplexes to show 112 shows in a year. According to reports, three out of the out of 27 multiplexes have violated the norm. The three multiplexes are I-Max (Wadala), Fame (Kandivali) and Inox (Nariman Point).

Due to bad or poor content, multiplexes managed to draw only 15 per cent of the audience in the last three months that made screening Marathi films an expensive business.

Says Cinemax CEO Sunil Punjabi, “I would put it this way that one should promote regional movies, not only Marathi films. I am also of the view that if a film’s content is good and attractive it can always be put in prime time slots. We at Cinemax always promote Marathi films to the hilt in cities and specially in the interiors. This government initiative will now pressurize film producers to make good and meaningful Marathi films that would draw in audience into theatres and mulyiplexes.”

As far as lowing ticket rates for Marathi films go, the government has decided to address the complex problems by constituting a committee that will study the matter in detail and come out with its recommendations.

Multiplexes in Mumbai have said that they are agreeable to lowing the rates if they get a government circular.

Recently, over 40 multiplexes came forward to screen Marathi thriller Sa Sasucha.

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