Producers, plex owners meet on 5 May to decide fate of Bollywood releases

MUMBAI: Film producers and plex owners are slated to meet again on 5 May to settle a dispute that has kept fresh Bollywood movies away from multiplexes since 4 April.

The last negotiations on 29 April, which ran for hours, was inconclusive but representatives from both camps expressed that a conclusive pact wasn’t far away.

“We have posted the next meeting on 5 May and hope that something will definitely come out of it,” says spokesperson of United Producers and Distributors Forum Mukesh Bhatt.

Confirming the meeting, Multiplex Owners Association president Shravan Shroff said, “I think we should be able to crack the nut in our next meeting. We are keeping our fingers crossed.”

The resulting stalemate has caused a lot of anxiety among cine-viewers. Amid this confusion comes the news that 99, produced by Anupam Mittal and Aditya Shastri, is going to be released in multiplexes besides single-screens.

No sooner did the news reach the producer lobby, they protested. Initially the producers were adamant, but later they said they would give it a thought. Meanwhile, newspapers have splashed the film’s advertisement which bears the names of multiplexes the film is to be released.

When indiantelevision contacted Shastri, he coolly said that he would come up with a decision on 4 May.

Says a producer on condition of anonymity, “This is the time when all producers whether big or small, should remain united. Why don’t these people understand that whatever decision we arrive at in our consecutive meetings will be covering all of us. So why take a stand that betrays our ideology.”

Says a positive looking Harry Baweja whose Love Story 2050 made headlines not so long ago, “We producers are very positive that something concrete would certainly crop up. This is not the time to play games.”

Whether the next meeting will bear any results or not only time will tell. But one thing is clear: both sides are weary of the losses that have sunk in since the fracas broke out between producers and multiplex owners.

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