SRK, Aamir unite for 'equal rights for equal films'

MUMBAI: Bollywood stars Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan (SRK) called for an equal share of revenues with the multiplex owners, hoping to shape a new order in the way the distribution of box office revenue runs in the country.

In a rare joint appearance, the duo urged for a system that would shelter "equal rights for equal films." Signaling smaller producers to back the movement, the two leading actors said multiplexes should have a common revenue-sharing system for the creators and distributors of content.

"It should be a partnership of equals. Everyone has a right to earn money and be viable in their business models. A 50 per cent share in revenues is a fair deal," said Aamir Khan, while addressing the press here today.

Echoing this sentiment, SRK said: "We need to repair the pipeline. We are calling for fair rights for Friday (the day the movies release in India) nights."

Emphasising the need for a settlement, SRK said: "This is a husband and wife relationship where there is no scope for divorce."

Aamir Khan suggested the setting up of a common committee that would look into the problems and work out the solutions. "This should be presented to both the sides. A solution should be good for the industry as a whole," he said.

Film producers who are backing the strike, have decided to choke the supply of their content to the multiplexes. Besides Hindi films, regional films would not be released in multiplexes. Said Eros International COO Jyoti Deshpande, "Though we released Mahesh Manjrekar‘s film Mee Shivaji Raje Bhosle Boltoy, on 3 April (a day before the strike) at the multiplexes, we are not releasing a Punjabi film with them."

Eros did not release Aa Dekhen Zara on the multiplexes. Said Deshpande, "Multiplex owners wanted us to enter into a very rigid agreement if we had to release our film with them. Since that was against the code of conduct of the Prouducer-Distributor combine, we desisted from releasing the film in multiplexes and released in single-screen theatres. Then we caught up with an idea and released Aa Dekhen Zara on DTH."

The producers are also determined to stop all old films from being re-released on multiplexes during the strike period. Said Mukesh Bhatt, "We will be supporting single screens with old releases. We are also working out plans on how to provide fresh films to single-screen theatres only."

Multiplex owners have been resisting a 50:50 revenue share and have indicated that they are comfortable with a performance-linked system. But UTV Software Communications chairman and managing director Ronnie Screwvala pulled down this theory. "A variable model leads to subjectivity. This is not possible and requires a change in strategy. Our aim during a film‘s release is to up our box office share and not to increase the occupancy level at theatres," he said.

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