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From Regional Desk:
Panch ka Punch, Really?
-Quality V/s Quantity of Marathi Films


PANCH KA DUM? REALLY?

Battle of Quality V/s Quantity in Marathi Film Industry

Our Marathi film industry marked the beginning of this year in the grandeur manner by realising one of the most power packed films -  ‘Natasamraat’ in respect of content, performances, direction & much more… The film was released in more than 2000 screens all over India, bigger than an average Hindi film, thus making it very clear to anyone who thought, Marathi cinema would be wiped out by Bollywood's power & aggression. But it’s the quality of Marathi films that make Marathi Industry stay strong in tough times. In the past few years, we've seen some excellent Marathi films that not only kept the cash registers ringing but also evoked good critics’ response and bagged some International trophies too.

Today the Marathi film industry seems to have everything going for itself. The number of releases has shot up over the last few years and so have the profits, and all this without prominent superstars or big budgets. But at this stage, I am deeply concerned about the quantity of the films being produced & released each week. Last year in 2015 there was whopping total of 26 releases in the months of May and June which was higher than the combined number of releases from January-April 2015 & this saga continued for next few months, this came as an unheard of phenomenon in the Marathi film industry leading to monetary losses.

If the first week of the year 2016 for Marathi cinema was about Quality (Natasamraat) then the second week brought Quantity with 5 films (Shasan, Chiranjeev, Dixit’s 702, Chahto Mi Tula & Friends) releasing on same day thereby diluting the market. This is not the first time that five films have released on the same day, this phenomenon is happening 5th time in Marathi Industry.  While 2-3 Marathi films coming out every week is common these days, but 5 films spell a disaster and film sinking without a trace.

Occurrence of this PANCH KA DUM Show in the History of Marathi CInema..

 19/Apr/2013  -  Prem Mhanje Prem Asta, Touring Talkies, Yeda, Chintu 2 & Kurukshetre

29/May/2015  -- Paying Ghost, Siddhant, Prime Time, Dhurandhar Bhatwadekar, Atithi

27/Oct/2015 –Mumbai-Pune-Mumbai 2, Rajwade & Sons,  Khwada, Dagdu Bai Chal and Katyar Kaljyat Ghusli

27/Nov/2015 – Dhangar Wada, Mahanayak, Shinma, Urfil & Shahi.

With poor quality & more quantity of films being released every week with no breathing time leads to restricted number of shows & hampers the business done even by the good films.  At the multiplexes in Mumbai it’s the popcorn that wins as it fetches about 40 per cent of the total revenue for the multiplex owners, something they cannot expect when an average Marathi film is screened, thus it is removed or replaced by a another successfully running film, which might help boost popcorn business.

Quantity is ruining the Quality. Marathi films are especially known for their quality content which is also the lifeline. In current scenario there is an urgent need for quality-control, well defined structure & limiting the number of releases per week. Sincere efforts amongst the Marathi Producers will only help Marathi films to thrive or else history will repeat itself and the audience is smart enough to choose its way again.

The lack of coordination between Marathi film producers regarding the release calendar, further makes the going more difficult because whenever there is a free window in between the release of big banner Bollywood and Hollywood films, every producer wants to release his Marathi film to clear the back log and this ultimately results in the clash that we are witnessing currently.

One has to understand that Marathi film-makers, producers and distributors are more dependent on the multiplexes because of the profit-sharing model. So only being progressive and winning awards is not enough one also has to make films for the masses too.  If a film clicks with the audience it could be a much needed shot in the arm. Lai Bhaari & Timepass 2 are such examples.

As Marathi film’s subject mostly caters to the working class and the students. It becomes a fierce combination of intellectuals & masses. These audiences are more interested in the story rather than spectacle.  It is the audience's evolving sensibilities which have shown its acceptance for newer subjects and a variety of genres. Marathi culture supported with good art and in sync with the aspirations of the audience has worked well for the industry. Some Marathi films like Killa, Katyar Kaljat Ghusali not only managed to earn critical acclaim, but also raked in a lot of moolah.

The assault of Bollywood was always there because Maharashtra is the only state that directly competes with Bollywood, still Marathi Industry has survived and flourished and been a part of the changing times.   In the last few years, Marathi film industry has handed out an assorted platter of coming-of-age films, social dramas, biopics as well as out-and-out masala movies for the masses, which have been a delight for the audience. And the winners undoubtedly have been the films with superior content.

In coming times, I am hopeful the journey for Marathi cinema would be comparatively smoother if the good content films get backing like Bollywood. The acceptance & the success of the Marathi cinema in the International Festival Circuit is admirable and perhaps it would motivate some from the international markets to supports this regional cinema as both, the films and their audiences are outwaiting to be connected globally..

We should focus on developing quality cinema, Quantity will follow in terms of audiences & moolah.

Thrumyeyes…

Anjusha Chaughule

BE (Civil), MBA (Operations)

Social Activist, Film Critic, Scriptwriter & Actor. She’s a Fellow Member of FWA.

She can be reached at www.anjushachaughule.com

 


-Anjusha Chaughule

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