‘Bollywood cannot afford disruption of release schedule’

September 10th, 2008 - 3:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Sep 10 (IANS) Bollywood is upset that the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), currently up in arms against the Bachchans, has threatened to hit it where it hurts the most - its takings at the box-office.”When a planned release of a film is stalled for whatever reasons, it affects the entire film industry because it upsets the release schedule of all other films in queue,” said Pahlaj Nihalani, president of the Association of Motion Picture and Television Programme Producers (AMPTPP).

Jaya Bachchan’s desire to speak in Hindi resulted in a controversy and the MNS threatened to ban the release of all films starring the members of the Bachchan family. Jaya apologised for her remark after MNS workers started defacing Bachchan film posters.

Nihalani said the MNS might have its problems with the Bachchans, but it shouldn’t try to obstruct the release of films starring them, which include “The Last Lear” and “Drona”.

“The party may not be doing so intentionally, but if the Bachchans starrers due for release shortly are stalled, it is only the producers, distributors and exhibitors who will be affected,” Nihalani said.

T.P. Aggrawal, president of the Indian Motion Picture Producers’ Association (IMPPA), urged: “MNS should not play spoil-sport.”

S.S. Bhattacharya, CEO of Planman Pictures, producers of “The Last Lear,” has already expressed his apprehension that if MNS disrupts the release of the movie in Maharsahtra, as it has threatened to do, it will make the distributor, PVR Pictures, poorer by around Rs.60 to Rs.70 million, revenue a movie generally generates in Mumbai, and more if it becomes a hit.

The disruption of release schedules is the least the industry can afford at this moment when the lifespan of films at the box-office is gradually becoming shorter, said a distributor wishing not to be named.

“It may appear to be an irony, but it’s a fact that in spite of nine out of 10 films released every week flopping at the box-office of late, the production figures are mounting. This is making the release schedules tighter. It means that more films are vying for limited number of screens. So, the disruption of the release schedule of a film upsets the entire line of releases,” he said.

Nihalani made a plea that the Maharashtra police should ensure that the MNS stir vis-à-vis the Bachchans did not go out of hand.

“Mumbai is a prime film territory for Bollywood which decides the fate of a film. Any untoward incident affecting the release of a film tells on its revenue prospects. Moreover, for Bollywood to prosper, it is essential that Mumbai remains incident-free,” he said.

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