'Commercial success of Marathi films helped exhibitors to cover losses incurred from Bollywood flops'

Ambika Shaligram
Monday, 14 January 2019

Marathi film producers, directors, distributors discuss ‘Marathi Film Success in 2018’ during Pune International Film Fest

PUNE: Out of 120 Marathi films that were released in 2018, 13 were hits and did such good business at the box office that they helped the exhibitors and multiplex owners salvage the losses they faced because Bollywood biggies delivered duds. This is a first for the Marathi film industry and definitely a reason to rejoice, because hitherto, the business from Bollywood blockbusters helped the theatre owners to recover the losses they faced because Marathi movies didn’t do well.

This was announced by Vinod Satav of Lead Media, who was the co-ordinator for a conference ‘Marathi Film Success in 2018’ organised by Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Chitrapat Mahamandal, Lead Media and 17th Pune International Film Festival. 

Quoting Sadiq Chitalkar, distributor of Zee Studios and Anil Thadani of AA Films, Satav said, “The exhibitors have often said that they make business from Bollywood movies and whatever losses they incur from Marathi movies is covered by the Hindi movies. For the first time in 2018, the exhibitors have said that Marathi films helped them recover from the financial losses incurred from Bollywood flops. I quote Sadiq Chitalkar, ‘The success of the Marathi film industry has helped the film exhibitors tide over the losses faced by us’. We all hope that 2018 is not an aberration and this is the beginning of the ‘Golden Age of Marathi Cinema’.” 

The conference, which was represented by successful Marathi film producers (Rajendra Shinde, Sandeep Jadhav), directors (Vishal Devrukhkar, Digpal Lanjekar, Praveen Tarde, Bhau Kharade), distributors (Prakash Chaphalkar, Chairman of CityPride Theatres group) shared their collective wisdom from writing, to marketing, distributing and production. It also addressed the hurdles faced by first-time filmmakers. 

Some interesting points that arose from the discussion included the decision of Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Chitrapat Mahamandal’s decision to get into distribution of Marathi cinema and eventually setting up theatres. Meghraj Raje Bhosale, who is President of the apex body, said, “We are clued into the problems faced by producers in making their films and distributing them, so in the near future we plan to develop a distribution model. Also, we have digitised the data of Marathi fim producers, the crew involved etc. This data was not compiled earlier and there were no accurate numbers available. As per our data, there are 4,200 registered Marathi filmmakers. We hope to pool in collective resources, expertise and provide guidance to upcoming filmmakers, financers and producers.” 

Chaphalkar provided inputs from distributors’ perspective and said there should be collaboration with fresh talent from the industry and theatre owners. “Many a time filmmakers or their teams are not aware how they should position their shows, or the assembly line that they should follow to get more visibility. I try to help them as much as I can, but there should be more clear understanding of how the industry works,” he added. 

Jadhav, who produced Farzand, said that producers need to be more involved in the projects and study more so that they understand the potential of the film projects that come their way.  Tarde, who has directed the successful Mulshi Pattern, however had a different take. “I take into account the producer’s sensibilities and background before seeking his opinions. As a writer, I never ask for a producer’s opinion. But as a director, I engage with everyone.”

Tarde also reacted strongly to the adverse publicity that his film Mulshi Pattern garnered. He said, “The pattern of Mulshi Pattern was different. Through this film,  I created a different audience, a different milieu, which is not  often seen in Marathi cinema. In fact this audience didn’t even watch Marathi films, they would watch movies like Sultan. I think we should be accepting of the changes.”

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