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Two news films on Eid, but where is the audience? – IANS Column: B-Town

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Two news films on Eid, but where is the audience? – IANS Column: B-Town

Mumbai, April 14 (IANS) The scene isn’t rosy for the film exhibition business and, resultantly, for the movies slated for release. Imagine, two major films were due for release on April 10. The release was officially announced, so were the advance bookings. But the response was so poor that even after opening the booking windows, the producers had to postpone the release by a day.

Why? Because they seemed to have realised that Eid was to be observed on April 11 and it would be more appropriate to have paid previews on the eve of the festival. The response was so poor again that the paid previews were cancelled. But what happened to Hindi film lovers? Eid, traditionally, has only added to footfalls.

Both films have a heavyweight star cast. ‘Maidaan’ features Ajay Devgn; the other release, ‘Bade Miyan Chote Miyan’, has Akshay Kumar and Tiger Shroff, along with Malayalam cinema’s pan-India star Prithviraj Sukumaran, in the lead.

It is not usual for a film to be withdrawn after the bookings are opened. There was no reason as such but there was an excuse. Oh, Eid is on the 11th, we might as well delay the release by a day! Corniest reason ever. And talking about paid previews, those were also cancelled because of audience indifference.

Anyway, paid previews have proved to be disastrous on earlier occasions. One can imagine the lack of interest in ‘Maidaan’. The film has been six years in the making and its release plans were shelved a few times before.

The other factor is that it is a film based on football, a sport that does not have a big following in the country. But what about ‘Bade Miyan Chote Miyan’? The film saw veteran star Akshay Kumar team up with the young Tiger Shroff, with Prithiviraj added to get eyeballs in the South! At least, that should have stirred some interest!

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Where does the fault lie? What happened to those Rs 500 crore+ grossers that we were promised? They were probably myths. Eid is typically a time for Salman Khan’s films, but even his last few films failed to draw the crowds despite having been released on Eid.

The Salman films did not match up to expectations, but they did manage face-saving initial collections. Now, what has emerged with these two films is that the viewers have shown total indifference. For one thing, multiplex admission rates don’t attract Eid crowds. Nor are they attractive to the others.

The exhibition trade, instead of seeing the need for rationalising admission rates, are trying to lure the viewers with temporary sops such as ‘buy one get one free’ and ‘watch four films for Rs 349’, and by observing ‘cinema day’, ‘cinema lovers day’, and so on.

Now that is not a very bright idea. The audience that was willing to pay more than Rs 349 for one ticket is being undermined by you. Instead, you should find ways to compete with OTT platforms and the only possible solution seems to be rationalising admission rates,

The same Indian movie buffs who were the kind who loved to crowd the cinemas to take in the ‘first day first show’ are now willing to wait long enough for the movie till it becomes available on OTT!

How much does a monthly subscription to one of the major OTT platforms costs? They have slabs, depending on the duration of the subscription, in the range of Rs 300-400, or

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thereabouts?

It comes with the choice of watching a film in the leisurely ambience of a viewer’s home with family and friends! For the price of an annual OTT subscription, all one can buy is, at best, three or four tickets for just one film!

It is an established tradition that people love to watch a film on a big screen and, so far, that is what has kept the cinemas in business. It now looks like this old tradition is in the process of becoming a thing of the past. And then television screens are getting bigger and a cinema hall popcorn worth Rs 200 can easily be popped at home for as little as Rs 10 a packet of

kernel. And there’s no need to chew it like rubber!

Coming back to ‘Maidaan’ and ‘Bade Miyan Chote Miyan’, both the films were released on April 11, and there are reviews, memes and video reviews about them which are more entertaining than the films themselves!

Piracy Follows Digital Path

A criminal is always a step ahead of the law and this is an age-old belief borne out of experience.

There have been various kinds of piracy when it comes to the film industry. It did not start only after the video format arrived, although it became rampant and easier.

In the era of physical film prints, it was different. It was more a case of robbery than piracy. A film’s positive release prints were in transit till it completed an 18-month run through a film distribution territory. A film in those days did not do Rs 500 crore in a few days and except from those who invest in films, people at large did not care how much it collected.

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They either liked a film or did not. It took around 18 months by when it recovered its investment and made profits, if any.

A film had a merry run and went around the different parts of a circuit. Soon, there came the first idea of home entertainment in the form of the video format. The scene was to change dramatically, probably never to be repaired.

The video format brought with it video piracy. Film prints were hijacked for a few hours while they were in transit or in cahoots with a cinema management. Video cassettes gave way to discs with improved quality and now piracy thrives on digital media.

There are portals that show only pirated videos, which are made available on the same day, albeit within an hour of a film’s theatrical release! Then there is piracy borne out of rivalry among filmmakers or actors. I don’t know who does it and how, but links to a new film are posted on YouTube soon after its release.

The Motion Picture of Association (MPA) is a powerful body representing the film business in the US. It has approached the US Congress to help curb digital piracy, which not only eats into box-office collections, but also affects the jobs of many. The MPA has a list of websites that engage in piracy and want the US Congress to block these sites.

I don’t know if blocking a website solves the problem. People find ways to access such websites. In our film industry, each filmmaker has to fend for himself. Neither fellow filmmakers, nor the associations help. And there are too many of the latter!

–IANS

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Akshay Kumar turns ‘shayar’ on a leisure day, reflects on struggles of life

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Akshay Kumar turns ‘shayar’ on a leisure day, reflects on struggles of life

Akshay Kumar turns ‘shayar’ on a leisure day, reflects on struggles of life

Mumbai, July 22 (IANS) Bollywood’s ‘Khiladi’ Akshay Kumar, who is on holiday is in the mood for some ‘shayari’ and has shared a gem by poet Bashir Badr.

Taking to Instagram, Akshay, who has 67.7 million followers on the photo-sharing application, dropped a picture with a shayari written on it.

The shayari reads: “Aankhon mein raha, dil mein utar kar nahi dekha… Kashti ke musafir ne samandar nahi dekha! Be-waqt agar jaaunga, sab chaunk padenge… Ek umr hui, din mein kabhi, ghar nahi dekha! Jis din se chala hoon, meri manzil pe nazar hai… Aankhon ne kabhi meel ka patthar nahi dekha! Yeh phool mujhe koi virasat mein mile hain? Tumne mera kaanton bhara bistar nahi dekha! Yaaron ki mohabbat ka yaqeen kar liya maine… Phoolon mein chupaaya hua khanjar nahi dekha!”

Akshay captioned the post as: “On a holiday and in the mood to read some shayari. Came across this gem by Bashir Badr sahab. Kya khoob likha hai!”

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The 56-year-old actor has a career spanning over 30 years and is the recipient of the National Film Award and the Padma Shri.

He marked his debut as the lead with the 1991 film ‘Saugandh’. His breakthrough came in the 1992 action thriller film ‘Khiladi’, directed by Abbas-Mustan. The movie stars Ayesha Jhulka, Deepak Tijori and Sabeeha, while Prem Chopra, Shakti Kapoor, Anant Mahadevan and Johnny Lever played pivotal roles.

Akshay has then featured in movies like ‘Sainik’, ‘Mohra’, ‘Main Khiladi Tu Anari’, ‘Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi’, ‘Dil To Pagal Hai’, ‘International Khiladi’, ‘Khiladi 420’, ‘Dhadkan’, ‘Awara Paagal Deewana’, ‘Khakee’, ‘Garam Masala’, ‘Bhool Bhulaiyaa’, ‘Housefull’, ‘OMG – Oh My God!’, among numerous others.

He recently starred in ‘Sarfira’ directed by Sudha Kongara and produced by 2D Entertainment, Abundantia Entertainment and Cape Of Good Films. It also features Radhika Madan.

Akshay next has ‘Khel Khel Mein’, ‘Sky Force’, ‘Singham Again’, ‘Jolly LLB 3’, ‘Hera Pheri 3’, and the Marathi film ‘Vedat Marathe Veer Daudle Saat’ in his kitty.

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–IANS

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Shahid's wife Mira Kapoor spills the beans on her obsession

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Shahid's wife Mira Kapoor spills the beans on her obsession

Shahid's wife Mira Kapoor spills the beans on her obsession

Mumbai, July 22 (IANS) Bollywood actor Shahid Kapoor’s wife Mira Rajput Kapoor, who is currently on a family vacation to Europe, has shared some glimpses from her shopping spree, revealing her obsession with the crockery set.

An avid social media user, Mira, who has 4.7 million followers on Instagram, took to the Stories section and shared a peek into her vacation. She dropped a snap of crockeries — colourful plates.

She has captioned it as: “It is an obsession…”

In another post, Mira shared a picture of flowers and a couch. It is captioned as: “A day for wellness.”

Earlier, she also gave a peek into her ‘delicious vegan summer lunch!’ in a London cafe.

Shahid married Mira in July 2015. The couple have two kids — daughter Misha, and son Zain.

Shahid made his debut with the 2003 romantic comedy film ‘Ishq Vishk’, directed by Ken Ghosh. The film also starred Amrita Rao and Shenaz Treasurywala.

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He then went on to star in movies like ‘Fida’, ‘Dil Maange More’, ’36 China Town’, ‘Vivah’, ‘Jab We Met’, ‘Kismat Konnection’, ‘Kaminey’, ‘Phata Poster Nikhla Hero’, ‘Haider’, ‘Padmaavat’, ‘Kabir Singh’, ‘Jersey’, among others.

He was last seen in the science fiction romantic comedy ‘Teri Baaton Mein Aisa Uljha Jiya’.

Shahid will be next seen as a police officer in the upcoming adrenaline-pumping action thriller, ‘Deva’. The movie also features Pooja Hegde and Pavail Gulati.

‘Deva’ is directed by Rosshan Andrrews, and produced by Siddharth Roy Kapur, the film promises an action-packed roller-coaster ride full of thrills and drama.

It is set to release on February 14, 2025.

–IANS

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Madhuri Dixit, hubby Shriram Nene learn life lessons from son Arin

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Madhuri Dixit, hubby Shriram Nene learn life lessons from son Arin

Madhuri Dixit, hubby Shriram Nene learn life lessons from son Arin

Mumbai, July 22 (IANS) The cardiovascular surgeon and husband of Bollywood actress Madhuri Dixit, Shriram Madhav Nene, has shared a video of their son Arin giving life lessons on the forms of expression.

Dr Nene, who has 696K followers on the photo-sharing application on Instagram, shared a reel video, wherein we can see his son Arin talking about valuable life lessons.

The video shows Dr Nene and Madhuri carefully and happily listening to their bundle of joy.

The snippet shows Arin saying: “I think everyone has both of those sides to themselves and they pick different ways to express them. But at the end of the day, art in all forms is a form of expression. It can be anything. It could be paint, you sing, you cook, but we all find ways to express ourselves.”

“It could be through Excel spreadsheets that you find a way. Maybe you colour-code everything. You should never doubt that you can’t pick something out. I think that there are things that you must learn early. And it will be a lot harder if you do it later. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible,” shared Arin.

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He further added: “I’ve known there’s this one jazz pianist who is Japanese and he started learning at the age of 18, and then he would go on to put out amazing works. His name is Rio Fukui. He is fantastic, and he started very late in life and his work is some of the stuff that inspires me to learn.”

The post is captioned: “Never a dull moment when the boys lean in and teach us! Always listening to our youngsters,” followed by a red heart emoji.

Madhuri had tied the knot with Shriram in October 1999. The couple have two sons — Arin and Ryan.

On the work front, Madhuri was last seen in the movie ‘Maja Ma’. It stars Gajraj Rao, Ritwik Bhowmik, Barkha Singh, Srishti Shrivastava and Simone Singh in pivotal roles.

–IANS

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Shiv Sena demands closure of ‘Bigg Boss OTT 3’ for showing obscene scenes

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Shiv Sena demands closure of ‘Bigg Boss OTT 3’ for showing obscene scenes

Shiv Sena demands closure of ‘Bigg Boss OTT 3’ for showing obscene scenes

Mumbai, July 22 (IANS) Shiv Sena legislator Manisha Kayande on Monday urged the Mumbai Police Commissioner for the immediate closure of the ‘Bigg Boss OTT 3’ show due to obscenity, saying that the OTT show has crossed all limits.

She pointed out that in the episode of ‘Bigg Boss OTT 3’ aired on July 18 showed the actors doing very lewd and disgusting acts in front of the camera.

“Even kids watch this show. So this show should be stopped immediately. Strict action should be taken against the producers of this show and the CEO of the broadcasting company by filing a case under cyber crime. A written request has been made to the Commissioner of Police to investigate the matter,” said Kayande, who is also the state Secretary and Spokesperson of Shiv Sena

Kayande also blamed the actors for trampling social values by crossing all boundaries of family relations.

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She said that she will soon meet the Union Information and Broadcasting Minister to demand that OTT also be brought under the purview of the censor board.

–IANS

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Santosh Singh opens up on fickleness of entertainment industry

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Santosh Singh opens up on fickleness of entertainment industry

Santosh Singh opens up on fickleness of entertainment industry

Mumbai, July 22 (IANS) Director Santosh Singh, who recently helmed the streaming series ‘Ranneeti: Balakot & Beyond’, has shared his thoughts on the fickleness of the film industry.

Santosh has experienced both the highs and lows of an artiste’s career.

Reflecting on his journey, the director shared that change is an intrinsic part of the job.

Santosh was praised for his work on the streaming series ‘Broken but Beautiful season 1’, which starred Vikrant Massey and Harleen Sethi.

However, despite the show’s success, he was not involved in the subsequent seasons.

Santosh accepts this as a common occurrence in the industry.

The director told IANS: “Directing ‘Broken but Beautiful season 1’ was an incredible experience. The love and appreciation I still receive from fans is heartwarming. Although I was offered to direct season 2, it didn’t work out due to date issues. But that’s just how our industry operates. Interestingly, I ended up directing ‘Apharan season 2’ even though I wasn’t involved in season 1. As directors, we often find ourselves on both spectrums, and you can’t really complain about it.”

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Santosh shared that from his early days as an assistant, he realised that one is only as good as their last release. It’s all about the quality of your work. This understanding has shaped how he approaches his profession and career.

The director firmly believes that if your film and its promotions are good, it will succeed.

“I am just happy about the opportunities I have been receiving so far. I am super excited for my upcoming comedy film ‘Nausikhiye’, starring Shreya Dhanwanthary, Abhimanyu Dasani, and Amol Parashar. It will be released in theatres soon, and I can’t wait for the audience to watch it,” he added.

–IANS

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