Expecting a cricket-loving nation to be absorbed in the ongoing World Cup, several producers have deferred the release of their films till the end of March, when the tournament concludes. This move might result in a spate of movies hitting the silver screen in a relatively short span.
Anticipating this situation, a question that crops up is, will the filmgoers be enthusiastic enough to watch all the movies or, on the flip side, too much of a choice might end up in a low attendance?
Says prominent financier Harish Sughand, “If we talk about the post-World Cup scenario, I don't think that there would any drastic changes. The film industry is going through a lean phase and any big release might only steer it for the moment.”
But there are producers who agree that timing their release after the World Cup is right. “As India is a cricket-loving nation, it's apt on the part of the producers to postpone the release of their films,” avers Bunty Walia, “If we consider the situation after the World Cup, it would be the survival of the fittest.”
Manmohan Shetty of Adlabs seconds that. “Several producers have systematically planned the release of their movies after the World Cup. There would not be more than two films per week after the finals,” he affirms.
But it's not cricket alone that prompted several producers to postpone their films. “The month of March is considered to be examination period, when children, who form a major proportion of the film audience, don't turn up to the movie halls. Hopefully, the oncoming months should bring a positive feedback,” Shetty adds.
Leading distributor Shyam Shroff also feels that only the best will survive. “After the World Cup a number of big-budget movies will be released, but the bottomline is that the movie with the best content will win the race,” he says.
But the producers should time the release of their films only after weighing the pros and cons, post-World Cup. For, the common man does not have the time, money or inclination to watch two/three films every week.
Mukesh Desai of Super Cassettes Industries Ltd. agrees. “The industry should undertake some judicious planning while releasing films after the World Cup. I firmly believe that people will come to theatres after they've had enough of cricket. Even the ladies, who constitute a considerable proportion of the audience, are glued to their TV sets these days, but the day is not far when they will also switchover to films,” he says.
Let's hope that the business booms after March 23.