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  Entertainment   In Other News  12 May 2017  Will Baahubali slay Sarkar, Bindu?

Will Baahubali slay Sarkar, Bindu?

THE ASIAN AGE. | MANISHAA R
Published : May 12, 2017, 12:08 am IST
Updated : May 12, 2017, 1:24 pm IST

Baahubali is still running with 80 per cent occupancy on weekdays and 95 per cent occupancy on weekends.

A still from 'Baahubali 2: The Conclusion'.
 A still from 'Baahubali 2: The Conclusion'.

Even after two weeks, the Baahubali 2: The Conclusion craze is refusing to subside at the box office. With that, the jubilant exhibitors who have witnessed a windfall of collections are reluctant to vacate their screens for the two big Hindi films releasing today. The Amitabh Bachchan starrer, Sarkar 3 and Parineeti Chopra starrer, Meri Pyaari Bindu are in waiting. Apparently, Yashraj Films had already booked select screens for Meri Pyaari Bindu well in advance, leaving Sarkar 3, at the receiving end, with exhibitors in no mood to relent.

Veteran Mumbai distributor and exhibitor, Ramesh Sippy, who controls the prominent Chitra cinema in Mumbai and the Top 3 multiplexes in Saurashtra, has decided to forego Sarkar 3 and Meri Pyaari Bindu at Chitra and allot only a few shows to them in his multiplex, since Baahubali continues to run to packed houses at both places. “It is not a matter of choice. It is a compelling decision to play Baahubali for all the shows at my single screen theatre. The film has been booked for an open and indefinite run at a majority of single screen theatres. It is not binding on the exhibitors but here both the distributor and the exhibitors are eager to continue with the film,” he says.

Ayushmann Khurrana and Parineeti ChopraAyushmann Khurrana and Parineeti Chopra

Multiplex and theatrical business consultant, Sanjay Dalia, Founder and CEO of Thrive Consulting, says, “Baahubali is still running with 80 per cent occupancy on weekdays and 95 per cent occupancy on weekends. Also the film has turned out to be a blessing in disguise for cinema owners after being starved of collections in the past three months. They have an agreement with the Baahuabli distributor for an open run so they can’t discontinue it till it is doing well and until they continue to get good rent.” explains Dalia.

Conditions apply
Another reason why single screens are in no mood to accommodate any other film is a pre-condition set by the Baahubali distributors that they would have to forego the film if they divide and allot shows to other films, which could prove to be a risky proposition for them. Veteran Delhi exhibitor, Joginder Kumar Mahajan of Mahajan International, who owns three single screen theatres in Delhi, says, “A majority of single screen exhibitors in Delhi and the rest of India are reluctant to allot screens for the other films because the BB2 distributors have made it clear that they will have to let go of the film if they divide shows in their screens and allot them to other films. So, no exhibitor is willing to let go, considering it is still running to packed houses. I am continuing with Baahubali in my three theatres, all of which are 1,000 seaters.”

Mahajan adds that the Baahubali distributor himself postponed the release of his upcoming movie, Hindi Medium, anticipating its record run at the box-office. “He did not want his other film to suffer, which is why it was postponed to May 19 instead of its earlier release on May 12. The audience is in no mood to focus on any other film at the moment. The exhibition trade is full of buzz that both films will be sacrificed at the box-office because of Baahubali going strong,” he says. Distributor Rajesh Thadani from Mumbai agrees, “If Sarkar 3 and Meri Pyaari Bindu manage to create some sort of popularity for themselves through their story and performances, then they will be given more screens. If previously-released films do well, then other films do suffer. There have been situations where huge films were released together, such as SRK’s Raees and Hrithik Roshan’s Mohenjo Daro earlier this year.”

All in the game
Not just single screens, multiplexes which have allotted screens for the two releases, have ensured that the existing shows for Baahubali do not get affected in the bargain. According to Rajendra Singh Jyala, Vice-President, Programming and Distribution, INOX, “Since Baahubali is doing so well, it will continue to be the main attraction though we are releasing the two films. Frankly, nobody had expected in the wildest dream that Baahubali would continue to run riot at the box-office even in its third week.” Trade Analyst Vinod Mirani says, “Baahubali’s collections are going down and has been discontinued from many centres and Sarkaar 3 will get decent a number of screens.” Thadani says, “I don’t think Baahubali fever will dying out atleast, until Tubelight is released.”

The ill-logical, logic
Veteran distributor and writer and former President of Film Federation of India, J.P. Choksey, has the last word, “The reason why exhibitors are refusing to let go off Baahubali is the fact that they do not have confidence in the forthcoming releases. Even if they starred one of the three Khans or Ajay Devgn and Akshay Kumar, exhibitors would have still made way for them. Let us not forget that our industry is a hero-oriented industry,” Choksey says sidelining the fact that Big B also had a major draw at the box-office. However he is equally cynical of Baahubali’s success, “I don’t deny that Baahubali is running to packed houses and has brought the revival of the box-office but the makers are selling mythology packaged with technology and special effects. Let’s not forget the fact that there is no logic in the film but it has worked and that’s what matters,” he quipped.

Director of Sarkar 3, Ram Gopal Varma, says, “I am only the director of the film and all the production and distribution queries are handled by Eros.”

Nandu Ahuja, senior vice- president, India Theatrical, Eros International, says, “We had originally targeted 1,200 to 1,400 screens in India for Sarkar 3 and we have almost achieved that target. I have a show every two hours starting form 9 am to 10 pm; that takes care of the multiplexes. So it’s contrary to what a lot of people are thinking that we are not getting screen space.”        

— Inputs from Uma Ramasubramanian

Tags: baahubali 2: the conclusion, sarkar 3, meri pyaari bindu