Mumbai, Nov. 19 -- With cinemas closed on Sunday after Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray passed away, the business of this year's two big Diwali releases, Jab Tak Ha Jaan (JTHJ) and Son Of Sardaar (SOS) has been severely affected. "We are expecting losses of roughly Rs. 3-4 cr for JTHJ and Rs. 2.5 cr for SOS," says exhibitor-distributor Akshaye Rathi. But the two films are likely to make up the numbers as they will have no competition till Aamir Khan's Talaash hits the screens on November 30.
However, exhibitors are facing losses, says Girish Wankhede, deputy general manager, Cinemax India: "Over Saturday and Sunday, we lost Rs. 2 cr in total."
Patrons of Big Cinemas, who bought tickets were offered a choice between refunds or watching the film at a later date, says Ashish Saxena, COO, Big Cinemas. At the time of going to press, no one could confirm whether cinemas would reopen today or not. "It depends on the instructions we get from the police," says Saxena.
(As told to Shalvi Mangaokar)
TIGER PASSES, INDUSTRY PAUSES
The whole industry came to a standstill after news of Bal Thackeray's death broke.
Film shoots cancelled following Bal Thackeray's demise
As the announcement of Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray's death broke, four film shoots were instantly cancelled. Two of Karan Johar's productions - Ungli and Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani (YJHD), Sanjay Leela Bhansali's tentatively titled Ram Leela and Ram Gopal Varma's 26/11 were postponed.
A source from Bhansali's unit says, "With an incident like this, there was no way we would continue the shoot. It will resume once the situation is under control." A source from the unit of Ungli says, "We have a long schedule, so we hope to get back to shooting today, but only if everything is settled." At this point, all the shoots in the city stand cancelled. No one's issued statements on when they will resume.
Apurva Mehta, CEO, Dharma Productions says, "Out of respect, all of us have cancelled shoots. We will resume soon." Veteran singer Lata Mangeshkar, who was good friends with the late Bal Thackeray, also postponed the launch of her music label.
(As told to Shalvi Mangaokar)
Entertainment channels blacked out by cable operators in parts of the city
Those who weren't present at Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray's funeral on Sunday were all out of options to keep themselves distracted at their homes. On November 18, various entertainment channels -Star Plus, Sony, Colors and Zee - in many parts of Mumbai were all blacked out. However, news channels, English entertainment channels, sports and kids' channels continued to air without any disruption.
"Channels have been shut in some areas by the Shiv Sena loyalists. The viewers were told that a technical glitch was responsible for the temporary situation," reveals a source from a prominent channel. Sony's fiction head Virendra Shahane feels business will definitely be affected due to the blackout. "Whenever there is a blackout or telecast is shut for any reason, channels are always affected. Most cable operators have done so due to their alliance with Shiv Sena, but we weren't aware of the same," he says.
(As told to Kavita Awaasthi)
TV shows cancel their shoots; finale of India's Got Talent postponed
As Mumbai shut down after news of Bal Thackeray's demise, TV show shoots also came to a halt. India's Got Talent (IGT, on Colors) was hit the worst, with its finale now pushed back. The channel spokesperson says, "IGT's finale has been pushed to next week in honour of Balasaheb Thackeray." The episode meant to air on Sunday, featuring the top 12 contestants, was scheduled to be shot on Saturday.
Several other shows were affected. Yash Patnaik, producer of Veera, says, "No one asked us to stop, but we didn't want to risk cancelling midway." Hiten Tejwani, who was shooting for the show Pavitra Rishta on Saturday, says, "We wrapped up quickly as unit members who travel by trains were worried about reaching home. I guess we will have to shoot today (Monday), or else, what are we going to air?"
(As told to Kavita Awaasthi)
BOLLYWOOD REMEMBERS THACKERAY
He had a great sense of humour: Anil Kapoor
I was born in Chembur and lived in Koliwada for several years, so I saw Balasaheb grow in stature almost from the time the Shiv Sena was formed in 1966. I would like to believe that I have always had a certain connect with him, because at a time when most actors came from outside Mumbai, I was a Mumbaikar who had seen him from close quarters.
He was very fond of films. Together, we watched Woh Saat Din (1983), Mr India (1987), Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja (1993) and a few others. In fact, we had the great honour of having him at the launch of Roop Ki Rani. And after I popularised the word 'jhakaas', whenever he met me, Balasaheb would say with great fervour, 'jhakaas!'
Balasaheb had a great sense of humour and fun. I can say with confidence that he was not your usual serious leader because I was exposed to his fun side too. Once, we had a beer together at Matoshree. And even before I got home, a crate of beer he had sent was awaiting me! I hadn't met him much lately because of his illness. But I met Uddhav on Friday. We were optimistic about his recovery. But now he is no more. May his soul rest in peace.
(As told to Prashant Singh)
Anurag Basu, filmmaker
"Bal Thackeray was loved, respected and feared in equal measures. Maharashtra politics will miss his charisma."
Kumar Taurani, producer
"Balasaheb was a real tiger. We must pray that his soul rests in peace. I met him a couple of times, he was very nice. It's a big loss for Mumbai, Maharashtra and India."
Sunil Bohra, producer
"He was my grandfather's friend. My family has been in Mumbai for the last 50 years. We considered him a family member. It's a personal loss for us."
Rahul Mittra, producer
"Balasaheb was a magnetic personality. The way he connected to the masses was amazing. He was also a huge film buff. I hope his legacy continues."
Subhash Ghai, filmmaker
"A writer and cartoonist, he helped our industry whenever we needed him - a rare combination of artist and politician and a man of guts. God bless his soul."
Rishi Kapoor, actor
"We are all saddened by the news. A few days ago, the whole family went to see him, praying that he pulls through."
Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.