The Karnataka government's decision to introduce a cap on movie ticket prices could have probably been beneficial for two good movies if implemented little earlier. Shuddhi and Urvi, which won unanimous positive reviews from audience and critics last week, are now struggling to get decent number of shows after Pawan Kalyan's Telugu film Katamarayudu snatched away most of the screens from the Kannada flicks in Bengaluru this weekend.
Katamarayudu has been released big in Bengaluru and distributors in association with the exhibitors have left no stone unturned to cash in on the craze around the Telugu movie, which has got over 260 shows per day for screening in the first weekend.
Unfortunately, it has come at the cost of two good Kannada films, which have won huge appreciation from various quarters.
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Shuddhi, which had 57 shows during weekdays, has been reduced to shocking single digit in the Garden City in spite of attracting good occupancies. "We now have eight shows in Bengaluru, which are now running into packed houses. Outside Bengaluru, we have lost all the screens. We had a decent number of shows in Mysuru and Mangalore which have been replaced by the Telugu film," Adarsh Eshwarappa, the director of Shuddhi, explains his woes.
Along with Katamarayudu, the release of biggie Raajakumara had also some impact on both the films. "If it was only about Raajakumara, we would not have been affected so badly. But the impact of massive release of Katamarayudu has almost come as a death blow to our films," Pradeep Varma, the director of Urvi, adds.
What has hurt them is the fact that the multiplexes decided to replace their movies although it enjoyed an average of 40-50 percent occupancies in theatres during weekdays. "While some Hindi and non-Kannada films had less than 20 percent occupancy, our film attracted viewers in good numbers. We were doing the best compared to all other movies. Yet, there is no space for our film," Adarsh Eshwarappa said.
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The Urvi director says that they saw seven people watching a newly-released Hindi film in a leading multiplex. "We don't understand why we are being given step-motherly treatment," Adarsh wonders.
"We are not expecting single screens to play our movies as our target audience was predominately multiplex viewers. So, we should have been given a better treatment. We are not demanding 10-20 shows from a multiplex, but a minimum of 1-2 shows daily for our survival," Pradeep Varma confesses with utmost pain.
Pradeep Varma makes it a point to tell that their anger is not on any particular film, but they are hurt by the present situation. The duo ends on the hope that the cap on Rs 200 in multiplex from April would come as a windfall to Sandalwood.
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Note: The movies, with at least 50 shows a day, require to run for six weeks to recover investments. The satellite rights and remake rights, if acquired by any, will prevent the producer from suffering major losses.