Prajakata Mali, Shirya Pilgaonkar, Sheetal Dabholkar
 
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High Court orders Screening of Marathi films mandatory in Mumbai
17 June 10 | © MMW News

Gone are the days, when Marathi films were released in only two or three single screen theatres in Mumbai. In the recent past, some of the Marathi films even saw the multiplexes opening their doors, looking at the overwhelming response they witnessed. But, the majority of the single screen theatres were reluctant to release Marathi films. Indeed, Marathi films have been doing a good business posing as a big competition for the Bollywood, especially in Mumbai. No wonder, some of the Bollywood film distributors started blocking all the theatres in Mumbai , preventing the release of Marathi films and the theatre owners only encouraged such unethical practice. This was a deliberate move to only kill the popularity of Marathi films.

Such a step motherly treatment to regional cinema received a strong opposition from Bangalore, when the South Indian Film Federation warned the theatre owners against blocking all the theatres with a new Bollywood release during the first week. It had only prevented the regional cinema to find theatres for release.And, their protest and warning did help to curb such an unprincipled practice. In a place like Mumbai, the theatre owners were only taking advantage of the neglect by Maharashtra Government and the tolerance of Marathi film makers towards this issue. There is already a government resolution of 1968, making it mandatory for theatre owners to screen a minimum of 112 shows per year. But, the theatre owners only disobeyed it and had moved to court recently challenging this resolution.

However, the latest verdict of the Bombay High Court has come timely giving a great relief to the Marathi film industry. As per this ruling, all single screen theatres across greater Mumbai will have to screen at least 44 shows of Marathi films every year. This will have to be implemented in such a way that at least for four week in a year they will have to screen 11 shows of Marathi films per week, that too between 12 noon and 9 pm. Isn't that a great victory for Marathi film makers ? MMW takes this opportunity to congratulate the entire Marathi film industry on this happy occasion; but at the same time expect quality films, so as to keep the audience with them.

There were arguments and counter arguments before the division bench of Justice gave their ruling. Some of the arguments in favour of theatre owners also went to the extent of saying that Marathi people were more keen on watching Hindi films. But, the sensible division bench passed the most welcome verdict which goes in favour of Marathi film industry. Nobody should take Marathi people for granted. They are admirers of good cinema. If there are bad Bollywood films, they always turn their back to them; but if there are good quality films no matter whether in Marathi or Hindi, they never miss them. Marathi film makers should take note of this audience psychology and offer something new and different to attract good crowd. And who says, Marathi films are only watched by Marathi people ? In the recent past, Marathi films, released in multiplexes witnessed 50% of non marathi audience. Further, prints of Marathi films released with English sub titles, have received multiple audience even at international level.

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