MUMBAI: Top Hindi film actors and producers Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan today came together with the United Producers & Distributors’ Forum to advocate for equal revenue share from national multiplex chains.
The two actors expressed their regret to the audience about the film industry’s inability to release films and appealed to the single screens to bear with this issue and stand by the industry.
Leading the conference Aamir said, "There has to be a partnership of equals between the two parties and both have to work out their business with the 50 per cent share. It is essential for the multiplexes to understand that this is a volatile business, if you want a steady flow of money then this is not the place to be in."
Shah Rukh added, "This is not a fight about two per cent share, it is a fight for equality. We can earn that two per cent from anywhere if we wish to. We want ‘Fair Rights for Friday Nights’ and in the long run, it is the smaller films that will benefit most from this. So we plead to those filmmakers to please hold back so that we can get them a better share. This is not a strike, it is just some repair work in the system so kindly bear."
Some of the other points addressed at the press conference included various multiplex chains indulging in irregularities such as charging INR, service tax and entertainment tax despite exemptions and eliminations. To this Aamir said, "When Taare Zameen Par released, various multiplexes told me to not apply for tax exemption, but I still went ahead with it and I have noticed that some of them have still deducted tax in spite of it being exempted."
When queried about the feasibility of the performance linked revenue share model, UTV Software Communications chairman and managing director Ronnie Screwvala said, "A film’s performance is very subjective. Our aim during a film’s release is to up our box office share and not to increase the occupancy level at theatres."
Commenting on the term ‘mafia’ being used to slander the multiplexes publicly, Shah Rukh said, "We do not regard them as mafia." He further added, "We are living only because of the audience. We are the employees of the audience and not of the multiplexes."
"Times are changing and there is a need to re-look at the revenue sharing model. The gross and net profits of films have increased over the years. However, the share of distributors from multiplexes has remained the same as it when there were only single screens," added Aamir.
Federation of Western India Cine Employees chairman Dinesh Chaturvedi also expressed his solidarity towards the issue.
Also present at the conference were Mukesh Bhatt, Ramesh Sippy, Rakesh Roshan, Boney Kapoor, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Sajid Nadiadwala, Bhushan Kumar, Kishen Kumar, Ratan Jain, Sanjay Gupta, Harry Baweja, David Dhawan, Ashutosh Gowarikar, Ritesh Sidhwani, Rakyesh Omprakash Mehra, Kunal Kohli, Manmohan Shetty amongst many others. From the corporate studios The Indian Film Company’s (Studio 18) Sandeep Bhargava, BIG Pictures’ ‘Kamal Gianchandani and Eros International’s Sunil Lulla were present.
All major film corporate companies and independent film production houses announced that they stick by their postponement of releases in national multiplexes. If need be they will explore a business models to play movies only in single screens if the matter is not resolved. Some of the films that are likely to be affected by this are: Kambakkhth Ishq, Love Aaj Kal, Kal Kissne Dekha, Jashn, Luck, Aladin, Kaminey, Main Aur Mrs Khanna, Wanted, New York, Shortcut – The Con Is On and Life Partner.
In the mean time single screens will get a breather with the re-release of some old films from 17 April onwards.