It is true that the loss figure of regional cinema appears to be very small as compared to Bollywood or South Indian cinema. But this figure is not so small that it cannot be noticed or even talked about. Of course, Hindi and South Indian cinema (Tamil, Telugu etc.) have the power to bear the crisis arising out of Corona to some extent financially, but Bhojpuri, Marathi, Punjabi and Bengali cinema have not strong roots to withstand such a worldwide pandemic. Take care of yourself. According to an estimate, the regional film sector (Marathi, Punjabi and Bengali) has suffered a loss of about 500 crores or more during the Corona crisis. Bhojpuri cinema alone is facing a loss of about 100 crores. It is bitter, but it is true that even the relief amount from the cine organizations has not yielded any significant benefit.
The question is whether a producer sitting for months after making a film at a cost of two and a half crore rupees will get only 3 thousand rupees. How will I get relief from the assistance amount and for how long will it continue? Although regional cinema has been making steady progress on various OTT platforms, it is not getting the same success as Bollywood-Tollywood due to various reasons in the initial phase. A major problem of regional cinema during the Corona period seems to be increasing due to the rapid closure of single screen cinemas. Especially for Bhojpuri cinema, for which single-screen theater is the backbone, slowly there seems to be an existential threat somewhere. Because in comparison to Marathi, Punjabi and Bengali cinema, the multiplex culture for Bhojpuri cinema is currently looking far-fetched.
Din Bahurenge from multiplex?
In the month of April, when Corona was creating a furore across the country, Amrapali Dubey, the famous actress of Bhojpuri films, in an interview to an agency, expressed her views on the poor condition of the Bhojpuri film industry and said that ‘hope is left, fight is there. Just to take it to the multiplex. He expressed concern about the fast closing single screen theaters due to Corona and said, ‘Our struggle is much more than Bollywood or other regional languages. Bhojpuri films are not able to reach the multiplex.
Amrapali Dubey also hinted at the increasing vulgarity, double meaning dialogues etc. in Bhojpuri films and hoped that, ‘Just as we serve clean family portraits for television, to reach multiplexes, we have to fight for clean films. Will give When the censor’s scissors will run on objectionable things, then who will take the risk by investing his money.’
Ram Chandra Yadav also believes in clean family Bhojpuri films, but he also says something else about the deepening crisis in the Corona period. Yadav has been watching the PR of Bhojpuri films for the last ten-twelve years and says on the current situation, ‘In comparison to the year 2019, due to Corona, few films were released in the year 2020 only. However, last year when theaters were opened again with the Kovid protocol, Bhojpuri cinema showed more courage than Bollywood, especially keeping in mind Deepawali and Chhath Puja, three new Bhojpuri films were released. But it was not easy to revive the business which had been closed for several months on the basis of only three-four films. At the beginning of this year, there was some hope again, but in the name of popular films, in the month of January, Khesari Lal Yadav’s ‘Dulhan Wahi Jo Piya Man Bhaye’ could only attract attention. Looking at the current situation, nothing can be said when the theaters will open again and people will be able to watch movies as before. Many movies are waiting for release. As the days are passing, the loss is increasing. This industry is undoubtedly small, but due to Corona, it is forced to suffer a loss of at least 100 crores.’ Amrapali Dubey’s point can be understood from the success of the film ‘Sangharsh’ in the year 2018. It is said that this film of actor Khesari Lal Yadav and actress Kajal Raghavani brought back the audience going away to the theaters. Especially the female audience who had been away from cinema halls due to the deteriorating quality of Bhojpuri films. Strengthening the intention of women empowerment, the message of Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao was raised in this film and now the producer of the film Ratnakar Kumar is coming up with ‘Sangharsh 2’.
It is worth mentioning that Bhojpuri films are made in just 50-60 lakh rupees. If there is a big star, then the budget can go even one-and-a-half crores. Experts say that whatever the content is, many Bhojpuri films easily do business of 1-2 crores and earn a lot of profit. Not only this, a very popular film can earn up to ten times its cost. It is not impossible for such a film to even touch the figure of 10-12 crores.
While Bollywood films have got a lot of support from OTT platforms in the event of the closure of cinema halls, such efforts have also been made for Bhojpuri films. Last month, Filmmchi, a Bhojpuri channel owned by In10 Media Network, entered into an agreement with desi app Chingari regarding streaming of films, under which the first film ‘Loha Pehalwan’ has been released (on both the platforms). It can be expected that in the coming days, on the lines of spark, regional content will get a boost through short-video apps like Mitron Aur Mauj.
dark side of the bright picture
Google data trends about Bhojpuri films presents a shocking picture. This data shows that a larger section of the audience outside cinema halls was found searching for Bhojpuri films on the Internet than Bollywood. Although data trends reveal results for many different topics and preferences of searchers, since 2015, it has been observed that people are searching more for movies than news and cricket related searches. Or major discoveries about Bollywood movies came to the fore. It is also that in the year 2014, Indians were found searching as much about Bhojpuri films as about Tamil or Telugu language films. Since then, there has been a steady increase in the trend towards Bhojpuri films. And according to a media report published in the year 2018, Bhojpuri films have overtaken Bollywood films in interesting searches. The same trend was seen in the year 2017 as well.
Actually, many times the bright picture of Bhojpuri films does not emerge properly. For example, the trailer of Salman Khan’s recently released film ‘Radhe’ saw a record attendance of 30 million views (3 crores) in 24 hours. With Salman Khan’s next film, this record may be broken again with some new figures. But such records regarding Bhojpuri are not visible, whereas in reality such records are made there too. According to a latest news, Bhojpuri star Rakesh Mishra’s song ‘Raja Jawan Hum Boya’, the song is moving towards 100 million with 90 million views (9 crores) in a few months, while another song ‘A’ sung by him. ‘Raja Jai Na Bahriya’, has got 338 million views (33.8 crores) in about ten-eleven months.
Not only this, a record is also seen on YouTube in the name of the film ‘Sangharsh’, which has rocked the cinema hall. The film was released here a year after its release and the film garnered 10 million (1 crore) views in three days. According to the channel of World Wide Records Bhojpuri, this film has got more than 100 million views (10 crores). There are many such examples, which show that Bhojpuri is no less than anyone in terms of views on social media platforms. But neither the bright picture of this industry gets headlines nor is the story of its plight told in a manner.
Corona’s bite in the golden period
Not only in terms of content, but also in terms of money and fame, the Punjabi film industry, which has been going through a golden phase for the past few years, is also facing the brunt of Corona. A FICCI report released in April last year on the impact of Kovid-19 on the regional industry and economy tells of the deteriorating condition of the box office, according to which 700-800 crores in Bollywood and 75 to 80 crores in Punjabi film industry. There has been a decline.
In the year 2019, 61 Punjabi films were released, in which Diljit Dosanjh and Neeru Bajwa’s film ‘Shanda’ stood first in the top 10 grossing films, collecting Rs 50.50 crore (gross), while Rs 13 crore. Tarsem Jassar and Neeru Bajwa’s film ‘Uda Aida’ was at the 10th position in the collection (Gross). In Bollywood, where the opening of films of stars like Khan, Kumar, Devgan is often 30-40 crores. On the other hand, if a Punjabi film achieves even half a percent of this figure, then it is considered successful. This can be gauged from the fact that the highest-grossing Punjabi film is ‘Carry on Jatta 2’ (Rs 56.27 crore), while ‘Shadaan’ is at number two. Despite this, this industry is forced to suffer a loss of at least 100 crores due to Corona.
Ammy Virk’s film ‘Sufna’, released in February before Corona last year, earned Rs 21 crore. The gathering proved to be a hit. But Amarinder Gill’s comedy film ‘Chal Mere Putta’, which came a few days before the nationwide lockdown, had to bear the brunt of the sudden lockdown. The film collected around Rs 3 crore in the first three days. Had everything been normal, this film could have easily collected more than 5 crores in its initial phase. And this year the situation got even worse. Punjabi cinema, which has been witness to the era of successful films for the last several years, is now looking helpless in front of the beatings of Karona. Parvesh Sehgal Shankar, who is waiting for the release of his first film ‘Punjabiat’, says, ‘If all had been right, our film would have released in April last year. But due to Corona, everything is on the verge of ruin. Perhaps the cost of our film (Rs 1.65 crore) is far less than the publicity budget of a big Bollywood film. We did not think that even for such a low budget film, we would have to wait so long for the market to normalise. The path of OTT is also difficult for us. Because there regional films get less money anyway. What will we do with just 30 per cent of the cost?
According to an estimate, about 200 films of Punjabi language are waiting for release. Punjabi movies have been doing good business in some other countries including UK (Rs 2 to 7 crore), Australia (Rs 3 to 4 crore), Canada (Rs 5 to 10 crore), but it is not possible that Before India, the films should be released in the foreign market. Parvesh Sehgal Shankar is a member of Weston India Film Producers Association (WIMPA). He has received an offer of assistance amounting to three thousand rupees from the organization. He says- ‘Many people are on monthly salary. The loan amount is increasing due to the non-release of the film. In such a situation, with which mouth should the hand be extended towards this amount? Still thanks to the organization.
Sun of dim spotlight
Even Marathi cinema has not been saved from the beating of Korana. However, it is also a fact that despite all the accolades, this industry is already facing many shortcomings. And for young director Chaitanya Tamhane, who was in the news for his debut film ‘Court’ (2014) a few years ago, the month of April 2021 will never be forgotten. Court not only received the National Award for Best Feature Film at the 62nd National Film Awards ceremony, but the film was also sent to India for a nomination in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 88th Oscar Awards. It did not get a nomination in the Oscars, but the film was appreciated in many international film festivals.
But on April 13 this year, actor Veera Saathidar, who played the lead character of Narayan Kamble in the film, died due to corona, while Chaitanya’s next film ‘The Disciple’ released on Netflix on 30 April. The Disciple has been receiving a lot of appreciation since its release. But Corona’s hit was overshadowed by praise.
According to the information, after the commercial success of ‘Sairat’, which came in 2016 after ‘Court’, talks started about Marathi films, whose Hindi remake was made in the name of ‘Dhadak’ in 2018. But before Corona, that is, in 2019, about one hundred and fifty Marathi films were released, in which only half a dozen got success. The number of successful films before and after ‘Sairat’ is very limited. Despite this, due to Corona, more than 60 Marathi films are waiting for release. Usually these films can hardly recover their cost. In such a situation, it is difficult to say that whenever cinema halls open after unlock, how will this industry be able to survive.
(Disclaimer: These are the personal views of the author. The author himself is responsible for the correctness / accuracy of any information given in the article. News18Hindi is not responsible in any way for this)