BREAKING NEWS

Padmaavat has done India proud, says Hirachand Dand-President of Film Exporters Association

By Manishaa R

The President of the Indian Film Exporters Association, Hirachand Dand has hailed the phenomenal success of Padmaavat in North America, describing it as a celebration of “India’s second biggest masterpiece after Baahubali”. Dand who has been closely tracking the overwhelming overseas response to the film, added that there was a huge craze for the film not only in North America but even the region of East Africa where there is a market for select Indian films, “I was in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam last week and it is drawing housefull crowds there. I also learnt that the film is doing exceptionally well in Kenya and Tanzania. Moreover it has done exceptional business in the Gulf too with the first week collections at 10.8 million Dirhams. But the business in North America could be considered as over the top. The audiences in the overseas territories are completely bowled over by the film and its grandeur. Padmaavat has certainly done India proud,” he said.

The Ranveer Singh-Deepika Padukone-Shahid Kapoor starrer which set the record of being the highest single day grosser in North America at $1.85 million on January 27 and later the all-time biggest opening weekend at $4.9 million (first four days), continues to draw packed houses in the second week. According to latest reports, the North American distributors, Viva Entertainment Group are now adding 30 more screens in the second week including 9 IMAX 3D screens to cope up with the increased demand for the film.  According to the latest tally for the North American market, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s magnum opus has collected $6,461,556  from 328 screens so far.

Going by its performance and the figures so far, Padmaavat is heading for a new record  for being the second highest grossing film overseas after Baahubali- Hirachand Dand, President, Indian Film Exporters Association

According to Dand, the audiences in North America have a fascination for larger than life costume dramas and historical films, besides romantic family films, “If I may rightly recall, Jodha Akbar also a very good run in North America. The audiences there throng to see such films,” he said.

According to latest reports, the North American distributors, Viva Entertainment Group are now adding 30 more screens in the second week including 9 IMAX 3D screens to cope up with the increased demand for the film

Dand is expecting the film to set new records in the overseas territory with the exceptional response it continues to draw, “Going by its performance and the figures so far, Padmaavat is heading for a new record  for being the second highest grossing film overseas after Baahubali. The film is also performing exceptionally well in Srilanka, Australia, New Zealand Singapore, Germany and several other pockets in the overseas territory,” he said.

 

BREAKING NEWS

With #Padmaavat heading for a solo release, exhibitors screening film demand security cover for theatres

Exhibitors who had earlier opted to screen Padman over Padmaavat considering it a safe bet, are now looking at screening Padmaavat but under strict security cover

By Manishaa R

Did Sanjay Leela Bhansali make a smart move by requesting Akshay Kumar to defer the release of Padman? According to sections in the trade, Bhansali decided that only a solo release for Padmaavat would ensure that the magnum opus would get its due at the box-office, especially since a majority of exhibitors had decided to opt for Padman, due to the increasing threats by the Karni Sena.  While the Supreme Court judgment had come as a shot in the arm for the Padmaavat makers, the bigger roadblock was anxious exhibitors who were skeptical about screening the film in the wake of latest incidents of a ticket counter being burnt in Faridabad and a cinema hall being vandalized in Bihar, besides threats to burn down theatres in Chhattisgarh. According to veteran Delhi exhibitor, Joginder Kumar Mahajan who owns three single-screen theatres in Delhi, a majority of single screen owners in Delhi had made up their mind about allotting screens to Akshay Kumar’s Padman, since none of them wanted to risk the security of their theatres, “Which exhibitor would like to take the risk of theatres being attacked and broken down? All of us considered Padman as a safe and viable box-office bet. There were only a couple of single screens who had chosen to play Padmaavat but they were undecided too due to the deteriorating law and order,” Mahajan revealed, adding that exhibitors were now in a difficult predicament with the release of Padman being postponed.

“The authorities made it clear that the police would be busy with security arrangements for Republic Day and it would be impossible to arrange security in cinemas”- Joginder Mahajan, Delhi Exhibitor

According to him, with the release of Padman being deferred, Padmaavat would be the only other option and the onus would now be on exhibitors to look into security arrangements themselves. More so because the Delhi administration bluntly refused to provide security cover for theatres due to Republic Day celebrations, “The authorities made it clear that the police would be busy with security arrangements for Republic Day and it would be impossible to arrange security in cinemas.” According to him, the producers Viacom should have decided to release the film on a day other than Republic Day, “They are aware that there is a security threat to theatres in releasing the film and the administration cannot provide increased security on that day,” he said

Meanwhile the other exhibitors are firmly planning to ask the Government to provide security measures. Bihar exhibitor, Vishek Chauhan, who controls a chain of eight theatres single screen theatres, said that it was imperative for the administration to provide security to theatres for the release of the film, “I learnt about the incident of a theatre being vandalized in Muzaffarpur. I believe the theatre was exhibiting the old poster of Padmavati. I also noticed that there is a lot of skepticism among exhibitors in Bihar. Some cinema owners are being persuaded at a local level not to release the film and morally being blackmailed too. Also if miscreants start breaking glass panes and tearing down seats in any cinema hall, it would result a threat to the security of the patrons. We will have to talk to our respective Zilla Parishads and release the film subject to their providing security cover,” Chauhan said.

“All these protests will stop once the film releases and word of mouth spreads that it is the best tribute to Rani Padmavati” – Bihar exhibitor Vishek Chauhan

However he added that the threats and protests would die down once Padmaavat settled in the theatres, “All these protests will stop once the film releases and word of mouth spreads that it is the best tribute to Rani Padmavati,” he said adding that the protesters had no justification anymore to continue with their anti-Padmavati tirade, “I am a Rajput myself who believes in respecting culture and tradition but I fail to understand what the protests are all about. First they said that Bhansali was distorting history. Now Bhansali has claimed it is fiction and not history, stating that the film is based on Padmavat- the poem and not Padmavati. When the makers come out with a front page ad in national news clarifying that this is a work of fiction, based on imagination and clearly claim that the movie is not part of history, what are the protests about?” he asked.

Meanwhile the COEAI (Cinematograph Owners and Exhibitors Association of India) which has member exhibitors from Maharashtra, Gujarat and Karnataka, has decided to write to the Government asking for security measures at all theatres where Padmaavat will be screened, “We are planning to write to the Home Ministry, Central and State Governments, that we need protection for those cinemas which choose to screen the film. Also the big question is whether the Government or the producers will compensate if the cinemas are damaged. More than anything else, the exhibitors are always worried about the safety of their patrons,” Nitin Datar, ex-President of COEAI revealed.

“We are planning to write to the Home Ministry, Central and State Governments, that we need protection for those cinemas which choose to screen the film” – Nitin Datar, Ex-President COEAI

As of now the battle lines are clearly drawn for the January 25th release of Padmaavat, until the Karni Sena members catch the film and conclude that their protests were all futile and the film only glorifies the valour of the Rajputs.

BOX-OFFICE NEWS

“The protests in India have raised the anticipation for #Padmaavat in neighbouring Srilanka”

By Manishaa R

Kalapi Nagada, the Srilanka distributor of Padmaavat talks about the craze for the film in the neighbouring country and how the Ministry intervened when the release was abruptly called off in December last year.

While Padmavaat continues to be dogged by protests in India, there is a huge anticipation surrounding the release of the film in neighbouring Srilanka. According to Kalapi Nagada of Cinekorn Entertainment, the protests in India have further heightened the curiosity about the film, “The audiences there are curious to know about the controversy and the so-called history behind Padmavati and Alauddin Khilji,” Kalapi revealed, adding that the exhibitors in Srilanka were all geared up for the January 25 release of the film.

Kalapi recalled how there was a huge disappointment when the December 2017 release of the film was called off following protests, “The audiences there were unhappy about the release being called off as they were eagerly looking forward to the film. We had gone ahead with the marketing but we were forced to withdraw all the pre-release promotions after the  release was put on hold,”

The famed distributor was caught in a tight spot when the Srilankan Government sought to intervene and find out the reason for the development, “The Ministry there was curious  to know why the release of the film had been called off. Fortunately by that time the protests had intensified and the world release of Padmavati now Padmaavat, was officially called off. It became a well-known fact,” he revealed.

“We are specially releasing the Tamil dubbed version of the film in Srilanka and the audiences are eager to catch it. We are planning to release it in 75 screens across Srilanka” – Kalapi Nagada, Srilanka distributor of Padmavati

Interestingly the film is not being marketed as a Deepika Padukone starrer in Srilanka. On the contrary it is Ranveer Singh who commands a huge fan-following in Srilanka, “The audiences in Srilanka are eager to watch Ranveer Singh in the role of Alauddin Khilji. Ranveer  has a great following here and they are excited about the fact that he is back in a Sanjay Leela Bhansali film,” Kalapi revealed.

Moreover Kalapi is also releasing the  dubbed Tamil version besides the Hindi version, for Srilankan Tamil audiences, “We are specially releasing the Tamil dubbed version of the film in Srilanka and the audiences are eager to catch it. We are planning to release it in 75 screens across Srilanka, one of the largest release ever for a Sanjay Bhansali film,” Kalapi revealed.

 

 

BREAKING NEWS

Will Sanjay Bhansali accede to CBFC directive ordering 26 extensive cuts and title change in #Padmavati?

Every maker is free to challenge the CBFC directive in the Tribunal or a Higher Court; it had happened in Udta Punjab too, says former CBFC chairperson, Pahlaj Nihalani

By Manishaa R

With the CBFC reportedly ordering three disclaimers, a change in the title and 26 cuts including deletion of all realistic references to Mewar and Chittorgarh in Padmavati, the big question is whether the producers Viacom 18 and director Sanjay Leela Bhansali would agree to the extensive modifications. According to a confidential source, Bhansali was said to be extremely unhappy with the suggested cuts some of which were crucial to the story-telling but were against the idea of approaching the Film Appellate Tribunal, considering that the release of the film was already delayed. Apparently, the makers were now looking at following the CBFC directives and going ahead with the stipulated 9th February release. This is also evident from reports suggesting that the overseas release of Padmavati has been confirmed for February 9 in Canada and US.

Among the three disclaimers which are sought to be placed at the beginning, end and after the interval, are references to historical locations, Queen Padmini and the Ghoomar song, besides other pointers which reflect the authenticity of the storyline. But the biggest setback is the directive to now rename the film, Padmavat, which would imply that the story would be entirely based on the epic poem written by Malik Muhammad Jyasi.

Meanwhile Pahlaj Nihalani has lashed out at the ongoing CBFC chief for succumbing to political pressure and delaying the release of Padmavati thereby causing huge losses to the producers and the entire film industry, “This is a complete loss to the producer and the industry, simply because of the delay caused by the CBFC in viewing the film. As per the rules, the CBFC should have watched the film independently, without allowing the body to come under pressure from the Government. It is very obvious that there was a political move to delay the film,” Nihalani said.

The former CBFC Chairperson pointed out that the protests and the subsequent political pressure would not have come into play if the film had been cleared on time, “The problems intensified after the delay in the clearance.  The CBFC could have seen the film as per the queue of applications and ordered any number of cuts as per the guidelines,” he said.

This is a complete loss to the producer and industry, caused by the CBFC delay in viewing the film. As per the rules, CBFC should have watched the film independently without allowing the body to come under pressure from the Government- Pahlaj Nihalani, former CBFC chief

Nihalani also said that filmmakers, who were not satisfied with the cuts ordered by CBFC, were free to challenge it in the Tribunal or a higher court, “I am not aware about the cuts and modifications but it all depends on the maker and whether or not he is happy with the suggested cuts. He has full liberty to go to the Film Appellate Tribunal or a higher court if he is not in a hurry to release the film,” Nihalani said. He cited the instance of the Shahid Kapoor-Alia Bhatt starrer, Udta Punjab, when he was the Chairperson and the CBFC had ordered 13 cuts in the film, “The producers went to court, appealing against the decision and the film was released with minimal cuts. The court had upheld the freedom of expression of the makers,” he said. At that time the Bombay High Court had directed the CBFC to issue certification to the film with an ‘A’ certificate and a modified disclaimer, adding that a filmmaker had the right to his creative freedom of expression.