When Aamir Khan talks, everyone listens. However, one would think that getting the multiplex theatres to agree to do away with an interval for all the screenings of his new production Dhobi Ghat which his wife Kiran Rao has directed, would seem not only like a tall order but an impossible ideal to achieve.
Theatres, especially the posh multiplex chains depend on revenue earned through the sales of snacks, popcorn and cold drinks. To convince multiplex theatres to do away with the interval and therefore forego a sizeable chunk of their earnings from the screenings seemed like an impossible dream.
But Aamir has done it again. He has achieved the impossible. After audaciously advertising Dhobi Ghat as a 95-minute film with no interval, Aamir personally visited the owners and managers of the multiplex chains. They've apparently now given it to him in writing that there would be no interval in the screenings of Dhobi Ghat.
Not just the multiplex chains and single theatres in Mumbai, Aamir has personally secured a similar never-before no-interval clause from theatres across India. Says a source, "When Aamir decided that the narrative of Dhobi Ghat should not be interrupted with an interval, he personally requested the multiplex and single-theatre owners to understand his point of view. At first they protested about the losses that would occur if audiences do not step out to buy snacks. But then Aamir gently suggested, he would screen Dhobi Ghat only in the theatres that agreed to do away with the interval. All the theatre chains across the country came around."
Apparently, the implementation of the no-intermission clause for Dhobi Ghat will be closely monitored across the country. Errant theatres sneaking in samosa space into Dhobi Ghat would be guilty of a breach of contract.
Siddharth Roy Kapur of UTV, the co-producers of Dhobi Ghat confirms Aamir's firm stand on the mid-point issue. Says Kapur, "Aamir spoke to all the multiplexes and they agreed to no interval. Dhobi Ghat is only 95 minutes long and structured to be watched in one sitting without an interval so yes, the multiplexes have seen the wisdom of his logic."
Aamir's close friend filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra who has been championing the cause of the abolition of the ritual of the abolition sees this as a big breakthrough in the process of guarding the creative sanctity of our films.
Says Mehra, "Intervals are an unnatural brake applied in the middle of a film to sell samosas. There is no first-half and second-half in a film. This is an artificial division created purely to generate revenues through food sales."