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Sandalwood faces theatre problem again

By: By: Shekhar H Hooli
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It is well known to everyone that the shortage of theatres in Karnataka is the biggest reason for the failure of the Kannada film industry. Now the Sandalwood is facing severe setback as four much-hyped and much-expected movies like Veera Parampare, Gaana Bajaana, Yaksha and Gundargovi are releasing this weekend and the producers of these films have struggled very hard to book a few good theatres in Karnataka.

A couple of years back, there were around 1000 theatres in Karnataka, but 400 of them have already been demolished due to various reasons. Only 600 theatres are now in the working conditions across the state. Another aspect should be kept in mind that all these 600 are not meant for Kannada films. These are meant for the non-Kannada movies like Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam too.

Now, the previous releases like Jackie, Kichcha Huchcha and Pancharangi are being screened in 125, 70 plus and 20 plus theatres across the state respectively. Many big budget films like Endhiran in Tamil, Khaleja and Brindavanam in Telugu and a few other non-Kannada films are being screened in hundreds of theatres. Besides these, a few Kannada films, which were released a month ago have also occupied few cinema halls. Now the question is where are the theatres for new Kannada movies that are releasing this week?

Veera Parampare has managed to occupy around 65 theatres including a few multiplexes across the state. Gaana Bajaana, Yaksha and Gundargovi are releasing in 40, 40 and 10 cinema halls respectively across the state. Another thing is that Majestic in Bangalore is the main business centre for Kannada films in Karnataka, but out of these four films not even one film has got one good theatre in this area because all the theatres have been occupied by Pancharangi, Kichcha Huchcha and Jackie. Perhaps, Yaksha and Veera Paramapre are successful in getting theatres like Nartaki and Kapali. But other two have not got even one theate in this area.

However, it should be recalled here that Basanth Kumar Patil had held a press meet immediately after he became the president of the KFCC. He had said, “I"ve brought the issue of scarcity of theatres in Karanataka to the notice of CM BS Yeddiyurappa. We"ve several investors, who are ready to put their money on new theatres, but the space is the biggest problem for this plan. I"ve spoken to Yeddiyurappa sir about space problem and he said that he would recognize empty place for this purpose. So within a year, we will build 400 mini theatres (Janata theatres), which will have 400 to 500 seats arrangement."

Almost six months have been passed and we don't have news of new theatres. His promise has remained as a mere dream for the audience of Karnataka. Now the question is whether Patil is really working to live up to his promise or his promise was mere a false assurance. If he is working to build new theatres, when will they come into existence? Meanwhile, it should also be asked when industry is facing theatre problem, why are these producers releasing films in bulks? Why can"t they sit together and plan the release of their films in a disciplined way?

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