MNS chief Raj Thackeray on Monday urged Marathi filmmakers to attempt new and different kinds of themes and subjects in movies to bring back audiences to cinema halls.

Addressing a gathering of filmmakers here, Mr. Thackeray asserted that multiplexes will have to allot primetime slots to Marathi movies.

Mr. Raj said he will personally write a letter to each and every Marathi speaking person to encourage and promote Marathi cinema and drama.

“You also should attempt to be different in your treatment of subjects and bring innovative concepts. Audiences will not come to watch your movies if they look like TV serials,” the MNS chief said.

“Last week, we showed them what will happen if they don’t show Marathi movies,” he said referring to the violent protests at theatres in Mumbai, Thane and Aurangabad.

“I am told that Marathi films are screened at 8 am, 10 am or 12 noon shows. Who will go to watch movies early morning.. be it Marathi or Hindi? Should we wake up in the morning and go to theatres immediately?” he asked.

The party would take up the issue in the winter session of the State Legislature on strict implementation of the Government Resolution (GR) about screening of Marathi films, the MNS chief said.

Several Marathi filmmakers like Mahesh Manjrekar, Prasad Oak, Raju Patil, Kedar Shinde, Kishori Shahane and Madhura Jasraj attended the meeting.

Mr. Manjrekar while speaking on the occasion felt that the need of the hour for Marathi producers was to improve the quality of cinema.

“Instead of focusing on number of films produced, it is better if we make fewer but quality movies,” he said, adding new directors should be encouraged in this regard.

Viju Mane, the producer-director of the just released “Tee Ratra” (That Night), told PTI that they highlighted how the multiplexes disobey the Government Regulations (GR) on mandatory screening of Marathi films.

“They refuse to put hoardings of the film before release and give us only morning shows. So this enables them to remove our movies from their theatres giving excuse of lack of audience. Similarly, they ask for prints which would cost the producer Rs 75,000. The prints are demanded even though the multiplexes and single screens have digital screens or film projection through satellite images from companies like UFO, Scrabble and Real Image,” he said.

Giving his own example, Mr. Mane said he was not allotted night shows. “’Peepli Live’ got 412 shows while mine only 18. Agreed that Hindi cinema has a vast audience but Marathi should get at least 10 per cent of the shows,” he said.

Actor Kishori Shahane, whose movie ‘Aika Dajiba’ was released last week, said it was decided at the meeting that producers should meet once every month to discuss the hardships being faced for movie release.

“Such frequent interactions within the industry would help resolve the problems,” she said.

“Somebody needed to take up this issue at individual level. Since Raj Thackeray had initiated this step, let’s see what happens,” Ms. Shahane said.

The actor who has directed the film starring herself and Ashok Saraf said the mandatory 44 shows of each Marathi movie should be strictly implemented in Marathi speaking areas of Mumbai.

“If a Marathi movie is released in a pre-dominant non - Maharashtrian locality just for the sake of abiding by the government rule, the theatre is bound to be empty,” she noted.