SHORT TAKES More multiplexes and less people. What's happening? Why is no one coming to the theatres?
It's getting from bad to worse. New multiplexes are opening every other week, but they're all wearing a deserted look. Halls are not filling up even on weekends which are a worrying factor. Multiplexes depend more on the weekday crowds when ticket prices are slashed and the place is teeming with teenagers. Even that crowd has dwindled. Only couples seeking relative privacy are buying tickets sometimes without bothering to find out which film is playing.
“Sankranthi” released last week and starring Jaggesh's son was unceremoniously removed from five theatres after failing to attract the minimum crowd required to run a show. “Munjane” collected mere thousands on the first day. ‘Golden Star' Ganesh is fast losing sheen. Ironically, cricket matches featuring cine stars are attracting more crowds. When the live telecast of such matches keeps crowds away from theatres at prime time, stars can no longer blame cricket.
Anyway, it's not just Kannada films that are doing badly. I set out to watch “Pan Singh Tomar” after it was strongly recommended by a filmmaker I respect. I bought a ticket and waited in vain. The show was cancelled because they could not sell six tickets which is the minimum for a show to start.
I reluctantly bought a ticket for “London Paris New York”. There was a scattered crowd of around 20, but at least it was good enough to start the film. Now Hindi filmmakers can afford to experiment because of the wide viewership and the tremendous amount of money they get via television rights. Talented young filmmakers who depend more on their abilities than the pulling powers of the Khans and Kapoors are churning out interesting films. A film relying purely on conversations is very difficult unless it's a thriller like “12 Angry Men”.
Debutante director Anu Menon dares to make a romantic film in this genre and nearly pulls it off with aplomb.
The film is definitely based on the classic “Before Sunrise”, but Anu has to be lauded for holding your interest throughout. Strangers falling in love during the course of a journey is a fantasy that some nurture. Here the protagonists disembark at Heathrow and sparks fly after the usual initial disagreement. The plot has to be taken forward so the pair decides not to communicate for six month in this age of texting and twitter. They meet again in Paris, break up and reunite in New York, older and wiser. The film depends on the lead pair and the crackling chemistry between Ali Zafar and Aditi is the best part of the film. The easy camaraderie they establish in the initial part of the film is charming. The photography could definitely have been better.
If you are in the mood for a charming experiment that does not assault your senses or test your patience then go for ‘LPNY' and please don't say you'll wait for a good DVD print!
S. Shiva Kumar