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Why should the ticket for a 3 crore film and a 150 crore film be priced the same: Onir

> DearCinema brings to you a few voices that define the Indie scene in India today, ruminating over what independent cinema means to them
By Onir • Published on February 21, 2012
Onir

Onir

I do not know what Independent Cinema in India is at this juncture. So often, studio backed non-star films are termed as independent. For me the minute a film falls under the purview of the studios,  it’s not independent. I think we are going through the most difficult phase because of the multiplexes in the malls, studio power and a culture that only celebrates the box office.

I remember as a child going with my parents to see a Shyam Benegal film and a Ketan Mehta film along with the Dewaar and Don. I developed a love for good cinema because I was exposed to it as a kid. Today suddenly the definition of Cinema has become “entertainment, entertainment, entertainment” and sadly cinema as a vision for a better world, Cinema as something that intellectually stimulates us and makes us strive for a better world and better self is forgotten. Cinema more than anything is a form of ART and that has been pushed to the background. Along with the Pop Corn and Games in the Mall it has become just another pastime.

But this is not happening in isolation. Recently I heard a Bollywood choreographer proudly say, ‘If you train in Bharatnatyam you cannot earn a living, you need to know western forms.’ What a shame!  It’s good to assimilate , but not to discard what’s beautiful in us.

With the advent of studios, the only thing that matters seems to be the star system…. be it in terms of actors or “star directors”. The content takes a back stage. Not only do they not support indie cinema, they make it increasingly difficult for them to find space in the theaters during release. The challenge for indie cinema is not only how to make your films but also how to release.  Release costs have sky rocketed and some major publications in the country have become advertorials meaning that only moneyed producers/studios can get their news featured as you have to pay huge amount of money to be there.

Secondly the ticket pricing defies all reason. Why should a 3 crore film and a 150 crore film be priced at the same cost?  I think for small budget Indie films if the ticket were priced at Rs.50 at regular show timings, there would be many more people watching these films. India unlike Europe does not have a chain of theaters that only screens Indie films. Cinema in Europe is considered as a form of art and gets huge state support. And here we have huge entertainment taxes that hurt the indie cinema more than any other cinema.

Having said all this, I feel that whenever there is pressure, good cinema is born. And today because of the Digital revolution there is a new spurt of indie cinema in India. But we still need to figure out distribution. Because I as a film maker find it hard to accept that our films will not find its way into the theater and will only be seen as downloads…. ultimately the big screen experience cannot be replaced by a mobile.

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4 Responses to “Why should the ticket for a 3 crore film and a 150 crore film be priced the same: Onir”

  1. Paulami RoyChoudhury says:

    I think we can start with small screening sessions in private spaces that can act as hubs. We need to start somewhere. So these places can charge some basic amount as donation and showcase such cinema regularly. I'm a visual artist and the scene is not much different here. The good thing though is that we have spaces which work as a hub for artists giving them open access to showcase and network. They work on charity, so they keep the cost minimal.

  2. Lokiish Todi says:

    Onir, I wish someone could get your idea to the government to have Rs. 50 ticket for Independent Cinemas while at the same time charge people Rs.150 to watch Big Budget films… that could surely turn the table around for Independent Filmmakers… Its a gr8 idea for sure!

  3. Ajay Bahl says:

    Reducing the ticket prices may not be practical as the multiplex owners are sure to fight this for an obvious and valid reason, it's the taxes that the state can reduce, which will be a more sustainable and practical option. Another very important measure that needs to be taken is the number of shows allocated to a film, whenever a big film releases they take over the theaters in a way that there is no hope of getting good shows for smaller films. If a rule is put into place that no multiplex shall be allowed to give more than 14 and no less than 4 shows a day to a film (out of the 4 at least 3 should be primetime) for the first 10 days after release, then smaller films can have a chance to compete on their merit. This will also force the big films to improve their content because when the number of screens goes down they will have to sustain the audience for the 2nd and 3rd weeks as well to make profits and this will end the current madness of the 1st week collections which are mostly due to star power and a marketing blitzkrieg.

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