|World Cup 2011 has hit film industry in Bhubaneswar. Pictures by Ashwinee Pati
Bhubaneswar, March 4: It has been already a week since Tanu and Manu are fervently sending out invitation cards for their silver screen wedding but hardly anyone seems interested. Ollywood flick Mana Mora Prajapati (My heart is a butterfly) featuring newcomers, has also failed to take flight.
With the World Cup mania at its peak, cinemas across the city are wearing a deserted look.
“None of the films running in the city feature big stars that can attract the young or old. I would rather stay at home and watch cricket all day long. Even the minnows have been putting up a good show at the World Cup which I would definitely not want to miss,” said a post graduation student Sasmita Sahoo.
Not just the World Cup, even school and college examinations have marred the business. “My exams are going on and whenever I get time for relaxation, I tune in to the sports channel to watch cricket. Who would want to go to cinemas and pay 70 bucks for the B-grade movies that are running?” said Sabyasachi Panda, a class X student.
Hall managers said their weekly collections have gone down from bad to worse ever since the mega cricketing tournament began on February 19.
“Our business has been badly hit by the World Cup fever. Keeping this in view, there have been no major releases that can woo the audience. Sales have now reached a disastrous point where over 90 per cent seats are going vacant,” said Rabindra Kumar Sahoo, manager of ‘S’ cine complex (Stutee, Swati and Sriya cinemas).
The cine complex is running three Bollywood films, Madhavan-Kangna Ranaut starrer Tanu weds Manu and the lesser publicised Angeland Yeh Faasley besides Mana Mora Prajapati.
However, all of them are struggling to make an impression. “The long, serpentine queues have disappeared. Not a soul is seen around. The scene is really gloomy. We even cancel one or two shows almost everyday,” said a disappointed Sahoo.
Rabi Mohanty, manager of Keshari cinemas which is running a noon show of Tanu weds Manu and One Million Years B.C. (dubbed in Hindi as Bhootkaal mein Chamatkaar), is a worried man.
“English movies, even if dubbed in Hindi, hardly attract audiences. Our sales are plummeting with each passing day. I am afraid this trend would continue until the World Cup ends,” said Mohanty.
Managers of other cinemas also expressed disappointment. “It is not in our hands to lower the price of tickets or else we could have tried that trick too. Some cinemas are even contemplating to withdraw films that have failed to strike a chord. We might follow suit, we have no other option,” said another city-based theatre owner.