Tollywood ganged up against Gunday in Bengali on Monday, calling for a ban on “content in another language being dubbed in Bengali”.
The committee formed to oppose the Bengali-dubbed version of Gunday, from Yash Raj Films, met at Bharat Lakshmi Studio for the second time to take a stronger stand against “any content either for television or films that is being dubbed in Bengali”.
Tolly superstar Prosenjit said after the meeting: “This is almost a fight for our survival. We’ve always got support from the industry in the past but at the moment, we find it 95 per cent missing. We’ve gradually built our industry and strengthened it. This will only harm us.”
Actor-director Parambrata Chattopadhyay added: “Gunday was just an example. Today our fight is against any content of any other language being dubbed in Bengali. We oppose this. And if any exhibitor, distributor or producer indulges in this, we will have to decide if we want to work with them.”
After managing to convince most exhibitors to support their decision on Gunday, the next step will involve “one-on-one dialogue with channel heads” in order to enlist their support.
Meanwhile, despite scattered protests outside cinemas on the fringes of the city, the Bengali version of Gunday — starring Ranveer Singh-Arjun Kapoor-Priyanka Chopra and shot extensively in Calcutta and Raniganj — has been doing “good business” in theatres across Bengal.
“The film has been doing well, if not registering extraordinary business. But it has a strong story and we expect that the novelty of a Bollywood film releasing in Bengali will contribute to increased footfall,” said Pritam Jalan, regional distributor of the Yash Raj film that released on Valentine’s Day.
Jalan may not have spelt it out, but according to a source, Gunday in Bengali has given some theatres a new lease of life. Diamond Harbour Talkies notched up close to Rs 1.10 lakh in its first weekend while Roopkatha in Habra earned about Rs 1.30 lakh in its first three days, a record of sorts for these suburban cinemas struggling to stay afloat against dwindling footfall, high maintenance costs and the multiplex boom.
Throughout India, Gunday has done middling business, notching up Rs 43.93 crore in its first weekend.
City multiplexes, however, have played it safe, steering clear of playing Gunday in Bengali. Only local plex players like RDB Cinemas at Salt Lake, Jaya (Barasat Mall) and Eylex in Asansol are screening the Bengali version.
Yash Raj Films has decided not to blink in the face of Tollywood protests. “We have been granted registration from the Indian Motion Picture Producers’ Association and the West Bengal Censor Board has given us clearance for the publicity material. Legally, we had every right to release the Bengali version and that’s why we have gone ahead with it,” said Jalan.
Rafiq Gangjee, vice president (marketing and communications), Yash Raj Films had earlier said: “Gunday is a story that resonates with the time and ethos of an era which Bengal went through and is a story that will touch several emotional chords.... We plan to release this in Bengali to reach pockets where the Hindi version does not reach and essentially support the Hindi version.”