The Telegraph
Monday , March 31 , 2014
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Elections sweep away moviegoers
Politics & cricket win over films

The upcoming general elections and the ongoing T20 World Cup tournament have hit the business of theatre owners.

Theatres in the city wore a deserted look on Sunday as there was hardly any audience for recent releases like O Teri, Youngistaan, Bewakoofiyaan and Ragini MMS 2.

This is a clear indication that the interest of the people has subsided with the election process starting in the state from April 10.

Suman Kumar Sinha, chairman and managing director, Regent Theatre Private Limited, said: “The current footfall is just 20 to 30 per cent. We hardly get any audience for the three films that are running at present. The people are glued to television sets because of the election and T20 tournament.

The business in February and March has already been affected first because of the board exams and now elections.”

On normal days, even small budget movies do good business in single screen theatres. At present, tickets are hardly getting sold at Regent, Mona and Elphinstone.

“After the T20 tournament, IPL will start from April 16 and this would provide another jolt to the movie business. We don’t hope to make any money till the elections get over,” Sinha said.

Some of the films like Main Tera Hero, Bhoothnath Returns, 2 States and Kaanchi that are due to release during the elections are expected to suffer.

Film critic and adviser of Cine Society Patna, R.N. Das said: “Whenever a new film gets released, the producer and director try their level best to promote them on television, especially on news channel. However, during the elections and cricket tournament, they get preference in the news channel. The interest of the viewers also shifts to political news, especially in states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.”

On an average, the single screen theatres in Patna do business of Rs 2 lakh to 2.5 lakh per day, which at present has come down between Rs 50,000 and Rs 80,000.

Even multiplexes like Cinepolis are receiving less footfall. Abhishek Ranjan, manager, Cinepolis, said: “The footfall has drastically fallen. For the first time, Patna Cinepolis is facing the impact of elections.”

The story of recently releases like O Teri and Youngistaan are based on politics. In Bhoothnath Returns, a ghost contests election against a corrupt politician. Still these films fail to draw movie lovers to the theatres.

Murari Singh, a resident of Station Road, said: “When I can see the real politics, why I should be interested in watching politics on screen. Instead of going to the theatre, I would rather enjoy the spirit of politics through newspapers, news channel and election campaigns.”