Multiplexes set to miss Madhuri - Distributor to shun plexes, from Chak De... to Aaja Nachle

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By Staff Reporter
  • Published 10.08.07
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Last summer, Kajol’s comeback film did not make it to the multiplexes. This winter, Madhuri Dixit’s comeback film could also give multiplexes the miss.

Aaja Nachle looks set to follow in the footsteps of Fanaa with the slugfest between the Yash Raj film distribution channel and INOX turning ugly over the release of Chak De India. With no solution in sight — probably till the end of the year — the Shah Rukh Khan-starrer releases at one out of four city plexes — Fame (Hiland Park) — on Friday.

“The demands put forth by the multiplex owners were unacceptable. They don’t seem keen to release a movie which has patriotism and national integration, denying many the chance of watching it. I don’t think we will deal with them for the rest of the year,” said Pritam Jalan of Jalan Distributors, east India distributor of Chak De India.

Jalan distributes all Yash Raj films in the region and so the doors of INOX (Forum and City Centre) and 89 Cinemas could slam shut on the Puja release Laaga Chunari Mein Daag — with a strong Bong connection (director: Pradeep Sarkar; leading ladies: Rani Mukerji, Konkona Sensharma and Jaya Bachchan) — and winter biggie Aaja Nachle.

The exhibitors, too, have hardened their stand. “If we agree to the terms set by the Calcutta distributor of Chak De India, we will have to increase ticket prices drastically. We do not want to burden our patrons,” said Saurabh Varma, vice-president, programming and distribution, INOX.

The Jalan versus INOX tug-of-war over films from the Yash Raj stable started with the Aamir-Kajol starrer Fanaa in May 2006 and continued through Ta Ra Rum Pum and Jhoom Barabar Jhoom, before claiming Chak De.

The biggest loser, of course, is the city cinegoer. “Delhi and Mumbai have so many multiplexes, whereas Calcutta has just four. And if three of those don’t screen such high-profile films, then we have every right to feel cheated. We were planning to watch Chak De at INOX (Forum) this weekend, but now we will have to give the film a miss,” grumbled Pinky Agarwal, a resident of Lord Sinha Road and a big fan of Shah Rukh Khan.