News So Big I Can’t NOT Report It!

I’m still sick, so this may not be as logical and clear as it could be.  But I still have to report it because it is SO BIG!

The ban is ON!  No screens for Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and maybe also Raees!  Quote from the president of the COEA (from Bollywoodhungama):

“Today, the meeting between The Cinema Owners And Exhibitors Association took place. It was decided that, keeping in mind the patriotic feeling and the national interest of our country, we, the Cinema Owners Exhibitors Association of India request all our member exhibitors to refrain from screening movies, which have involvement of any Pakistani artist/s, technician, director, music director etc…  We, the Cinema Owners Exhibitors Association of India, are also in the process of requesting other associations connected with the film industry to support the sentiments in the best interest of our nation”.

If you remember my other updates, the COEA is an association of single-screen theater owners in the regions around Bombay.  Times of India claims they have members in Maharashtra, Gujurat, Goa, and parts of Karnataka.  And, if you remember, the multiplex owners association of Delhi confirmed a few days ago that they would definitely be showing Ae Dil, they can’t afford not to.

So this is a ban by single-screen owners in a few states.  What does that mean?

Well, it means they are afraid of the MNS and related organizations damaging their theaters first and foremost.  That’s why the single-screens have to be more cautious than the multiplexes, they have a smaller margin to pay for repairs, and they are more “out there” in terms of targets.  I mean, if a multiplex is inside a mall complex, that’s all kinds of security and layers of entrances and so on and so on.  A single screen is usually just a building right there off the sidewalk, open to bottles through the door, paint on the walls, etc. etc.

And it is the single-screens in the particular area where the anti-Pakistani artists agitation is particularly high right now, so the risk is largest.  This is the area where I think the ban might spread.  If groups through out India start agitating in a similar way and making statements that threaten vandalism, then single-screen associations through out India may follow this lead and also put through a ban.

So, it’s all very exciting!  And Karan himself has STILL not said anything!  Which is kind of classy, really.  To just ignore it, like a small child having a tantrum, and stay above the fray. He’s been focusing on releasing the music, following his regular promotion schedule.

(New song!)

And the thing is, the music and everything else has been super popular!  He’s got the top 4 songs!

 

See, this is why the multiplex owners are going to be very hard to convince to have a ban.  There may be a very loud minority against the film, but there is a huge majority that is eager to see it.  To put out a ban means losing out on their tickets.  It’s worth it for the single screens, they would run the risk of customers not being willing to cross a picket line plus property damage if they play the movie.  But the multiplexes have less damage to be worried about, and know they can sell A LOT of tickets.

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5 thoughts on “News So Big I Can’t NOT Report It!

  1. I’m in a hurry, so just posting a few points here:

    1. The Mumbai territory alone is responsible for 40% of a Hindi film’s collection, so a ban here will have a large impact — of course, that includes the multiplexes, too.

    2. Look up Pankaj Dheer — CINTAA — it’s the association for television and film artists or actors, something like that. He brought up the point (which apparently the MNS has also said from the begining) that many/most of the Pakistani actors come to India on a tourist visa and work on that, instead of getting a proper work permit, which has to be applied for by the producers of the film. I know that many “foreigners” (white people, mostly) work as extras on Bollywood films while they are in India on a tourist visa. Even if it’s for a day or two, it’s a violation of immigration laws, but neither they nor the agents who trawl through the foreign tourist hangouts seem to pay any attention to this point. Over the years I’ve read many first hand account of such tourist writing about their experiences as extras, and this is never mentioned by them. I always used to wonder why.

    3. Aside from the visa issue, there is apparently no legal way to transfer money from an Indian bank to a Pakistani bank, as there is for international transfers to other countries, so the question also arises, how are these people (of Fawad Khan level, not the extra types) being paid? If it is through some illegal channels, that’s a whole ‘nother can of worms.

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    • Yeah, I think I mentioned in one of my first posts on the ban that even if it is just limited to single-screens in Maharashtra, that’s enough to tip the film from a solid hit to barely making a profit, since Bombay and Delhi are the big profit makers for mainstream Hindi releases. Although, what with the sex and foreign locales, I don’t know how much Karan was really counting on the single-screens anyway. I think the popular wisdom, before this whole thing blew up, was that Shivaay would take the single screen/family audience, and Ae Dil would take the multiplex young adult audience.

      Interesting point about the payment and Visas. It raises the whole issue of how incredibly unregulated all of the work practices are. Most Indian actors seem to be paid in cash or gifts, not regularly reported taxable income. And then there’s the question of people like Nargis Fakhri or Jiah Khan or Katrina Kaif, who aren’t Indian citizens (or at least weren’t when they were starting out). Are they working on tourist Visas as well?

      I suppose it would be less exciting for most people if this story changed from taking a patriotic stand to a close examination of regulatory practices in film hiring, but I would be fascinated!

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      • I think you drew the wrong conclusion from my previous post. It’s not that the governmental regulations are not clear and well-spelled out, it’s that not all producers might be following all the rules, just as they don’t necessarily follow all the rules on reporting income. On that head, though, the practices have become much more transparent.

        Katrina is on a valid work visa. This issue came up many years ago, when another foreign born actress (forgot her name, but she was a citizen of one of the Scandinavian countries, though of desi origin) went home for a bit, then couldn’t come back to India to start an agreed upon movie because her visa had expired. Since the whole foreign actors thing was very new then, and Katrina was the only other foreigner known to be working in Bollywood, the media raised a fuss, which was quickly put an end to by her team releasing all relevant details of her visa. I think Nargis has a valid permit, too, though I can’t recall anything specific to point to. Actually, I think because of that case, the general public became aware of the whole visa issue. And it’s not clear when this statement by Pankaj Dheer was actually made. I couldn’t find a link to a specific news article, which is why I kept saying “apparently.” 🙂 I hate to drag Fawad Khan’s name in any more than it already has been, because he’s just a symbol, not the actual issue. But it may not apply to him in particular, as he’s too high profile to get away with not following the rules. But it might be the case with lesser known people. Similarly about the payment issue. With companies as large as Dharma, I’m sure they have banking operations in several countries around the world, (and for that matter probably so does Fawad), and they can easily make payment arrangements through one of those. But it’s just that there’s more here than meets the eye, which I thought was interesting.

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  2. And then there’s the theory that KJo is deliberately stoking the controversy (and keeping Fawad’s name prominent to stoke it) to drum up publicity for the film… 🙂

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  3. Pingback: Kangna Ranaut Almost Dies and Aishwarya Might Not Promote ADHM | dontcallitbollywood

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