Kolkata: It is a mixed bag for Tollywood during the Pujas. Under the current circumstances where the family crowd has vanished, the industry is happy that the dozen-odd films generated a net collection of approximately Rs 70 lakh across Bengal.
According to Ratan Saha, chairperson of the exhibitors’ section of the Eastern India Motion Pictures Association, “The usual Puja revenue is Rs 5 crore to Rs 6 crore. But going by the reports, it will be approximately Rs 70 lakh this year,” Saha said.
For most, even this was encouraging. Navina’s owner Navin Choukhani was elated that ‘Dracula Sir’ managed repeated houseful shows. “It is encouraging that people haven’t lost their trust and are willing to watch good content. Navina’s advantage was that adjoining cinemas, including INOX South City, Hiland Park and Acropolis, were shut,” Choukhani said. Joydeep Mukherjee, who has the lease for Star Theatres, said that his sales figures surpassed expectations. “Instead of morning shows with a few viewers, we went for limited prime-time shows and got a few housefuls,” said Sujit Kumar Bhukta, general manager (east) of Carnival Cinemas.
Hall owners claimed that only two new releases — ‘Dracula Sir’ and ‘Rawkto Rawhoshyo’ — managed to generate encouraging figures. Menoka’s owner Pranab Kumar Roy refuted that most of the other new releases trailed because of bad show timings or viewers’ apathy. “I’ve seen viewers leave midway at shows with good timings because the content wasn’t attractive,” Roy said.
A Puja-release distributor on conditions of anonymity said, “Some makers are buying tickets to reflect good collections at theatres so that their films continue next week. But this will not help producers.”
New Empire, Prachi and Priya had an average occupancy of 18%, 17% and 15% respectively during the Puja. Priya owner Arijit Dutta and Prachi owner Vidisha Basu said sales picked up at their theatres only on Nabami and Dashami.