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Exhibitors felt Kaasav is worth showing: Director Sunil Sukthankar on increased shows

When released, the National award-winning film had just one show in Mumbai. Now, in its second week, the film has over 30 shows in the city.

Keyur Seta

In today’s day and age, it is the first week that determines a film’s outcome at the box office. The number of shows in theatres starts decreasing after the first week. But directors Sunil Sukthankar and Sumitra Bhave’s Kaasav is an exception.

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Despite winning the National award for Best Marathi Film, Kaasav on its release (6 October) had just one show in all Mumbai and it was thought that the film would disappear in the second week. But the opposite has happened. From one show in one theatre, the film boasts of 32 shows at different locations in the city.

Cinestaan.com spoke with co-director Sukthankar and Vivek Damle of Navprabhat Studios (distributors of the film) to understand why they settled for just one show in the first week and how the jump took place. 

“We were thinking of spreading the film as far as possible, at least in 30-35 theatres, from 6 October," said Sukthankar. "But nowadays it is in few people's hands to give you more theatres. You don’t know till Tuesday or Wednesday how many theatres and what timings you are getting. It is totally a monopoly. Barring the big banners and big films, who can dictate terms, small filmmakers and distributors like us have to accept whatever is possible.” 

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The filmmakers came in for a lot of criticism on social media for the singular show in Mumbai. Sukthankar clarified that it wasn’t their fault. “Unfortunately, on social media everybody started blaming us that we don’t care about the audience. Of course we do care about the audience more than awards. Audience is the main goal. Unless people watch the film, there is no point making it. Awards and critical acclaim are secondary,” he said. 

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In Pune, the number of shows was higher in the first week. “Compared to Mumbai, at least we have a name and reputation in Pune, so we got 12-13 shows in the first week. We were happy with that. But in Mumbai it was a problem with too many Marathi films being released last week,” said Sukthankar.

Damle from the distributors said the film now has more than 30 shows in Mumbai. “This is across the city, from South Mumbai to Panvel and Thane. There were 12-13 shows in the first week in Pune. Now there are 14 shows in the second week,” he said. 

The increase in shows came as a pleasant surprise for the director duo. “It [the lack of shows in the first week] was a sad feeling. But, fortunately, the first week’s response and word-of-mouth were very good, particularly in Pune. So, other exhibitors felt this film is worth showing. For them, only success counts. That way, it actually helped us. Everybody started believing in the film. They gave us good timings and shows,” said the co-director. 

Sukthankar hopes those who expressed discontent about the single show last week will now make the most of the multiple screenings in the second week. “I don’t know about next week as big banner films are coming up," he said. "The Mumbai people who were complaining how do they watch the film, they better watch it now (laughs). It would mean they really wanted to watch the film and it was not just a social media storm. If they give a good response, certainly it can sustain in the third week also.”