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Why don’t multiplexes sell popcorn, samosas on streets and leave theatres for cinema, asks Rahul Rawail

The filmmaker was speaking at the LIFFT India Filmotsav in Lonavala where he was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement award.

Photo: LIFFT India

Keyur Seta

Veteran filmmaker Rahul Rawail was presented with the Lifetime Achievement award at the LIFFT India Filmotsav which began in Lonavala yesterday.

After receiving the honour, the filmmaker, who chaired the jury for the Indian Panorama (Feature) section at last month's 49th International Film Festival of India in Goa, once again expressed his disagreement with the use of the term ‘regional films’ and shared his views on multiplexes which, according to him, function like a mafia.

“I am convinced about one thing," Rawail said. "The term ‘regional cinema’ that we have started using should be deleted. There is nothing called regional cinema. I have seen that it is difficult for Hindi filmmakers to do what other filmmakers [in the non-Hindi space] are doing. I saw a film made in Lakshadweep [Sinjar] which was stunning. The same was the case about a film from Ladakh [Walking With The Wind]. So what are you talking about regional cinema?”

Rawail believes that such films are unable to reach out to the masses because of the multiplexes. “The problem is that these films don’t get an exhibition out here because we are being controlled by a mafia," the director said. "The mafia in the industry today are the multiplexes. They decide which film will be shown in how many shows and in which timings.”

The controversy over the exorbitant prices of snacks sold in multiplexes has been in the news this year and Rawail did not mince words while speaking out against the practice. “This [their functioning] is all based on selling popcorn and samosas. If they are going to sell popcorn and samosas, why can’t they go and put up stalls on the street and leave the theatres for us to see films? It’s a mafia,” he repeated. 

Not surprisingly, Rawail also slammed the multiplexes for their high ticket rates. “It is not at all affordable. They have Rs700-800 as the minimum. Why are people from this country being deprived of seeing films like Village Rockstars and Nagarkirtan? I can name 100 films like this,” he said. 

Asked whether IFFI could help to improve the scenario, Rawail said, “IFFI first needs to run IFFI properly.” The filmmaker believes the Union information and broadcasting ministry must intervene to ensure that such films can get through to audiences. “But they have their own problems," he said. "They will say we are sorry, exhibition is in the hands of the states.”

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