The licenses of 34 cinema halls and multiplexes have been revoked by
the Maharashtra government for violating rules of exhibiting Maratha
Movies. The Mumbai police have served notices to 35 cinemas, not
inclined in screening
Marathi movies, canceling their licenses for a
period ranging from one day to one week. The crackdown follows
violation of the Cinema Regulating Act, 1969, which makes it mandatory
for cinema theatres in the state to screen Marathi movies for at least
four weeks in a calendar year. Cinema halls say that screening Marathi
films for even four weeks a year will run up huge losses.
Owners of cinema halls and multiplexes say that mixing Marathi and
commercial cinema is a flop formula. Probably that is the reason why
distributors of Marathi films distribute tickets free of cost just to
draw in the audiences. The best evidence is the closure of Bharat M
the only cinema hall in Mumbai that screened Marathi films exclusively.
A month ago, when a section of Marathi film producers called on deputy
chief minister R R Patil to protest against the failure of theatre
owners to exhibit Marathi films, Patil had asked the home department to
examine the rules before taking stringent action. Home ministry
officials said the survey of cinemas by the government found 78 cinemas
not showing Marathi films as per the law. Preliminary notices were
issued to these theatres following which 43 theatre screens fell in
line. But 34 cine halls were still errant including Eros, New
Excelsior, Liberty, New Empire, Alfred, Dreamland, Moti, Maratha
Mandir, Chitra, Sharada, Star City, Cinemax, Globus, Ashish, Jai
Ganesh, Chandan, Movie Time, Movie Gem, Deep Mandir, Palace and Naaz.
These theatre and multiplex owners can file an appeal against the
police action before the state home ministry within 30 days.