1 min read.Updated: 09 Sep 2021, 10:34 AM ISTLata Jha
Smaller regional language movie industries such as Marathi, Bengali or Punjabi that do not boast of large budgets of Hindi, Tamil and Telugu cinema, are bleeding with the pandemic having brought in losses of Rs200-300 crore
NEW DELHI: Punjabi star Gippy Grewal has announced that his next directorial venture Shava Ni Girdhari Lal will arrive in theatres on 17 December. The period comedy will star Neeru Bajwa and Himanshi Khurana.
It's notable that much-needed green shoots for India’s film industry after the second covid wave are emerging from smaller regional language films which do not boast of big stars. Punjabi film Puaada notched up box office collections of Rs4 crore in the first eight days of release last month.
Trade website Box Office India had pointed out that Puaada’s hold in east Punjab had been excellent, despite far fewer theatres than the film would have managed pre-pandemic. Further, the film was a record opener for lead actor Ammy Virk in overseas markets such as the UK and New Zealand. In the former, it had emerged as the fifth highest opening Punjabi film ever last month with £84,000. Restrictions in Canada led to a loss of $75,000 but the film still managed a huge $275,000.
To be sure, smaller regional language movie industries such as Marathi, Bengali or Punjabi that do not boast of large budgets of Hindi, Tamil and Telugu cinema, are bleeding with the pandemic having brought in losses of Rs200-300 crore, according to film trade experts. For these industries, multiple projects are stuck with interest costs mounting. Also, films in these languages are not usually picked up by the bigger streaming platforms that prefer to purchase content in major southern languages that have a bigger draw.
Producers have kept all future plans on hold, not green lighting any new films with the bigger worry being whether theatres will allot adequate showcasing to these niche offerings post the pandemic.
Also, unlike Bollywood, Marathi, Bengali and Punjabi industries are mostly unorganised, relying on individual producers rather than established corporate houses.