Dip in Kannada Cinema viewership3 min read
The clash between regional cinema and the dominant Bollywood is widely known across many states. Some of them have gone as far as to discontinue the dubbing of Hindi and English language films to ease the cut throat competition faced by the regional film industries.
A study done by T.A Pai Management Institute under Professor Gururaj, shows how Kannada cinema viewership in the Udupi district has steadily dropped in recent times. This study was also mentioned in the 11th July edition of the Kannada daily ‘Vijay Karnataka’. Kannada cinema has been criticized for its cheesy and substandard productions of films when compared to more refined regional film industries of Kerala and West Bengal.
After a recent visit to a few local theatres in the Udupi district. It soon became apparent that the study really did provide a strong explanation of the present scenario. Sridhar, an usher working for Diana theatre in Chitpady, exclaimed “Yes, not many people come for Kannada cinemas, daily. Why will they? The scripts are monotonous, diluted and unperceptive. Those in slums sometimes come to watch only action-oriented Kannada films. People mostly watch all them on TV and hence we rarely play Kannada movies. We mostly show Hindi films as people really enjoy them and attend in large numbers. It is the distributors who decide which movie should have how many shows”.
He also mentioned as to how their business took a sudden dip after the opening of INOX in Manipal. The students of Mahatma Gandhi Memorial (MGM) College have always been Diana loyalists and still swarmed the theatre in large numbers.
Other than Kannada movies, we heard the fascinating tale of Tulu cinema and its upsurge of steady popularity in the region. The ever growing audience, Sridhar says is because of the efforts of the actors. “It seems that most Tulu actors are theatre artists and do plays as well. Hence they possess much refined acting skills. Also, Tulu cinema has a fixation with the Comedy genre, not going for mega budget and lengthy time period films. The audience is becoming more sensible and likes the simplicity portrayed” he added.
Vivek, who works at the counter at Kalpana Cinemas, further explained “Kannada movie viewership has taken a dip, because they try to concentrate more on genres like action and violence, rather than genuine storytelling. Those who come, come alone. People appreciate Tulu cinema though. Today, almost 15 to 16 movies are produced yearly in Tulu film industry compared to just 2 to 3, a couple of years ago.”
One stark revelation that is observed is that there is a tussle between the two regional film industries in the Coastal areas of Dakshin Karnataka, rather than the usual competition between Bollywood and regional cinema that is often witnessed in the other states. If the above interactions and the statistics are to be believed, then Tulu cinema is certainly catching up to its Kannada counterpart, at least in the above mentioned regions.
Both the theatres have been quick to mention, the gradual increase in their tickets sales after the landslide that took place on the connecting pathway to the sole multiplex in Manipal, INOX. Youngsters, who frequented the multiplex to catch the latest releases, are now forced to walk into the single screen local theatres for entertainment.
“Before the INOX came along, Mangalore was our center to watch all the decent movies, and we would compensate on the other ones. With the introduction of INOX in Manipal itself, we became accustomed to its presence. Now, we have to start visiting Mangalore again in order to watch 3D movies and Hollywood releases. This has become very problematic,” said Anshul Dedhia, MIT 4th year.
Edited by Gargi Kerkar