FLASHBACK | 11 February, 2022
(From our issue dated 15th February, 1997)


The week was good for the box-office due to the Idd festival. Both the releases of last week raked in good collections.

Judwaa has done extremely well. 1st week Bombay 39,13,301 (97%) from 14 cinemas (7 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 11,19,775 from 7 cinemas (1 unrecd.); Hubli 2,70,781 (100%), record, Belgaum 2,46,203 (100%) from 3 cinemas (1 in noon), Dharwad 96,384; Delhi 40,12,354 (85.67%) from 11 cinemas (2 on F.H.); Kanpur 4,62,869 from 2 cinemas, Lucknow 2,29,585, Agra 2,59,655, Varanasi 1,56,922 (90%), Bareilly 1,44,734 (79.37%), Gorakhpur 1,20,000 (81%); Calcutta 24,90,164 from 20 cinemas (8 on F.H.); Nagpur 5,83,756 from 4 cinemas, Jabalpur (6 days) 1,87,722, Amravati (6 days) 94,802, Akola (27 shows) 1,01,805, Raipur 2,07,736, theatre record, Bhilai (6 days), 1,43,078, Jalgaon 1,08,050; Jaipur 10,60,059 from 4 cinemas, Bikaner 2,57,000.

Yeshwant is particularly good in Maharashtra. In other circuits, it has done fair business. 1st week Bombay 38,93,681 (90.44%) from 16 cinemas (10 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 6,55,067 from 4 cinemas (4 unrecd.), Baroda 1,98,453 (90.81%), Padra 1,65,451, Jamnagar (24 shows) 1,35,759; Belgaum 4,23,499 (100%) from 3 cinemas (1 in noon), Nipani 1,84,256 (100%), record; Delhi 27,94,820 (62.79%) from 12 cinemas (1 unrecd., 1 on F.H.); Kanpur 2,60,391 from 2 cinemas, Lucknow 3,15,319 from 2 cinemas, Varanasi 1,86,188, Hardwar 62,000, Meerut 1,82,000, Bareilly 1,10,416; Calcutta 28,89,195 from 22 cinemas (7 on F.H.); Nagpur 6,76,721 from 5 cinemas, Jabalpur 1,90,409, Amravati 1,80,721, Akola 1,94,851, Raipur 2,15,368 (88.32%), city record, Bhilai 2,39,376 from 2 cinemas, Durg 1,41,180, city record, Jalgaon 1,60,858; Indore 1,70,762 (3 on F.H.); Jaipur 4,34,795 from 3 cinemas, Bikaner 2,57,161; Hyderabad 39,37,677 from 21 cinemas.



Mamta Kulkarni fractured her left leg at Gangavati, near Bangalore, on 11th February during the shooting of Rajkumar Santoshi’s China Gate. The fracture is said to be major, and Mamta had to be rushed to Mallya Hospital in Bangalore for treatment. She is reported to have been advised complete rest for three months.

Mamta was dismounting from a horse after pack-up when she slipped and landed hard on her left leg which fractured her tibia.


C.I. distributor O.P. Goyal was injured in a car accident this week in Indore. He was admitted to Gokuldas Hospital and is recuperating there.


Marriage of Shailesh Sikchi, proprietor of Shreeram Pictures, Amravati-Bhusawal, with Savita will be solemnised on 16th February in Amravati.


Rajkumari Rathi, mother of Kamal Rathi, partner in Shyam Talkies, Khamgaon and Neelkamal cinema, Nandura, expired on 3rd February in Nagpur. Gangaprasadi was held on 14th at Khamgaon.

Maharashtra Govt. Refuses Reliefs To Cinemas

100% Entertainment Tax Confirmed * Panic In Industry

The expected has happened. The Maharashtra government has refused to grant any relief or concession in entertainment tax to cinemas in the state. The revenue minister, Narayan Rane, on 11th February told a delegation of the film industry that the rate of entertainment tax in the state would henceforth be 100% and that no relief could be given to cinemas in that regard.

Cinemas in Maharashtra had downed shutters from 1st January in protest against the state government’s decision to double the rate of entertainment tax, from 50% to 100%. The month-long bandh was called off from 30th January when chief minister Manohar Joshi assured leaders of the action committee of the film industry that he would give some relief but for that, cinemas would have to be reopened first. Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray also promised concessions when the action committee met him on several occasions during the cinema bandh.

But despite all assurances, the government went back on its word and simply pleaded helplessness in coming to the aid of the industry. Actually, it was becoming increasingly clear with each passing day, after the cinemas reopened, that the government was not serious in doing anything for the industry. Its dilly-dallying tactics had, so to say, prepared the exhibitors and distributors of Maharashtra for the shock of 100% tax.

It was, perhaps, because of this that most distributors and exhibitors did not express shock when the news of 100% tax came. Quite surprisingly, it is the leaders who expressed utmost shock at the government’s refusal, when actually they should have known what was coming. As a leading distributor of Naaz building, wishing to remain anonymous, remarked, “Our leaders are pretending to be shocked. If we could sense what was coming, how can we believe that they didn’t know what was expected? See, for the whole month during which cinemas were closed, it is the ministers who fooled the leaders with false promises. But once the cinemas reopened, it was the leaders who were fooling the industry!”

Following the 100% rate of tax effective from 1st January, business is expected to be adversely affected. If cinemas do not increase admission rates to cover the hike in tax, the nett collections will go down and the loss will have to be shared between the exhibitor and the distributor. Whether the exhibitor will agree to share in the loss is a million-dollar question and there is bound to be a lot of bickering over the issue. If exhibitors decide to increase admission rates to cover the hike in tax, they will have to raise the admission rates by 33%. In such a case, the nett collections would remain the same, assuming that the increase in admission rates would have no effect on cinema attendance. But since such a steep rise in admission rates is more likely (than not) to have an adverse effect on attendance in cinemas, it would mean a loss of revenue to distributors as the exhibitors in this case would be assured of their rentals as before 1st January, ’97.

The immediate reaction of the action committee members to the government’s refusal to grant any relief in tax was that cinemas should down shutters once again from 14th March. The date (March 14) was tentatively fixed in the hope that the government would, perhaps, grant relief after March 5 when the election code of conduct would cease to remain in operation.

But sensing the general resentment against another closure, the action committee is now almost decided that it wouldn’t call for a fresh closure. Distributors and exhibitors, unlike action committee members, are of the opinion that even after March 5, no concession would be forthcoming from the government and, therefore, a closure would not help. Looking to this mood of the trade, the action committee dropped the plan for a second closure. As it is, cinemas of Marathwada region did not join in the bandh last month and would surely not join in this time. Distributors and exhibitors of C.P. Berar are also said to be against another bandh.

A general meeting of distributors and exhibitors was scheduled to be held at Opera House cinema on 17th February to chalk out the future course of action. But having mentally decided against a closure, it is not known whether the general meeting will, in fact, be held or not.


The most unhappy due to the 100% entertainment tax rate are the distributors. If cinemas do not increase admission rates to cover the hike, distributors will have to bear the major chunk of loss in nett collections. If cinemas do hike admission rates, attendance is likely to go down, in which case, it will be the loss of distributors alone. Distributors, who have bought films for Bombay at fancy prices, are panicking because when the deals were struck, the tax rate was 50%. Producers are unlikely to agree to compensate them by reducing the price at the time of delivery.


The revenue of the government of Maharashtra is not likely to go down due to the hike in entertainment tax. This is because cinema attendance is not likely to reduce by 50% due to the doubling of the tax rate.


Business of a hit film is likely to be reduced by anywhere between Rs. 50 lakh and a crore or even more, thanks to the hike in entertainment tax. As for flop films, it is feared that some of them may not be able to bear the burden of 100% tax.

Last week’s releases, Yeshwant and Judwaa, are likely to suffer to the tune of at least Rs. 60 to 75 lakh because of the tax hike.

Cinemas are also likely to feel the pinch of the tax rate hike. If the government does not reduce the tax, it is possible that some cinemas may be forced to close down for good.


Cinemas, which were paying compound tax before 1st January, 1997, are confused about the exact status due to the hike in entertainment tax. The government has made no clarification about the rate and amount of compound tax (which is fixed according to the population of the city/town). Rather, the Collectors have been demanding 100% tax from such cinemas too.


Today, producers may not be feeling the gravity of the situation created due to the increase in entertainment tax in Maharashtra. But they will feel the pinch — and feel it terribly — in the months to come. For one, distributors will now not pay the fancy prices they had been paying so far for films. Secondly, distributors may even ask for a price reduction at the time of delivery in case of films earlier acquired by them but not yet released.


Cinemas in Bombay city and suburbs have either hiked or are all set to hike their admission rates by 33% with a view to pass on the burden of extra entertainment tax to the public completely. Cinemas like Liberty, Satyam, Sundaram, Sachinam, New Era, Gaiety, Galaxy and Gemini are already selling tickets at the enhanced rates. Many other cinemas are awaiting permission from the Collector for increasing admission rates. The permission should come in four to five days’ time. That would mean, an increase in admission rates at such cinemas either this week or next.


Considering the uncertain situation in Maharashtra, releases of several films have been postponed. There is confusion about whether cinemas will down shutters once again in protest against the 100% tax. Due to this, some producers have decided to announce their release plans only once the mater is settled.


Puja Films’ Hero No. 1, seen on 11th, has been issued C.C. No. CIL/1/6/97 (U) dt. 14-2-’97; length 3889.56 metres in 16 reels (no cuts).

Tips Films P. Ltd.’s Auzaar will be issued UA certificate dt. 14-2-’97 early next week.

Shree Siddha Rameshwar Films’ Piya Ka Ghar has been passed for U, with cuts.

A.G. Films (P.) Ltd.’s Lahoo Ke Do Rang (length 4615.28 metres in 17 reels), applied on 12th, was seen on 13th.


Why are producers not reacting to the 100% entertainment tax in Maharashtra? Are they not going to feel the pinch with the tax rate having doubled?

– Producers are bound to feel the pinch because Bombay distributors will now think ten times before buying films at fancy prices. This is because business in Maharashtra will go down due to the phenomenal hike in entertainment tax. It wouldn’t be surprising if distributors even failed to take deliveries of contracted films at the contracted prices.

What are the reports of Hero No. 1?

– The reports are excellent.


* Chetan Anand had given break to Kamini Kaushal in his NEECHA NAGAR 50 years ago. At that time, Chetan Anand’s brother, Vijay Anand, was a 7-year old boy whom Kamini Kaushal used to dote on. Today, fifty years later, Vijay Anand will be playing Kamini Kaushal’s son in NYAYMURTI KRISHNAMURTY, being directed by himself!

* Singer Udit Narayan is mighty impressed with the ‘Tu hai kamaal’ song he recorded recently with Kavita Krishnamoorthy for Jyotin Goel’s SAFARI. It has been composed by new music directors Shyam-Mohan.


* Is RAJA HINDUSTANI a good omen for marriages? So it would seem, judging by what has happened in the families of people associated with cinemas screening the film in C.I. circuit. Of the families of persons connected with the 14 cinemas which have so far screened or are screening the film, there have been weddings in eight families during the film’s run. The niece of the owner of Sapna cinema, Indore; the daughter of the owner of Jyoti, Bhopal; the daughter of the manager of Radha, Bhopal; the sister of the owner of Panchsheel, Bhopal; the nephew of the owner of Metro, Ujjain; the son and daughter of the owner of Lokendra, Ratlam; the daughter of the owner of Mohan, Mhow; and the son of the manager of Sehore Talkies, Sehore have all either got married or are due to get married during the run of RAJA HINDUSTANI at the respective cinemas!

Who Is To Blame More?

The Maharashtra government has played its old game once again. It had made a promise on 6th January and then it went back on its word, refusing to grant reliefs it had assured the industry of. Again, on 11th February, it did what it is known for — lying through its teeth. After assuring the action committee of the film industry that they would grant concessions if the cinemas were reopened unconditionally, ministers of the Shiv Sena-BJP government just refused to give any concession or relief.

The government’s action — or rather, inaction — is worth condemning, especially because the enhanced rate of entertainment tax (100%) would sound the death-knell for quite a few cinemas and distributors. The government seems to be killing the hen which lays the golden egg. It is not as if the government will not realise its mistake. It will! It is a different matter that its ego will prevent it from admitting that it had erred. It is also possible that it realises its folly after it is too late.

If the government is to be blamed for the sorry state of affairs in which the Maharashtra film industry finds itself today, the industry itself also cannot shirk responsibility for it. Whether the members of the action committee of the film industry like it or not, they have failed in their battle. And failed due to their own faults and follies.

If the cinema closure was not total from day one, it is the action committee which must take the blame. Why the action committee members did not prevail upon the Marathwada region exhibitors to join them in the bandh, is not known. And if they could not convince them to join in the closure, why did they launch such a half-hearted battle? Even after the closure commenced, how did some cinemas in C.P. Berar dare to reopen? Again, it spoke volumes for the lack of leadership. Unfortunately, the Maharashtra industry did not have a leader who could inspire everybody and get them united for a common cause. In times of closure/strike, a leader who can keep everybody’s morale high is required. Such a leader was conspicuous by his absence here.

Most important of all, why did the action committee agree to reopen the cinemas without getting any relief and merely on the strength of empty promises of politicians? The committee might say that had they not called off the closure, the bandh may have fizzled out completely. But even this argument is not appropriate because, had the bandh fizzled out, it would again point out to the ineffective leadership.

Who is to blame more — our government or our leaders? You be the judge.

– Komal Nahta


Script Is The Thing

Believe it or not, Sooraj Barjatya had finalised the one-line story of his new film as far back as in September 1994 — that is, just a month after the release of his Hum Aapke Hain Koun..!. He has been working on the script since then. Little wonder, his scripts are so tight and flawless.

Satyam About ‘Shivam’ Invitation: It’s Truly Sundaram

The invitation card for the muhurt of Kulbhushan Gupta’s Shivam must be the longest ever. Rolled and packed in the style of a bullet, the invitation measures over 115 centimetres in height. It shows pictures of the two newcomers being introduced in the film — Panini, son of late Raaj Kumar, and Maheep, better known as Sanjay Kapoor’s girlfriend. The catchy invitation card has been designed by Studio Link. Incidentally, the invitation comes in a letter sent alongwith the ‘card’, and no mention of the muhurt is made on the 155 cms. card, “so that people can pin up the card,” as Kulbhushan Gupta says.

Ambitious ‘Dus’

Mukul Anand’s Dus, starring Sanjay Dutt and Salman Khan, is based on the Operation Topac which was initiated by Gen. Zia-ul-Haq in Kashmir in 1988. It is not only being directed by Mukul but also produced by him jointly with Nitin Manmohan, Sunil Manchanda and Gautam Kumar. This ambitious film of Neha-MAD is being written by Piyush and Prasun Pandey, the two talented brothers of Ila Arun. They both are famous ad copywriters. While Piyush shot to fame with his national integration campaign, ‘Mile Sur Mera Tumhara’, Prasun made a great mark with his humorous Ericsson mobile phone commercial. His (debut) Ericsson film made him the first Indian to win the Silver Lion at Cannes. That the film will be quite different from the past films of Mukul Anand is clear from what a press release of the company, signed by Mukul, says: “Having completed 25 years of dependence on the clichés that plague our filmmaking, I am now embarking on a new journey whereby the quest is for new vistas in commercial cinema. ….It’s like starting all over again.”