Cinema halls likely to suffers daily loss of Rs 2.5 million
Nepal Film Producers Association expresses solidarity with CPN-Maoist´s decision to ban Hindi movies
KATHMANDU, Oct 1: Ongoing ban on screening Hindi movies by CPN-Maoist is likely to inflicted a daily loss of up to Rs 2.5 million to cinema halls across the country,
Cinema halls across the country stopped showing Hindi movies from Monday after the CPN-Maoist led by Mohan Baidya issued a ´ban´ on their screening saying it was undermining Nepali culture and demeaning to Nepali people.
“Imposing a ban on Hindi movies in Nepali cinema halls has resulted in an average daily loss of between Rs 2 million to Rs 2.5 million,” said Ashok Sharma, managing director of Digital Cinema Nepal, which provide movies distribution and exhibition service across the country.
Sharma said the Maoist´s move was nothing more than an attempt to gain popularity for the newly formed party.
Cinema operators say they are not in a position to run the shows in the absence of quality Nepali cinemas in stock that can be immediately screened replacing Hindi movies.
“We have to suffer a daily loss of around Rs 300,000 in the absence of Hindi movies,” said Surendra Thapa, manager of QFX Central that stopped operation from Monday.
QFX Central which houses three cinema halls, used to operate up to 18 or 19 shows in a day depending on the length of the movies during normal time.
However, Gopi Krishna Movies and Gun Cinema have managed to run the halls partially or fully by screening Nepali movies even in the absence of Hindi cinemas though the number of movie goers is significantly low.
“We are showing Nepali movies in all our six halls though we are receiving limited number of audience. We will have to bear loss of Rs 50,000 to Rs 75,000 per day as we are barred from screening Hindi movies,” said Pradeep Dahal, manager of Gopi Krishna Movies.
However, Guna Cinema has closed its three movie theatres for indefinite period while it has been screening Nepali movies in five theatres. “We will suffer a loss of around Rs 70,000 daily as we are not able to screen Hindi movies,” said Bikash Shakya counter in-charge of Guna Cinemas.
Maoist´s announcement to ban screening Hindi movies has drawn flak from artists.
“Banning Hindi movies and songs are good if the country can benefited but as the country has to bear a huge loss, the decision should be taken back immediately as it is sheer violation of human rights,” said Neer Shah, senior artists.
Impact of the ban has spilled over other business as well. For example, crowds of people at stores adjoining QFX at Civil Mall such as Himalayan Beanz Coffee, Bubble Tea and Chocoberry have reduced drastically.
“Around 90 percent of our customers are those who come to see movies. Hence, we will have to bear a huge loss if the halls are closed,” said Shameendra Khadka, a proprietor of Chocoberry.
Naturally, movies goers are not less victim. Manish Kumar Shah, who hails from Janakpur gave up his plan to watch movies with his friends after notification of QFZ Central at Civil Mall about the closure of the cinema hall. Sumit Singh who was at Civil Mall to enjoy Hindi movies with his family also had to return disappointed.
“The decision of CPN- Maoist to ban Hindi movies and songs is a childish as it inflicts huge loss to cinema business in our country,” Singh vented his ire.
The Nepal Film Producers Association has expressed its solidarity to the CPN-Maoist´s decision to ban Hindi movies.
"We have expressed solidarity to Maoist´s movement. But it should remain firm in this stance unlike in the past when they later dropped the demand," said Raj Kumar Rai, chairman of the association.
However he was quick to add that it was not possible to ban all the Hindi movies. "What we need to do in fact, is that we have to develop a system allowing Hindi movies only for limited quota not in unlimited manner as it is happening now," Rai explained.
He pointed out that Nepal government´s decision to enforce only 15 percent tax to the Hindi films was a faulty policy. He argued that the government should enforce at least 50 percent tax on Hindi movies because it should be categorized under the luxurious items. Previously the government used to enforce 25 percent tax on Hindi movies. "Otherwise, we can never stop Hindi films´ hegemony in our own market," Rai said.
"The multiplexes should fix a ratio of Hindi and Nepali films whereas at present they sometime show only the Hindi movies which is very wrong," added Rai.
He argued that even in India, various provinces have set a system of showing Hindi movies with a view to promote their local and provincial movies. "It is so unfortunate that our Nepali market is not dealt even on par with India´s state market," he said.