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Post-pandemic recovery continues for Marathi cinema

Marathi romantic drama Chandramukhi has continued the impressive recovery for films in the language post the pandemic by making Rs. 1.21 crore on its opening day. The film has been directed by Prasad Oak and stars Amruta Khanvilkar and Addinath Kothare.

To be sure, smaller regional language film industries such as Marathi, Bengali and Punjabi that do not boast of large budgets of Hindi, Tamil and Telugu cinema, have bled for the past two years with the pandemic having created losses of nearly Rs. 600 crore. Not only were multiple projects stuck with interest costs mounting for producers, content in these languages was also still not picked up in a big way by large video streaming platforms that focus on languages with a bigger draw.

These movie industries have faced tough competition from bigger Hindi films for years. In 2019, for instance, around 130 Marathi language films were released in theatres but only four or five managed to do well at the box office. As the heart of the Hindi film industry, Mumbai often tends to overlook rich Marathi cinema that has remained on the periphery for years, with films like the 2016 blockbuster Sairat remaining a rare exception, according to trade experts. Further, unlike Bollywood, Marathi, Bengali, and Punjabi industries are mostly unorganized, relying on individual producers rather than established corporate houses.

Movies made in smaller regional markets barely ever make more than the cost of their production at the box office. Part of this has to do with the fact that these films are concept-driven and do not come with much star value. Actors in these industries are not really hero-worshipped like in Bollywood and in the south. Even in other states such as West Bengal and Punjab that boast active film industries, Bollywood is the bigger draw. Live Mint

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