Watching a movie is an experience today: Rahul Puri

Rahul Puri, managing director, Mukta Arts, says that Hollywood, which once constituted three per cent of the movie business in India, now constitutes 11 per cent

Multiplexes are powerless if they do not have any good content, said Rahul Puri, managing director, Mukta Arts. Puri was interacting with patrons during a session titled 'Trends in Cinema and Multiplex Business' at the Pune International Film Festival (PIFF). "Some films have just disappeared and the real audience is not coming to multiplexes. No amount of serving good food or experience can help because there aren't any good films. Look at films like Jab Harry Met Sejal and Tubelight. These films were meant to do really well but did not perform. Instead smaller films did well," he added.

He also pointed out that 2017 saw the rise of regional films. "They worked well for the traditional audience and therefore did well," he said. But he said that we (film industry) would have made 25 per cent lower profit if Baahubali hadn't done well. "It grossed more money than its contemporary Hindi films. The success of Sairat was built on the premise that people who did not watch Marathi films, watched it. That's because the audience is so tired of watching bad Hindi films. If regional cinema continues to keep up the pace, then the dynamics of Hindi cinema will shift," he added.

He also added that niche films like Lipstick Under My Burkha, Newton, Hindi Medium and Secret Superstar did well. But pointed out that the success of these films isn't big enough for the film industry and their filmmakers are particularly not thrilled about their success. "That's because the total profit of all these four films is one fourth of a loss of a big film like Tubelight," he explained.

He also said that even though single-screen theatres are shutting down, in the next three years, these standalone properties will emerge back.

"The reason being people are happy going to standalone theatres. A lot of single-screen theatres are in prime locations even in B and C towns. They are literally round the corner as compared to multiplexes which are a few kilometers away. So several multiplexes are going to invest heavily in single-screen theatres and will continue to bring occupancy back," he said, adding that on the flip side, unlike multiplexes which can screen more films, single screens have to depend on one or two films. "There is a massive effort by exhibitors to bring single screen cinemas back to life," he said.

He said that Hollywood films which earlier constituted three per cent of the movie business in India, now stands at 11 per cent. "That's because multiplexes need extra content to feed their audience," he added.

He said that today, going to a movie is not just that but it's an experience. "Technology like 3D, IMAX, VR, AR are ways to enhance those experiences," he concluded.

- Rahul Puri (MD of Mukta Arts Ltd.)