June 21: Marathi actress Monalisa Bagal, who is geared up for the release of her film, Bhirkit, spoke at length about Bollywood vs South films debate. The actress said there is no dearth of good content in Hindi and Marathi cinema, but we are not getting enough screens to release our films. She said, “Many amazing Hindi and Marathi films are being made, but they aren’t getting the desired screens in Mumbai and Maharashtra overall because South films are getting dubbed, and all the screens are given to them. Our dubbed films don’t get these many screens down South. When are the directors and writers supposed to wait for their content to be sent across to the audience?”
Speaking about her experience of not getting to watch a film in a theatre, Monalisa shared, “Last month, there was a brilliant historical film released in Marathi, but we did not get any shows because there was a South film released around the same time. Then how are Marathi films supposed to work? How will the collection be seen? Similarly, for Hindi films. The content is good, but the shows aren’t available, and I have experienced this for myself. Even on Hindi TV channels, a dubbed South film is often played. Aren’t Hindi films available? I am not saying that doesn’t release the dubbed films from the South but first give priority to the people of Maharashtra.”
Monalisa also cited how this change affects the careers of young artists like her. “I am at a young age where I am supposed to showcase my talent. How will I do that when there are no shows available? I can’t do that in my 40s. I want somebody from our generation to come forward like the late Balasaheb Thackerey Ji and fight to get theatres for Marathi films. Our career will get over like this. People from the South film industry are coming to Mumbai, Maharashtra, where people don’t have enough to eat, and they apply extra tax charges on the film tickets and earn massively. What about our people? Aren’t we making good content? Aren’t we investing money in making our film? The number of screens given to them is more, and even the rates of their tickets are 400-500 whereas our tickets are 200-300. It is our loss in this, and how do we expect our films to work? If the producer bears losses, how will he make a film again?”
Monalisa called this practice “unfair.” She said, “I am not saying don’t release their films. I am a huge fan of Kamal Hassan sir, Rajinikanth sir but give us also a chance. We are not getting enough screens, and this is injustice.”
Without mincing her words, Monalisa also commented on Telugu superstar Mahesh Babu’s comment that Bollywood can’t afford him. Taking a jibe at him, she said, “You have married a Bollywood actress, a Maharashtrian, and you are saying that Bollywood can’t afford you. I am speechless. If Bollywood can’t offer you, then don’t release your dubbed films here.”
Marathi film Bhirkit’s director, Anup Jagdale, also shared his concerns by adding, “We have a limited territory, and we are not getting screens in Maharashtra and Pune. The directors and filmmakers are facing a lot of problems. By the time we declare our film’s release date, the theatres are already booked by them, and we have to wait and adjust our calendar as per their schedule.”
“Bollywood actors are also not getting enough respect there, and I will only speak for my region,” concluded Monalisa. Talking about her film, Bhirkit was released on June 17, 2022.