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'Kooki' vs 'Kalki 2898 AD': Assam producer laments 'partiality of exhibitors'

Priyanka Chakrabarty , June 29, 2024
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Producer alleges "partiality" in getting a lesser number of screens compared to big banner movies

Guwahati: 'Kooki', a small Hindi-language film from Assam, is competing against 'Kalki 2898 AD', the most expensive Indian movie ever (with a budget of Rs 600 crore) for box officer spoils, and the results are encouraging. Both movies were released this week.

"So far, we have collected Rs 45 lakh in India," Junmoni Devi Khaund, the producer of the movie, informed Business North East. Kooki, co-written by Khaund, deals with a harrowing topic: the after-effects of a gang rape on a 16-year-old girl. 

"As we don’t have any big names and the director is new, we did not get slots in the bigger cinema halls," Khaund told this platform. However, showings at the smaller theatres where the film was shown, sold out. “In Assam, our movie is being shown in theaters in Guwahati and Mangaldai, and a Gold Cinema in Tezpur. However, 

Khaund has lamented the partiality of the exhibitors, who prefer to show big-banner movies like 'Kalki' with a bigger mainstream appeal. "It is especially unfortunate as compared to Kalki, we have higher ratings as per the Times of India. We got 3.5 but Kalki got 3," said Khaund.

Kooki was even screened at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival and received warmly.

According to Khaund, the government is not doing anything to "pressure the halls and distributors" to show regional cinema. “It is a syndicate, a nexus between distributors and hall owner," according to Khaund, who admitted to being "very frustrated."

In Guwahati, the biggest market for movies in the Northeast, the movie secured the highest number of showings - it was released in PVR, Aideo, Gold Cinema in Paltan Bazaar, and Gold Cinema in Narangi. "However, the business in Gold Cinemas is not good as they are not maintaining the halls properly," said Khaund. "We hope more people come out to watch our movie."

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