Mukesh Bhatt: “Nobody is forcing you to buy a movie ticket”

Up until three decades ago, cinema was the means of entertainment for all. Movies catered to all genres of entertainment and almost all new movies would see throngs of people heading over to the theatre to watch the latest releases.

Two reasons for this were – One, Television entertainment hadn’t exploded as much as it has now and two, the prices of movie tickets were affordable. However, the 90s brought with it an explosion of entertainment on the small screen and in the last decade streaming platforms have entered the foray and made it all too easy for the local audience to get access to a whole barrel of entertainment from across the globe.

Also, with the advent of multiplexes and fancy chains, the prices of movie tickets have grown exponentially, even more so, post the pandemic, where for nearly 2 years, most movie theatres had little to no business.

Considering that when the screens opened, it was expected that tickets would be priced higher as the theatres too needed to recover the losses they endured in the last couple of years.

However, the novelty of going to theatres has lessened in the last six months and now the common man is feeling the pinch of extravagant pricing. When it comes to big budget movies like ‘RRR’ or ‘KGF: Chapter 2’ or Hollywood biggies like ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ or ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’, people don’t mind paying a premium as these movies are made for the big screen.

However, for other regular movies, audience seem to want the ticket prices a little lower and more reasonable. In fact, the high prices for tickets have been cited as one of the reasons why several Bollywood movies like ‘Bachchhan Pandey’, ‘Dhaakad’, ‘Heropanti 2’, ‘Runway 34’ and ‘Jersey’ did not see as much footfall.

‘Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2’ saw an increased footfall largely due to the fact that the makers decided to keep the prices reasonable. The entertainment portal Bollywood Hungama, got hold of filmmaker Mukesh Bhatt for an exclusive chat on his 69th birthday, a few days ago.

During the exclusive chat, he was asked if the cheaper ticket prices would bring in more money for moviemakers and increase the number of people walking into the theatre. Mukesh Bhatt was clear that he did not believe so. He was miffed at the attitude of demanding lower prices for tickets. He said, “Agar aapko picture nahi dekhni hai theatre mein, toh mat dekho na yaar. (If you don’t want to watch a movie in the theatre, then don’t watch it) What’s the problem? Nobody is forcing you to buy a ticket. Don’t watch it. Wait for 3-4 weeks for the film to come on OTT. But if you are eager to see a film, then get ready to pay.”

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