The forthcoming festive season of Christmas 2023 has set the stage for a clash between two highly anticipated movies, Dunki and Salaar. However, the situation has escalated beyond the usual clash scenario, with the distributor of Dunki, Pen Marudhar, facing backlash from exhibitors across India for their demands of exclusive showcasing in single screens during the extended holiday period.
Expressing their discontent, numerous exhibitors have raised objections against the allegedly unreasonable tactics adopted by Shah Rukh Khan’s film distributors, demanding 100% showcasing for Dunki in single screens. The exhibitors contend that while they are willing to favor Dunki over Salaar, demanding all four shows for one film during a clash scenario is unjust, especially when the opposition is also a mass-friendly production.
An incensed exhibitor, speaking anonymously, highlighted the exhibitors’ standpoint, asserting that it is within their rights to decide on showcasing preferences. The exhibitor expressed a willingness to allocate three shows for Dunki compared to Salaar’s two shows, yet deemed Pen Marudhar’s demand for exclusive showcasing as wholly unfair.
While expressing respect for Shah Rukh Khan and their willingness to promote Dunki, the exhibitor emphasized the necessity to balance showcasing for both films, catering to the diverse preferences of their audience. The exhibitor drew parallels to past clashes, citing instances like Raees vs. Kaabil and stressed the need for a civil approach post-pandemic.
The exhibitor further disclosed that Anil Thadani, the Hindi distributor, is open to sharing screens for Dunki, but Pen Marudhar remains inflexible, insisting on exclusive showcasing. Criticizing the disparity between multiplexes and single screens, the exhibitor questioned why the former could share shows while the latter faced restrictions, resulting in a dilemma where they’re compelled to play only one film.
The brewing conflict between the distributors and exhibitors has raised concerns within the industry, sparking a debate on fair showcasing practices and the need for equitable treatment between single screens and multiplexes.