Ahmedabad: With movie-goers shying away from multiplexes in the wake of Tuesday night’s rioting against the release of Padmaavat and the Karni Sena’s call for a nationwide bandh, the loss of revenue across Gujarat is expected to exceed Rs15crore by Sunday. Multiplexes in Ahmedabad alone stand to lose about Rs6crore, according to an estimate by the Gujarat Multiplex Owners’ Association (GMOA).

“A big-budget film like Padmaavat, especially being released over a long weekend, would normally result in a bigger box-office collection, since theatre owners slot more shows than usual. Moreover, tickets prices are higher on the weekends. However, now, apart from not releasing Padmaavat, many multiplexes have had to cancel shows of other films as well, since people are nervous after the violent protests, and are staying away from theatres,” explained GMOA president Manubhai Patel, adding, “There are about 120 multiplexes Gujarat, of which 32 are in Ahmedabad. We anticipate a cumulative revenue loss of Rs15crore for multiplexes across the state, and Rs6crore in Ahmedabad.”

In addition, malls have also reported a considerable drop in footfalls, despite increased security. 

Jayen Naik, vice president (malls) at Ahmedabad One Mall, said, “We suffered loss of more than Rs2crore since Tuesday. Usually we have 20,000 footfalls on a weekday, which has fallen to 50 percent. Even Cinepolis multiplex, which observes 3,000 visitors on a weekday, had to cancel other shows too as there were no visitors.”  

Himalaya Mall, one of the worst hit in Tuesday’s rioting, remained closed on Thursday to avoid further damage to property. Himalaya Mall manager Rakesh Mehta said, “We had kept the mall closed after the mob attacked our property on Tuesday. Apart from revenue loss we didn’t want any loss of life.” He further said, “Since many shops are damaged it will take them time to get back to business.”  

Ahmedabad One’s Naik agrees. “Usually, 26 January is a mega sale day. This time, we are worried because people are wary. It will take about 10 days for the public to get back into their routines.” 

Even malls without cinema halls have been hit by the current tensions. Jateen Gupta, who owns Iscon Mall, told us, “The row is costing us our entire weekend business. We have observed a 50 percent drop in footfalls, and we don’t even have a multiplex in our mall.”

This is not the first time that such furore over a film has disrupted business. “We have faced similar situations in the past, with movies such as Fanaa, which starred Aamir Khan and Kajol. So we didn’t wish to take chances with the lives of movie buffs and other visitors,” Wide Angle director Rakesh Patel told us, explaining why his multiplex chose not to screen Padmaavat after Tuesday’s incident.

Kuldeep Tiwari tweets at @ kuldeep_2105.