Just a week ago, Tamil cine idol Kamalahaasan was stopped in his tracks for trying something rather radical in the film business. His attempt to release his multi-lingual film, Viswaroopam, on the direct-to-home (DTH) platform—a day ahead of its release in cinemas—met with strong protests from theatre owners, who feared it would affect business. The star was forced to postpone the release with the assurance that the film would be available on DTH a week after its opening.
But around the same time, a special screening of Matru ki Bijlee ka Mandola was organised in the capital with star Pankaj Kapur present. The venue wasn’t a multiplex but something quite like it. It was at Fortiplex, a plush, 36-seater lounge theatre within the swanky Fortis hospital complex in Gurgaon. “It offers positive distraction to the families and caregivers of patients. It’s an effort to make them as less stressed as possible,” says Dr Dilpreet Brar, regional director of Fortis Memorial Research Institute. The non-commercial, unticketed viewing room is open for use by patients, doctors, nurses and other employees.
ClubX (an initiative of UFO Moviez India Ltd that facilitates movie content delivery to over 3,500 cinemas) is a recently soft-launched exclusive service which delivers Hindi movies to select members. It’s in the home theatres of top industrialists, stars and cricketers, even some leading politicians. It’s at a Delhi farmhouse for the recreation of the top management of a south India-based company. It’s being used by the president of a leading auto company in Delhi.
Far-flung townships of leading companies and cinemas in cantonment areas are the next frontiers it aims to capture. “You can watch theatre quality movies at your own convenience without stepping out for pre-scheduled shows. If need be, one even has an option of pausing the film and continuing with it later,” says Sanjay Mehta, of Bobby Films, Delhi.
Of course, all this comes at a substantial cost, Rs 6-7 lakh in the first year, which includes a one-time membership fee and charges for installing equipment and hardware, a membership fee and a content advance. Screening charges are based on gradation of films—from blockbusters to smaller efforts. The earlier you screen the film, the higher the charges. UFO’s regional office in Delhi arranges the licence from the rights holder/distributor. In short, cinema reaches your doorstep as soon as it is made, and legally too. And there are no final frontiers here. Today it’s confined to select living rooms, tomorrow it could become available on a mobile or a tablet near you.
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
About Mr. Haasan, I mean to ask, when will he be making movies which gladden the heart? You cannot call a movie named, 'Dasavataaram', a well, humourous movie. Also, why does he like Bengali's, as is apparent in his immortal RAW agent '......'? It seems, everyone is supposed to be connected to the divine, so he must, (the RAW agent) be an avatar. I seriously feel, that my sentiment is misplaced. If Dabangg 2 should not have been made, neither should certain situations arise, which make the gem of a Bengali, a great persona.
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