Kannada film “Raaga” would be off screens for the mega release of Telugu blockbuster “Baahubali 2—The Conclusion” on Friday in 500 theatres, including multiplexes across Karnataka.

“The exhibitors are taking off my Kannada film Raaga in 65 theatres in the state a week after its release on April 21 to screen Baahubali-2 from Friday,” Raaga Director P.C. Shekhar told IANS.

Made with Rs.1-crore budget by producer-actor Mithra, a Kannada comedy artiste, under the banner of his Mithra Entertainers Cine Creations, Raaga is a love story of visually-challenged people, with Mithra and actress Bhama as the lead pair.

“News of his film being removed to make way for Baahubali 2 depressed Mithra and he got admitted to a private hospital at Kengeri on the city’s southern outskirts,” lamented Shekhar.

Three Kannada films – “Om”, “Part-2” and “Engineers” and two Telugu films – “Lanka” and “Black Money” are also being taken off the screen in several movie talkies to release Baahubali 2 across the southern state.
“I begged many exhibitors to allot one show for Raaga, but they refused to oblige though many appreciated the film. No theatre is ready to screen it anymore from Friday,” alleged Shekhar.

Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce’s former President K.V. Chandrashekar, who owns two-screen Veeresh theatre in the city’s suburb, however, said the box-office collectin of Raaga was not encouraging.

“No exhibitor will take off a film from a theatre if box-office collection is good,’’ claimed Chandrasekhar, who is screening another Kannada film “Rajakumara” in his talkies for the fifth week on trot.

“Occupancy for Rajakumara is about 80 per cent, whereas Raaga failed to have even 30 per cent occupancy,’’ asserted Chandrasekhar.

Box-office collection for the morning show of Raaga on Thursday was Rs.2,300 as against the total collection of Rs.20,000, reiterated Chandrasekhar.

“It is the same in all theatres across the state. Instead of complaining against exhibitors, let the director and producer of Raaga go to the people with the daily collection report of their film,” pointed out Chandrashekar.

Exhibitor N.R. Sudheer of Vasupradha Enterprises, which is releasing Baahubali 2 in the state, said the screening would commence at 4 a.m. on Friday and tickets for all shows on the first day have been sold out.

“I am waiting to watch Baahubali 2 – on the first day, first show. I hope it will not let me down. I consider it as an Indian cinema though made in Telugu,’’ R. Nandish, a college student, told IANS ahead of the film’s release.

Some multiplexes in Bengaluru made arrangements to screen Baahubali 2 at 10 p.m. on Thursday.

“I paid Rs. 700 for one ticket to watch the film at Inox Garuda multiplex the city centre,” added Nandish.

Long queues were seen since 6 a.m, at many theatres in Bengaluru and other cities across the state to buy advance tickets though the booking counters opened at 9:00 a.m.

Theatre owners made elaborate security arrangements to regulate the crowds and sought police help to maintain order, as hundreds of fans thronged cinema halls for tickets in advance./Eom/510 words.

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