Films usually face common problems: censors, critics, audiences. Fanaa, however, has run into different troubles -- which have nothing to do with the film itself.
First, the Gujarat Multiplex Association announced on Tuesday that they would not screen the film -- based on widespread public protests following Aamir Khan's criticism of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi -- in multiplexes, and they now urge the state government to ban the film.
Subsequently, conflicting reports started popping up in the media about how Yashraj Films, Fanaa's producers, were forcing a hike in multiplex ticket rates for the film, and wanted to negotiate a better share of the profits. Things haven't been clear till now.
On behalf of Yashraj Films, the movie's director Kunal Kohli has just clarified the situation, saying, "We at Yashraj Films would like to clarify to the public and audiences who are waiting to see Fanaa that we have not asked for any ticket hike from multiplexes. We have only asked to give a better share for Fanaa."
"We believe that we bring a certain value to film and that we should accordingly get that benefit," added Kohli. "We have also conveyed to them that we are asking for better terms only if the film performs well at the box office. If it doesn't, we are willing to go with the old terms."
In an attempt to further justify the Yashraj stance, Kohli said, "We are being very fair in this regard, and not asking the audiences to pay more for the film. The audiences will pay as much as they pay usually for any big film release at a multiplex."
Then came the big announcement -- "Due to this reason, as of now, Fanaa might not be released at the multiplexes. Negotiations are on, and if multiplexes agree, then Fanaa will be released."
The director finally declared, "However, it will be playing at all single-screen theatres across the country so the audiences can see the film on May 26."
When asked about the Gujarat situation, Kohli said there was no ban from Yashraj's side to screen the film, and the rest is up to theatre owners.
While single-screen theatres are an obviously overwhelming majority in India, the fact is that producers and distributors today look to multiplexes -- where tickets are often 5-8 times the price of single-screen theatres -- to open their films in a grand way and pile on the profits. Even before the reviews are out.
Audiences in the metro cities are increasingly getting used to multiplexes for their film needs, and a situation like this could affect Fanaa's box office chances adversely. Especially when audiences are already gearing up for a big-screen battle on Friday with Fanaa facing X-Men: The Last Stand, and the global blockbuster The Da Vinci Code also finally releasing.