Wednesday 16 January 2013

Cutting Chai with Bhawana Somaaya - Day 16

All about preview shows
16-01-2013, Mumbai

Have you ever wondered what happens at a film screening for film
reviewers? Well, the production house whose film is closer to release
usually appoints a PR company who gets in touch with citics and
invites them for a preview show which is usually held on Wednesday or
Thursday and incase of YRFilms on Friday morning.

The shows begin usually 20 minutes to half hour later than the time
given and the interval is long enough for everybody to visit the
washroom and collect their popcorn packets.

Some media members take notes in their diaries with their mobile phone
lights. Most of them prefer to just enjoy the film.

In the olden days till the late 70s all press screenings were held in
South Bombay closer to media offices at a  preview theatre in Colaba
called Blaze. The theatre had lights attached to the handle of the
seats to facilitate critics incase they wished to make notes.
Only a few preview shows has this facility today and they are usually
booked for the censor committees.

Back to Blaze , a handful of senior critics from leading English and
regional papers were invited for the press show and the reviews those
days appeared not on Friday but Sunday.

This was a boon for the producers who enjoyed three full days to
recover investment before the media panned their film on Sunday. Still
thye filmmaker was always tense because the reviews affected the
advance booking of the following week.

In the 80s the venue for the preview shifted to midtown Famous at
Worli. This was a bigger theatre than Blaze and now bigger crowd
comprising budding newpapers and film magazines who devoted a special
section to cinema also attended the press shows.

The 90s brought the itelevision, the intenet and the 200 the
multimedia as a result the press shows became as big as a premier and
shifted to multiplexes. Producers with small budgets preferred the
cosy theatres and invited only a small crowd iseriously nclined to

This week there are 3 releases of different genres and budgets and
preview shows held in different surroundings. We saw Bandook at a cosy
theatre in a bylane of suburbs. Inkaar in a multiplex and Mumbai
Mirror has done away with the press show to  directly invite all to a
premier in a cheerful multiplex.

Bhawana Somaaya/

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