There’s a social media uprising against the Karnataka distributors, BK Gangadhar and TR Chandrashekar, for the massive disparity in Telugu vs Kannada shows.
Last Updated: 03.25 AM, Aug 25, 2022
Every time a pan-India film from another language releases in Karnataka, there’s the issue of how the language-wise split will happen. Time and again, even though most of these big-ticket films have Kannada dubbed versions, with the actors themselves providing voice talent, like in the case of RRR, for instance, it is the original version, Telugu here, that gets maximum number of shows. The Kannada version not only gets very few screens, but the show timings are also often not conducive for audiences. In fact, during the release of RRR, when this disparity was pointed out, the distributors had said that it is exhibitors who dictate which language they want to screen and that their hands were tied in this matter. They further added that the lack of audience for the Kannada version was also a problem.
In fact, even today’s release of Vijay Deverakonda’s Liger is following a similar pattern. Social media has been abuzz about the fact that more than 90% of the film’s shows in Karnataka are in Telugu, with Kannada accounting for a mere 2% with very few shows at odd timings. Well over 600 shows have been dedicated to the Telugu version in Bengaluru alone. For instance, one user pointed out how a Bengaluru city multiplex had a whopping 21 shows for the Telugu version and none for Kannada at one point. This was later changed and the Kannada version got one show at the multiplex. “Sad but true, Not enough Kannada shows, plz prefer to watch it in the Kannada. #WeWantLigerInKannada ✊💪. Hope in the coming days we get to see more Kannada shows in Karnataka. #NoKannadaNoBusiness,” wrote another. In Tumkur, the nine shows allotted for Liger are all for the Telugu version, while Bijapur’s four are for the Hindi version.
Although it has often been brought to the attention of distributors that this disparity will continue as long as they pander to the whims and fancies of exhibitors and that they should, instead, bring the Kannada version to most movie halls in the state, nothing has been done about this. Moviegoers and local media have cited with examples of pan-India films from Karnataka, prioritising Tamil version in Tamil Nadu, Telugu in Telangana/Andhra Pradesh, with very shows in Kannada to cater to audiences there. Their contention is that distributors should insist on a similar ratio here too, with Kannada outweighing the other language options in Karnataka. Problem is, no one’s listening! An industry insider, on condition of anonymity, says that this will change only if audiences do not line up for the original version. “As long as there are justifiable footfalls for the original Telugu/Tamil/Hindi version, as the case may be, distributors will continue to prioritize accordingly and put the Kannada version on the backburner,” he says.