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'NE filmmakers don't have money to promote'

 NEW DELHI, Oct 14 (IANS): Assam-born actor Adil Hussain says that filmmakers from the northeast region don't have the kind of budget to market their movies; neither do they have enough theatres to recover the cost.

Adil, who has acted in Bollywood films like "Lootera" and "English Vinglish", points out that region-specific movies get acceptance from the audience around the globe, but that needs aggressive campaigning, which is not possible without money.

"Films which are region-specific, but made well, have a universal appeal," Adil, who plays the lead role in Assamese movie "Sringkhal", told IANS in a telephonic interview.

"For instance, if a film set in a village in Japan has a well-crafted script, it will get acceptance from the audience worldwide. But marketing plays the most important role in that," he added.

Adil believes it is imperative for filmmakers to have good contacts to reach out to distributors like PVR Director's Rare, which has footprints all across the country.

"PVR has a provision to release good films throughout the country via PVR Director's Rare," he said.

"The film has to be good in the first place. Then you need to know someone to approach the PVR establishment or a similar one who can take the responsibility to distribute the film across the country. It needs a lot of money," said the actor, who resides in the capital with his wife and a son.

"Filmmakers in Mumbai as well as in the south spend a lot of money on advertising. Sometimes the money is more than the production cost of the film. Money for promotion plays an important role, which I feel the producers of the northeastern region don't have," he added.

Usually the budget of movies in the northeast is small, and with the limited number of screens in the region, it is hard for producers to recover the investment.

"There are people who have made films at a budget of Rs.50, 000 or Rs.100, 000. But the average budget might be Rs.35 lakh. At the most Rs.70 lakh, which is very rare.

"The northeast has a few cinema halls. There are only 46 active theatres in Assam, if my data is correct. So, how can the producer expect to get his money back? For Hindi language films, there are thousands of screens available, if they have money to promote them," he said.

Adil is the brand ambassador of the two-day North East Festival, starting Nov 8 here. His aim is to make people aware of the beauty of northeastern states like his hometown, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram, Tripura, Manipur, Sikkim and Meghalaya.

"I want to spread awareness about the amazing beauty of the northeastern states. For instance, rafting places in Arunachal Pradesh, diversity of culture in Assam and much more," he said.

Another important task on Adil's list is to spread awareness about the scenic locations in the region among filmmakers. He says the region has an amazing scenic beauty, which hasn't been explored by Indian cinema people yet.

"I would love to do that, but at the same time there are a few obstacles that the government of some of the states in the northeast have to remove. It should give free access to film production houses and provide proper facilities," said the actor who had also acted in Hollywood film "Life of Pi".

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