Exhibitor Akshaye Rathi reacts to Naseeruddin Shah’s ‘darinde’ remark; says, “I object strongly to this distasteful & factually incorrect statement”

Bollywood Hungama was the first one to report about Naseeruddin Shah’s controversial ‘darinde’ remark against exhibitors and distributors recently. Speaking at an awards function on July 26 at Mumbai’s Regal cinema organized by the Film Heritage Foundation where veteran projectionists were awarded, Shah said that those who work the hardest in the film industry get paid the least.

While making his point, the veteran actor added, “When the film gets completed and if it becomes successful, toh iski asli malaai distributors aur exhibitors naam ka darinde kha jaate hain (a large share of it is taken away by the demons called distributors and exhibitors).”

Shah’s comment hasn’t gone down well with the exhibitors. Reacting strongly to his comments, exhibitor Akshaye Rathi wrote a detailed post on Twitter. Responding to Shah’s use of the word ‘darinde’, he said, “As a film exhibitor, I object strongly to this distasteful & factually incorrect statement.”

Rathi elaborated, “As they say, ignorance is dangerous, but half knowledge is even more dangerous. Your statement, unfortunately indicates that despite having years of experience as an artiste, you are unaware about the ground realities of the entertainment sector. I hope you realise that the strike rate / success ratio of the films that your ilk (content creators ranging from actors to film makers) makes is sub 10% & an overwhelming majority of the ones that release in cinemas don’t even draw enough footfalls to help us break even on our weekly operational expenses (real estate, electricity, salaries, maintenance, taxes etc). Profits from the occasional blockbuster make up for losses incurred through weeks of playing flop / underperforming films & at the end of the year, we hope that the larger equation allows us to stay in the green.”

Rathi added that irrespective of the fate of films that release in cinemas, the exhibitors pay full salaries of the many staff members working at a cinema hall. “I’m pretty sure no darinda would have the stomach to cushion his people from the financial blows being dealt to him. My family, has done that for over 7 decades. Perhaps that is why Shri Lakhanlal Yadav, whom you felicitated at the function, has been with us for 53 years & continues to be a part of our family at work even today, like many others,” he added.

Dear #NaseeruddinShah sahab,

While I’m truly grateful to you for gracing the @FHF_Official’s function where three projectionists (one of them being from our chain of cinemas) were felicitated for decades of their service, it’s with deep regret & disappointment, that I’m having… pic.twitter.com/Wpv3HoXTMt
— Akshaye Rathi / अक्षय राठी ???????? (@akshayerathi) July 29, 2023

Rathi concluded his post saying, “I sincerely hope you’ll realise someday, that more than anything else, we exhibitors & our people work to give the audiences a few hours of joy & escapism from the harsh realities of their lives. The least we deserve for doing so, is a pat on the back instead of brickbats, from the very people whose work we try and take to the widest possible audience despite tough & trying circumstances. (Not) a darinda… Just an exhibitor (folded hands emoji).”

Also Read: Naseeruddin Shah explodes, “When a film becomes successful, toh iski asli malaai distributors aur exhibitors naam ke darinde kha jaate hain”

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