In the Dark


Oscar-nominated film Zero Dark Thirty, shot in Chandigarh, releases only in two cinemas this week.

With the coveted Academy Awards round the corner (February 24), one had this feeling that American director Kathryn Bigelow's much talked-about Oscar-nominated film, Zero Dark Thirty (ZD30), would open to packed houses across theatres in town. Reason: The first Oscar-winning woman (she had bagged the award for best director for The Hurt Locker, 2010) had shot this highly explosive film in and around Chandigarh, including Manimajra and Pinjore last year, and Darshan Aulakh Productions and actors like Navdeep Singh and Navjit Brar were part of it.

However, ZD30 was released in only two multiplexes, Waves Cinemas and PVR, in the Centra Mall in Industrial Area on Friday. Single-screen cinemas and other major players — DT Cinemas in IT Park, Fun Cinemas in Manimajra, Fame in Shalimar Mall in Panchkula and Big Cinemas in Zirakpur — preferred Hindi and Punjabi releases. "We are already running full house on Special 26, even ABCD is doing well. This week, there is Murder 3, Jayanti Bhai Ki Love Story and Singh v/s Kaur, so we could not adjust ZD30 because of limited auditoriums," says Amit Singh, the manager at DT Cinemas.

G S Brar at Fun Cinemas says only big budget, big starcast and big banners sell. "According to trade reports, Zero Dark 30 got an average response, so we decided against it because we work on footfall and potential hits," he adds.

However, Aulakh, who was the line producer for the film here and also acted in it making him one of the first Punjabi actors to act in an Oscar-nominated Hollywood film, is thrilled. "We are excited and planning a show for our production house," he says.

Dr Arijit Dakshi, Assistant Professor, Department of German Studies, Panjab University, was in Wave Cinemas to catch the 3.15 show. "I live in Sector 15 and was present at the site when the movie was being shot there, and the story compelled me to come and watch it," he says.

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