Trouble in Kollywood?
The Tamil Film Producers Council’s (TFPC) President and actor Vishal had announced a strike starting on May 30, that will result in the freezing of releases and the shooting of new films. The strike is being staged to bring attention to certain demands put forth by the TFPC to both the Central and State Governments, including the eradication of piracy with the aid of cyber crime, increasing the current ticket prices, changing the cap fixed on pricing and structural changes to GST.
Earlier, there were reports that theatre owners were supporting the strike. News has now surfaced that they will not be providing their full co-operation to the strike. Tirupur Subramaniam, an influential distributor and theatre owner, explains the reasons they are not in full support: “It all has to do with the nature of the demands. We also don’t appreciate declaring a strike when none of us have submitted a petition on behalf of the Tamil film industry.
Another angle to be considered is the fate of movies. Stopping the screening of movies will affect their run. A lot of movies will take a hit because of the halt on release, shooting, etc. The apt time to declare a strike would be a few months before the scheduled date, so that necessary preparations can be made. It would be best for everyone if the TFPC does not interfere in our business and with our way of operations.
SR Prabhu, Treasurer of TFPC, counters this: “We have already submitted a petition from our side to the government and are just waiting for an appointment to meet them.”
Talking about the demands related to ticket prices, he says, “We are not asking for the ticket prices to be increased. All we are asking for is a system that regulates the ticket prices. A multiplex with heavy investments cannot operate with a pricing system that is applicable to smaller theatres.”
He goes on to say that a meeting has been arranged with the Tamil Nadu theatre association body and that all issues will be discussed in this meeting to be held today. On the plan to curb piracy, he adds, “We are new to this, having only been in power for 35 days. Our first goal is to analyse and understand the system so that we can find the right solution.”
Vishal admits there isn’t complete co-operation from theatre owners. He says that the TFPC “wants more theatres to be built. Especially small theatres, which can be approved and built within a short time, as is the case in Telangana.”
The actor also elaborates on another demand put forth, and says, “We also want to bring in 100 per cent online ticketing so that the box-office figures released are transparent and official.”
Asked if small movies would not be affected by this move, the actor says, “They already are affected and we are only trying to fix the problem.”