Malayalam film exhibitors prohibit direct OTT release; Tovino Thomas' Kilometres & Kilometres exempted
Kilometres & Kilometres has been given an exemption as its distributor Anto Joseph has claimed the film is facing a piracy issue
The Film Exhibitors United Organisation of Kerala (FEUOK) has decided to not back filmmakers and distributors who release their films on OTT platforms. The organisation, which is presided by Mohanlal's frequent collaborator and producer Antony Perumbavoor, has released a statement to this effect.
However, Tovino Thomas' upcoming film Kilometres & Kilometres has been given an exemption as its distributor Anto Joseph has claimed the film is facing a piracy issue. FEUOK said the decision to exempt the film was taken after considering the losses incurred by the film's makers, and added that delaying the film's release would cause further damage.
As expected, FEUOK's decision was not welcomed favourably by some filmmakers like Aashiq Abu and Ashiq Usman, who have posted their sarcastic reactions to it. "Thanks for making us laugh during this time of corona," wrote Ashiq Usman, while Aashiq Abu wrote, "When the entire world is fighting a pandemic, a 'boss' organisation has issued a fatwa. Poor Anto Joseph has been exempted. The rest are going to be in trouble. No theatres! Be warned."
Kilometres & Kilometres, which is co-produced by Tovino, is expected to be released on Hotstar towards the end of August. It is the second major Malayalam film to be released directly on OTT after Jayasurya-starrer Sufiyum Sujatayum.
Vijay Babu, who produced Sufiyum Sujatayum, faced opposition from various film organisations including Film Employees Federation of Kerala (FEFKA) when his film was acquired by Amazon Prime. FEFKA later opined that small films can be released on OTT platforms. FEUOK, on the other hand, has made it clear that its warning applies to any release, big or small.
There were reports that around 10 Malayalam films were being lined up for OTT release. But the majority of the newly completed Malayalam films, including big-budget films like Priyadarshan's Marakkar and Mahesh Narayan's Malik, have decided to opt for a theatrical release.