TN government appoints special officer to govern Tamil Nadu Film Producers' Council (TFPC)
The special officer will hold the position for a period of one year, during which time he will take decisions in all matters concerning the producers' council
The Tamil Nadu Film Producers' Council (TFPC) has been a battleground for almost a year now, with a section of the producers being discontent with the current leadership of Vishal. Late last year, they demanded that Vishal resign immediately, give an explanation to the numerous allegations against him and announce elections again. The warring team had even locked and sealed the TFPC office last year, after which Vishal was arrested for breaking open the seal.
Following such conflicts, the TN government, which had last month sent a show cause notice to the oraganisation, has now decided to take over the management of TFPC. Mr N Sekar, District Registrar (Admin), who spearheaded the committee that submitted the report on the alleged irregularities in the functioning of the TFPC, has now been appointed as the special officer, who will be the deciding authority. He will hold the position for a period of one year, during which time he will take decisions in all matters concerning the producers' council.
We reached out to producer Radhakrishnan, representative of the protesting faction, who had filed the case against TFPC in the Chennai High Court, to know more. He says, "Six months back, we had filed a criminal case in the Madras High Court complaining about the authoritarian decision-making by the TFPC President Vishal, irregularities in the producers council’s functioning, mismanagement of funds, unkept promises (combating piracy, absence of income from Cable TV), unchecked expenses and the absence of an Annual General Body meeting for a period of two years. The court then directed the District Registrar (Admin) to submit a report on the said irregularities, and if proved, to take action on the same. The committee, headed by Sekar, District Register, found several aberrations in the functioning of the TFPC on scrutiny." A show-cause notice was then sent to the office bearers (Vishal, Kathiresan, SS Durairaj and SR Prabhu) from the principal secretary, commercial tax and registration department, seeking a detailed explanation for the alleged irregularities. "Since their explanation was found unsatisfactory, the TN Government has now appointed N Sekar as the special officer who will henceforth manage TFPC. The previous committee has been completely dissolved. From now onwards, it will be Sekar who will be the deciding authority in the producers' council, and neither the president nor the members of the association will be able to make decisions. He will hold the position for a period of one year, during which we expect him to conduct fair elections for the TFPC office bearer posts. If not, we will go to court and make sure that elections happen," Radhakrishnan concludes.
Suresh Kamatchi, another producer in the dissenting faction, however, disagrees with Radhakrishnan about a democratic election being the best thing for the industry. "I don't see the appointment of the special officer as a significant development. We had raised a lot of complaints against the committee, which got dissolved today, but we weren't able to hold them guilty and have major actions taken against them, as they were holding the records of all the transactions. Since the government has taken over the council now, I believe they will unearth the previous committee's malpractices and take strict action against them. I don't see the need of an election now and I feel it would be great if the government forms an elaborate committee to look after the issues of the council, instead of a single person being the complete deciding authority," he says.
But, SS Durairaj, the incumbent secretary of the TFPC, says that the appointment of the special officer will only cause great havoc, as a single person, who is not part of the cinema community, will not be able to do justice to the multiple responsibilities belonging to the TFPC head. He also claims that the council, headed by Vishal, had already planned to hold the elections for the office bearer posts, which will be the action ultimately taken by the special officer. "Our tenure as office bearers actually concluded in April, and I have been wielding power only as a stopgap measure until the new board members take over. We had planned the general body meeting to decide on the date of the elections on May 1. Even the official circulars had been sent out. With the special officer taking over now, I don't see that happening. Actually, the opposite faction has been creating trouble and preventing us from holding the GB meeting for the past year. We have convened a meeting tomorrow to decide on our further course of action," he says.