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Month-long strike called off after TFPC, theatre owners, DSPs reach agreement


The strike was called to protest against the exorbitant prices digital service providers (DSPs) were charging as Virtual Print Fee (VPF).

Manigandan KR

The Tamil Film Producers' Council (TFPC) has at last called off the strike it had announced on 1 March and brought the Tamil film industry to a standstill.

The strike was withdrawn after the government-mediated talks between the TFPC, the Tamil Nadu Theatre Owners' Association and the digital service providers (DSP) ended on a successful note.

The strike was organized to protest against what the producers said were exorbitant prices being charged by the DSPs as virtual print fee (VPF).

Demanding an end to this practice, the TFPC first announced that no new films would be released in the state from 1 March. It then intensified the strike by declaring that all work related to films, including pre-production, production and post-production, would be stopped.

Despite several rounds of talks among the three warring factions, no amicable settlement could be reached. Finally, an appeal was made to the state government to intervene in the issue.

Yesterday (17 April), representatives of the TFPC, the theatre owners' association and the DSPs met in the presence of Kadambur Raju and KC Veeramani, members of the lesgislative assembly.

The talks, which began at around 11 in the morning, went on late into the night. Eventually, it was announced that the strike was being called off as an amicable solution had been found.

Speaking to reporters after the talks, Kadambur Raju said, "An amicable solution has been found to the problem between the Tamil Film Producers' Council and the digital service providers. The strike that has been going on for over a month has come to an end.

"The producers have agreed to release films. They have requested for two days' time to decide the order of release of films. The films will soon be released. Shootings too will resume."

Talking to reporters, actor Vishal, president of the TFPC, thanked state chief minister Edappadi Palaniswami for his "fullest co-operation" and shared a few pointers that were agreed upon at the meeting:

1. The government has accepted the request that all theatres maintain transperancy on their occupancy levels. An order to this effect will be passed soon.

2. Ticket prices will be decided on the basis of the film's value and scale.

3. The practice of charging audiences Rs30 for online reservation will be discontinued. Audiences will now be able to book tickets online through the TFPC site for a negligible transaction fee.

4. TFPC would also do the digital mastering of films itself.

5. The cost of QUBE Run, a digital cinema server used to screen the film in each theatre, borne by the producers has been reduced from Rs22,000 to Rs10,000.

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Strike