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Small-budget producers nervous as strike threat looms in Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam film industries


The Tamil Film Producers' Council is likely to announce a shut down in the first week of March in a bid to challenge the exorbitant rates being charged by digital service providers to stream movies to theatres.

Manigandan KR

Small-budget producers in the Tamil film industry are in a state of fear as the threat of yet another strike looms large.

Sources from the Tamil Film Producers' Council (TFPC) say that the council is likely to announce a shut down in the first week of March in a bid to challenge the exorbitant rates being charged by digital service providers to stream movies to theatres.

The Council's move, it seems, will be in response to a request from Telugu Film Chamber of Commerce (TFCC), which had, in November last year, announced that it would go on a strike in March 2018 to protest against the exhorbitant rates of the digital service providers. 

The TFCC had recently requested support from all other film industries in general and the three south Indian film industries, including Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam film industries, in particular on this issue.

If indeed the strike is declared, no new film will be released from 1 March.

As of now, sources say that a joint meeting between the members of the four southern states is to take place in Hyderabad soon. "A final decision in this regard will be taken only after this meeting," says a source. 

Meanwhile, the possibility of a strike has sent shivers down the spine of small-budget Tamil producers whose films are lined up to be released in late February and March, as they are affect the most by such decisions.

Director Meera Kathiravan, whose film Vizhithiru (2017) suffered losses due to the strike last years, has put out a post on his Facebook account, summarising the plight of small producers in the state.

"We have been getting news that the Tamil Film Producer's Council is again going to announce a strike from 3 March. Last year, in October, when some small-budget producers were waiting to release their films on 6 October, they announced a strike on 4 October. They gave us an assurance that the films that were scheduled to be released on 6 October, would be released on 3 November," he wrote, adding that despite the assurance, Milind Rau's Aval (The House Next Door), starring Siddharth and Andrea Jeremiah, was allowed to be released.

"They promised us that only those films that were slotted for 6 October would release on 3 November and that no new films would be allowed to release along with this set of films. But then, they allowed Aval, a film that was made by one of India's biggest corporates and distributed by one of the biggest distributors in the industry, to release along with our films. This film was permitted to be released in the maximum number of screens. The films of those who hold important positions in the council, meanwhile, ran all through the strike period, ensuring good returns to them. At least this time, let them not make someone an insect to make another 'The Hulk'. Let us trust in them. Let good things happen," he added.

 

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Strike