Film chamber suspends production activities

The Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC) is registering its protest after distributors of the Hindi film Kites, starring Hrithik Roshan and Barbara Mori, released it in 46 screens in the city, violating an agreement of limiting non-Kannada releases to 21 screens in the entire State.

No screening ban

Chamber president Basanthkumar Patil told The Hindu on Thursday while there is no ban on screening of films, all production-related activities of the industry will be stopped on Friday. A meeting of all stakeholders in the industry — producers, directors, artistes and others — will be called to discuss what is to be done. “The decision to suspend the activities was taken at the chamber-level today and it will be discussed with the industry tomorrow,” he said.

In fact, the distributors had sought the chamber's permission to screen the film in at least 40 cinemas across the State.

Already released

Mr. Patil claimed Kites was released on 46 screens on Thursday itself even as some Kannada movies were forced to exit. Distributors are talking of releasing Kites in 12 more screens on Friday. He said producers and distributors of non-Kannada films have been repeatedly been flouting the chamber's policy of releasing non-Kannada films on not more than 17 screens in Bangalore and four screens elsewhere in the State. “This should come to an end and no one should take the Kannada cinema industry for granted,” he said.

In a press release, Mr. Patil said if the Kites distributors add more screens, the cinema halls will not screen films of any other language — including Kannada, Tamil, Malayalam and Telugu.

History

The “unbridled” release of non-Kannada films was not a serious issue until 2004. But soon Kannada films found themselves without sufficient number of cinemas to screen them. There were rent-related issues also.

Following this, the KFCC decided to restrict the release of non-Kannada films to six prints and screening only at 10 cinemas. In 2004, the release of the Hindi film Rakt in violation of norms triggered a row between Kannada film producers and non-Kannada film distributors. With the release of Telugu films Stalin and Shankar Dada MBBS, the entire Kannada film industry launched a movement against the release of non-Kannada films in violation of norms.

However, the government intervention led to the present agreement to allow the simultaneous release of non-Kannada films in a maximum 21 cinemas — 17 in Bangalore city and four in district headquarters.

Despite pressures, the KFCC has stuck to its policy: it allowed the release of Rajnikanth's Shivaji only in 21 cinemas.