M.T. Shiva Kumar

Bangalore: Producers of at least eight Kannada films have decided not to release their films for a few weeks. The makers of “Prem Kahani”, “Parichaya”, “Sihi Gaali” and five others who have spent Rs. 20 crore in all and are wary to release their films owing to the unavailability of theatres which are now screening non-Kannada mega-budget films.

The State has around 800 theatres, including at least 250 touring talkies. Around 100 of these are in Bangalore. Most of these are screening the Telugu film “Magadheera” and the Hindi film “Love Aaj Kal”.

Norms flouted

According to the norms of the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC), distributors should not release non-Kannada films in more than 21 cinema halls simultaneously — 17 in Bangalore and four elsewhere in the State. But the distributors of non-Kannada films are flouting the rules, said Kannada film producers, who held a protest in front of the KFCC here on Tuesday. They said the distributor of “Magadheera”, Vijayakumar, was himself a member of KFCC, and demanded action against him.

“Magadheera” was released in around 40 theatres while “Love Aaj Kal” is showing in at least 50 theatres in the State. A Kannada film producer who has lost Rs. 2 crore said the makers of recently-released “Male Barali Manju Irali”, “Muniya”, “Eddelu Manjunatha”, “Love Guru” and “Kencha” have been suffered financially as the theatres have been taken over by non-Kannada films.

On an average, 90 Kannada films are made every year. In the last five years, the industry had incurred an estimated loss of Rs. 400 crore. The super success of “Magadheera”, featuring Telugu superstar Chiranjeevi’s son, Ram Charan Teja, has Kannada film producers worrying about the future of the local industry.

“A large number of exhibitors in the State have not obtained KFCC membership and hence there is no control in release of non-Kannada films,” KFCC president Jayamala told The Hindu.

Distributor suspended

As a consequence, the KFCC suspended Mr. Vijaykumar, also the secretary for distribution at the KFCC, from its executive committee on Tuesday.

“The proceeds of 21 theatres will be given to him while the rest will be confiscated by the KFCC,” Ms. Jayamala told The Hindu. Mr. Vijaykumar was not available for comment.