The Madras High Court on Tuesday, October 17, 2023, directed the Tamil Nadu government to reconsider a request made by Seven Screen Studios, to permit the screening of five shows of actor Vijay-starrer ‘Leo’, from 7 a.m., between October 19 and 24, instead of forcing the exhibitors to start the first show only at 9 a.m.
The directions came after Seven Screen Studios, the producer of ‘Leo’, had approached the Court, seeking a direction to the Tamil Nadu government to permit a special show of the movie at 4 a.m. on the day of its release on October 19, and on permitting the screening of five shows of the movie from 7 a.m. onwards, between October 19 and 24. The production house said, that on a request, the T.N. government had permitted five shows a day for ‘Leo’ on these dates, but had restricted the timings to between 9 a.m. and 1.30 a.m.
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Justice Anita Sumanth directed the T.N. Home (cinema) Department to hold a discussion with the producers of the movie as well as the representatives of Tamil Nadu theatre owners associations at 4 p.m. on Tuesday and take an appropriate decision after considering the difficulties in the playing of five shows between 9 a.m. and 1.30 am.
The judge, however, refrained from passing any orders on the request for the permitting of a special show at 4 a.m. on October 19, since Advocate General R. Shunmugasundaram and State Public Prosecutor Hasan Mohamed Jinnah vehemently objected to the screening of a show at this time, due to security issues.
Senior Counsel Srinath Sridevan, representing Seven Screen Studios, told the judge that the run time of the movie was two hours and 43 minutes, and hence it would be impossible to play five shows within 16 hours and 30 minutes after providing a mandatory interval of 20 minutes and a break of 40 minutes between two shows, to clean the cinema hall.
Concurring with him, the judge too, was of the view that it might not be wise to shrink the interval time or the break time between two shows since this might not be advisable in a crowded environment. Therefore, she directed the government to find a solution to the issue by holding talks with the stakeholders.
The judge also insisted that a decision on the show timings be taken by Tuesday itself, since there was very little time to commence the ticket booking process for the movie, scheduled to release on October 19.