Break stalemate for cinema’s sake

The decision by ‘A’ class cinemas not to exhibit films going for multiple releases has created a controversy, and is set to disappoint thousands of movie-goers in the State during this festival season. How do cinema audiences see this move? Our readers respond:

Complicated issue

The practice in Kerala is that film producers usually demand money in advance from theatre owners to exhibit “star value” films. When a film is ready for release, it is given to those theatres that had paid the advance. This has complicated multiple releases of films. To avoid the problems, they have now arrived at a formula on the issue.

Accordingly, those theatre owners who do not pay the advance are allowed to show any films of their choice. For those who do pay, the release of the film is restricted to 70 centres. This is the agreement reached between the Film Exhibitors’ Federation and the Film Producers’ Association.

V. Venkitasubramanian


Opportune decision

The present issue is about releasing of cinemas in ‘A’ class theatres. These theatres give lakhs of rupees in advance to film producers and when the festival season comes, the latter release their films in almost all theatres, including those of ‘B’ and ‘C’ classes.

This will affect the collection of ‘A’ class theatres and that was the reason they objected to Kurukshetra and Maya Bazaar being released in other theatres.

The Minister concerned talked to theatre owners and film producers and now the issue has been solved.

From now, all films will be released in any class of theatres with the consent of ‘A’ class theatres. The advance given to the film producers may be reduced owing to this.

If we had not found a solution, there was every chance of other language films making a foray into Kerala theatres.

Sreelakshmi Sankar


Funny puzzle

The dispute is a funny conundrum created by opposite parties. There is a fundamental fact, which these associations, unions and federations chose to forget.

There is no harm in forming an association among those who are doing the same business. But the power of that association should never be used to browbeat anyone who subsists in the same field. Film producers spend a lot of money to get a film made. It is said they take advance money from the exhibitors.

But that does not mean that the exhibitors can lay down the norms for the release of the film.

The producers want to reach audiences all over the country and recoup their money as quickly as possible. Therefore, it is uncharitable to tell them that the films should be released in places chosen by the exhibitors. When golden eggs are being laid, it is better not to frighten away the goose.

M. Ramankutty


Dispute uncalled for

The bone of contention over multiple releases of films is uncalled for. The distributors, theatre owners and producers should evolve a common minimum programme for the success of any venture.

All the affected parties are concerned only with their income and if harmony is broken, it will affect the income of everyone.

It is lack of understanding which generates malpractice such as video piracy and other incidents dealing with copy rights.

As it stands, the number of movie-goers is on the decline and any harsh measures by the exhibitors will have undesirable results. Everyone is interested in having his share of income with little concern for others. It must be realised that the people are the ultimate judges to say whether a movie is a hit or a flop.

O.B. Nair


Reforms, a must

There are only a few industries such as cinema where the destinies of various stakeholders are so closely connected. The structure of the industry is such that they must either swim or sink together. The recent dispute between the exhibitors and the producers on the release of new films is not an isolated issue. It is futile to attempt to apportion blame on either.

Fear of incurring losses forces the various segments to work at cross purposes. At the root of the crisis is lack of financial viability. This discourages potential investors. It is a vicious cycle.

Comprehensive reforms on several fronts are required to revive the industry. The goal should be to attract the movie viewers to the halls by making technologically superior films with good themes.

Corporate funds need to be tapped. Recent experience has shown that the public will patronise good films, whether star-studded or not.

The screening infrastructure in the State is not viewer-friendly. There is a need to improve the facilities. Multiplexes can help provide a new experience for the movie-goers as well as provide flexibility in screening time and frequencies.

The government needs to rationalise the entertainment tax structure. The present rates are burdensome. In short, the Malayalam film industry has to reinvent itself by adapting to changes in viewer perceptions.

V.N. Mukundarajan


Indiscreet move

The decision by ‘A’ class cinemas not to exhibit films going for multiple releases is discriminatory. This amounts to denying moviegoers the right to entertainment.

The decision creates conditions akin to monopoly and will only encourage the pirated CD market.

Producers, who take huge risks to complete a film, will suffer.

Imprudent acts that tend to burden the industry further are suicidal and should be shunned.

N. Sadasivan Pillai

By e-mail

Ambience matters

Most film producers take money from A-class theatre owners during the making of a movie promising that the movie will be released only in a fixed number of theatres. The owners agree to this contemplating heavy collection for major releases. And when this deal is violated , things go haywire. The real victim is the moviegoer, who has every right to enjoy a movie in a theatre of his choice. Recently, I watched a blockbuster in a local theatre which functions as an auditorium in the mornings. During those ‘unforgettable’ three hours, I realised that the Rs.10 that I had saved on the ticket had cost me the life and blood of the movie. While I was trying to digest the poor sound quality, the rock hard and ill aligned seats would be breaking my back. Let there be a fixed number of B/C releases, but not by denying the movie buff a chance of real ‘A-class’ experience. Gladiator fights are best suited to colosseums, not local arenas.

Kiron Rajendran


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