Bharathan's action drama Bairavaa, starring the Tamil sensation Vijaya, has turned out to be a casualty in the ongoing tiff between the Kerala Film Exhibitors Federation (KFEF) and Kerala Film Producers Federation in the state.
It was earlier reported that as many as 350 theatres in Kerala downed shutters indefinitely from 12 January onwards over sharing of profits among exhibitors, distributors and producers. However, International Business Times reports that the distributor of Bairavaa, IFar International, has issued an ad in the newspapers claiming that the exhibitors who had signed an agreement with them to screen the film will be liable to indemnify the distributor for all the losses that the film suffers as a result of being boycotted by those exhibitors.
The notice of the company reads that not screening the film stands as a clear violation under the competition commission of India Competition Act, 2002 and that the distributors will opt for the legal route in the event of the exhibitors choosing not to screen the film in their theatres.
Firstpost journalist Sreedhar Pillai had reported last month on the root cause of this ongoing tiff between the exhibitors and the producers/distributors. "The current crisis is basically over the percentage of box-office collections. The single screens in Kerala were paying 60 percent of the total net to distributors and producers in the first week of a new film. KFEF chief Liberty Basheer, who has control over a large number of screens in the Malabar area — which accounts for 45 percent of the total box-office collections in Kerala — wants parity with multiplexes, which get 50 percent of the total net in the first week," the report stated.
However, the report by International Business Times points out that Bairavaa is being screened in about 100 screens in Kerala as it is being allowed into the cinema halls that do not come under the KFEF, such as the multiplexes, government-owned screens and B and C theatres.
But since single screens are the lifelines of such commercial potboilers, especially down south, Vijaya's film is bound to bear the brunt of the battle that it was not a part of.