Vishal's TFPC election win raises crucial question: Is he now Kollywood's most powerful man?
On Sunday, elections were held for Tamil Film Producers Council (TFPC), one of the most powerful trade bodies in Kollywood. Actor Vishal and his team swept the elections, trouncing rival groups consisting of veteran producers.
Vishal runs his own production company Vishal Film Factory, and the star created history by becoming the first person ever to be president of TFPC and at the same time call the shots as secretary of the actor’s union Nadigar Sangam.
It was a tussle between Vishal and two veteran producer’s groups, one led by S Radhakrishan who runs Maruthi Films and the other led by Kothanda Ramaiah of KR Infotainment. In a three -way battle, Vishal's group saw a landslide victory as they won five out of the six crucial office-bearer’s post.
The two vice-presidents are actor-producer Prakash Raj and star director and producer Gautham Menon.
The treasurer is SR Prabhu of Dream Warrior Pictures and one of the secretaries is leading producer KE Gnanavel Raja of Studio Green. Both Prabhu and Gnanavel are cousins of actors Suriya and Karthi and mostly make films with them. The only person who withstood the Vishal storm was producer ‘Five Star’ S Kathiresan, who was part of Kothanda Ramaiah’s team.
Vishal has been running a battle against the earlier TFPC members, notably its president Kalaipuli S Thanu of V Creations who produced Rajinikanth’s Kabali and Vijay’s Theri. Last year in an interview to a Tamil daily Vishal had criticised Thanu style of functioning and said that they had no time to address pressing issues like piracy and release problems. He also made some disparaging remarks, which led to his suspension from TFPC.
In February this year his suspension was withdrawn after the actor moved an appeal at the High Court against the suspension. Since then, Vishal decided to contest in the TFPC polls with a young team of producers backing him under the banner of Namma Ani (Our front).
And so, if a Kollywood power list is compiled today, Vishal becomes the most powerful man in the industry.
As Nadigar Sangam chief, he lords over all the superstars and at the same time is the president of TFPC, which dictates film production. The TFPC was set up in 1979, and is a body of Tamil film producers, with currently 1212 voting members. Traditionally, only producers controlled the association and it became very powerful at the time of a film’s release.
In Tamil Nadu, 7 out of its 10 chief ministers have had a film background, and politicians of the state know the importance of cinema. They've always tried to control the industry. Over the years the governments, in their bid to control the industry, dished out entertainment tax benefits for all sorts of commercial films which get a U certificate and have a Tamil title.
Holding a key position in TFPC also ensures proximity to the state government and the benefits it entails.
Is Vishal planning to enter the murky waters of Tamil Nadu politics? Like any Tamil politician, Vishal also went to Delhi to meet Tamil Nadu farmers who are sitting on a dharna. During his TFPC election campaign, he impressed small film producers, who are struggling to get their films released. He had said that his aim was to curb piracy and bring down cost of production.
Vishal, who believes in multitasking, after his landslide win said: “Our team would like to thank everybody who made it possible. As a young team we would tackle the menace of piracy. Mark my words, the next two years will be the golden years of the Tamil film industry.”