Kollywood strike ends: Mercury to be first release; TPFC hopes Rajinikanth's Kaala jolts industry back to normalcy

Sreedhar Pillai

Apr,18 2018 18:18:31 IST

It took government intervention, but after a 48-day impasse, the Kollywood strike spearheaded by Tamil Film Producers Council (TFPC) against Digital Service Providers (DSP)’s and theatres in Tamil Nadu has ended. On Tuesday the state government called for a meeting of producers, theatre owners and DSP’s which came to an agreement of sorts, which will be ratified in the coming months.

It is a victory for TFPC president Vishal and his team, who were able to reduce Virtual Print Fee (VPF) by half for E-Cinemas (1K projection), which forms nearly 60 percent of screens in Tamil Nadu. The weekly VPF charges for E-Cinemas will now come down from Rs 9,000 to around Rs 5,000 which is a huge reduction. The state government also issued a GO which allows flexi-ticket pricing in Tamil Nadu. Ticket prices will now become flexible and rates would be charged according to the star value and the standard of the film.

The theatres agreed to a TFPC-run ticket app, which will bring in clarity on box-office collections. However the DSP’s struck to their demand they won’t reduce the VPF rate for DCI (2K and above projection) in multiplexes, as it will affect their business outside Tamil Nadu. In a way, this is a victory for Vishal and team who have been fighting single–handedly to reduce VPF rates.

As of 4 April 2018, it has been precisely 40 days since the last lot of Tamil films hit the screens; since 23 February onwards, Kollywood has come to a grinding halt. PTI Photo

As of 4 April 2018, it has been precisely 40 days since the last lot of Tamil films hit the screens; since 23 February onwards, Kollywood has come to a grinding halt. PTI Photo

Meanwhile a decision on new releases will be taken on Wednesday evening at a meeting called by the TFPC. A decision to resume shooting, post-production work and certification of finished films is likely to be taken at the meeting. The road ahead looks clear for new releases starting 20 April. The first film to hit the screens will be the Karthik Subbaraj-directed Prabhu Deva thriller Mercury, which released in other part of the country on 13 April.

There are many films waiting to release, but the trade body wants priority to be given to Rajinikanth’s Kaala. TFPC officials are meeting up with the film's producers and plan to convince them to release the film on 27 April. One solid big film may revive ticket sales and bring some hope to an industry going through very bad times. Kaala has been certified U/A and producers may be able to release it soon if all goes well. Rakesh Gowthaman of Vettri Theatre in Chennai's Chrompet suburb said, "What we need is a big film like Kaala to bring the audience back to the theatres as there were no releases for the last 47 days. We need a super hit to convince not only the loyal audiences but also the stakeholders that Tamil cinema is alive and kicking."

The shooting of all the films which were suspended will restart once Vishal makes the official announcement. It will take a few weeks before shooting stabilises. A lot of big budget films like Ajith’s Siva-directed Viswasam will now be able to start their shoots. Now it is up to Vishal and team to remove the negativity surrounding Kollywood. The younger audience believes that some prominent Tamil film industry people like Bharathiraja and Seeman were responsible for the IPL moving out of Chennai on the Cauvery issue. On social media, hashtags and campaigns are going on against Kollywood demanding that new releases should come only after the Cauvery Water Management Board is set up. It is a highly-charged atmosphere it will take some time before the situation cools down and Kollywood returns to normalcy.

Updated Date: Apr 18, 2018 18:18 PM