TPFC goes after exorbitant actor fees; producer Gnanavel Raja says Tollywood winning out due to reasonable renumeration

Raja Sekar

Apr,26 2018 09:53:19 IST

Led by Vishal, the Tamil Film Producers Council (TPFC) tasted a historic victory when they reduced the Visual Print Fee of Digital Service Providers, made computerised ticketing systems mandatory in all theatres and paved the way for flexible ticket pricing. However, producers say that the reformation is just the beginning and their important goal is to reduce the exorbitant remuneration for actors. Not only big stars, comedians and small actors who are being paid on daily basis are quoting unreasonable amounts and it only adds to the burden on the producers, resulting in unbearable production cost.

A crucial meeting was held last Saturday in the presence of Nadigar Sangam President Nassar, Treasurer Karthi and General Secretary Vishal, STR, Vijay Sethupath, Arvind Swamy and others. At the meeting, Nassar conveyed the request of the producers to all the members of Nadigar Sangam.

From 1 June, theatres across Tamil Nadu will be computerised and the Tamil Film Producers Council is planning to get the box office data for each film. Salary of major actors will be purely decided based on the box office performance of their films and if there is any loss, they should come forward accept a reduction in their pay.

Nadigar Sangam is also planning to reduce the production cost by avoiding business class tickets. Leading actors and actresses have their own styling experts and assistants. Until now, all these assistants got a lump sum amount from the producers but the TFPC has decided to fix a pay based on daily wages which producers pay to the employees of FEFSI (Film Employees Federation of South India). If the assistants and styling experts demand more money, the actors will have to take care of the extra expenses. Actors like Suriya, Vishal and Karthi have decided to cut down the production cost by paying their own assistants.

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Nadigar Sangam also wants to generate more funds and as a first step, if actors participate in any award shows, the organisers should financially contribute to the betterment of the association.

Though all these welcome moves were discussed at the Saturday meeting, Gnanavel Raja, one of the prominent producers of Tamil film industry openly spoke about the unrealistic remuneration and took a dig at the leading stars in the industry. “Currently, Tollywood is the healthiest industry in Indian cinema. The main reason is the favourable environment created by actors and producers. A Telugu hero who enjoys 100 crore business gladly accepts 20 crore remuneration but in Kollywood, stars ask for 50 crore. Because of the exorbitant salary, producers are reducing the production cost and it only affects the grandness of the film. Today, Telugu cinema enjoys good Hindi satellite market because of their rich production values but you can’t expect the same in Tamil”, said Gnanavel.

“Apart from the big stars, comedians and character artists who are in demand are also charging us more. They think that paying them will not affect the industry but if each and every actor started demanding more salary, the production costs would increase and at the end of the day, producers are the ones who face unbearable losses”, added Gnanavel.

He also spoke about the lack of fresh writers in Tamil cinema. “Telugu producers have understood the value of writers. A good writer in Telugu would get nearly Rs 1 crore as his salary but we stopped respecting writers and started running behind directors”, said the producer.

The Thaanaa Serndha Kootam producer also said: “Nadigar Sangam office bearers including Vishal and Karthi have discussed to regulate the remuneration of the actors. We hope things get changed in the industry because I can’t make series of films here and face continuous losses. I have my own office in Hyderabad and am considering the option to shift to Tollywood”.

Though Gnanavel didn’t mention anyone’s name, his speech created a fierce debate on the social media. Gnanavel has produced and distributed more than forty films in Tamil and Telugu.

Updated Date: Apr 26, 2018 09:53 AM