The latest media reports have suggested that the association of film exhibitors in Kerala will revoke the ban on screening of Malayalam films soon. The development comes a day after Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan intervened in the ongoing dispute in the film industry, which has stalled the release of new Malayalam films since December 16.
In a telephone conversion, Vijayan had asked film exhibitor’s federation President Liberty Basheer to end the strike, which has been hurting the film industry very badly. According to TV reports, the chief minister told Basheer to call off the protest and maintain the status quo of the revenue sharing policy till the government arrives at a conclusion on the matter.
During the general body meeting of the Kerala Film Exhibitors Federation (KFEF) on January 10, the issue will be discussed and an official announcement regarding the association withdrawing the protest is also expected.
Earlier, in an abortive attempt, culture affairs and cinema minister AK Balan mediated a meeting between the exhibitors and a combined team of producers and distributors. He also suggested that the government will appoint a judicial panel to look into the problem. However, the meeting failed to render a solution even as the crisis deepened with personal attacks.
Basheer has alleged that Kerala Film Producers’ Association leader G Suresh Kumar has caused the stalemate in the industry so that his daughter Keerthy’s upcoming Tamil film will get the maximum number of screens in the state.
The strike has halted the production and release of new films for more than 20 days, which has caused a loss of about Rs 20 crore to the industry. Reacting to the dispute, director Priyadarshan has slammed the exhibitors for trying to destroy the industry.
“The Film Exhibitors Federation has always tried to destroy Malayalam cinema. At a time when Malayalam cinema enters the Rs 100 crore club, a permanent solution should be found to end this,” said the director during his recent media interaction. His last year film Oppam, with Mohanlal in the lead, became one of the biggest Malayalam box office blockbusters of all time.
While the exhibitors demand 50-50 revenue share in box office collections, Malayalam Film Producers Council and Distributors Association have opposed it. Mohanlal’s Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol, Dulquer Salmaan’s Jomonte Suvisheshangal, Prithviraj’s Ezra and Jayasurya’s Fukri will only release after the distributors and exhibitors reach an agreement on the profit-sharing policy.
Actor Vijay’s Bairavaa will hit 75 screens on January 12 in Kerala, while the release dates of other new films are also expected to be announced soon.