The ongoing stand-off between producers and exhibitors federation has been hurting the Malayalam film industry at a time when it started realising its potential to rise up to the level of other south Indian movies in terms of box office collection. Condemning the theatre strike, actor Prithviraj has questioned the rationale behind the demand of exhibitors in seeking a 50-50 share of the revenue.
“I’m not going to list out the criteria of profit sharing and taxes to be paid now, once a person comes to know about them, he will understand how difficult it is to get back the investment for a film,” read a Malayalam Facebook post of the actor as translated in English by Manorama.com.
“Moreover, how many single-screen theaters in Kerala can claim that they are offering the same facilities of a multiplex? If they claim to do so, why then can’t the theaters go for a common rating panel/body which will rate all theaters and fix profit share scales,” he added.
He also appreciated Mohanlal’s Pulimurugan that heralded a new chapter in the Malayalam film industry by becoming first every Mollywood film to rake in more than Rs 100 crore. Describing 2015-16 as a golden year, he said no stakeholder has suffered losses and even theatre owners were benefited from the growth of industry.
He asserted that he supports the producers and distributors in this issue, not because he is one of them, but he is a movie buff, who is proud of the industry’s growth. He is the first leading actor to have spoken against the ongoing crisis in the industry, even as the filmmakers have suffered a huge monetary loss as no films were released since December 16.
Earlier, 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,” he added. His 2016 film Oppam starring Mohanlal, had collected more than Rs 50 crore at the box office.
The Kerala Film Exhibitors Federation, which has 350 plus theatres under its purview, has declared a strike demanding to revise the profit-sharing policy which will make the single screen owners eligible to take 50 percent of the profit on the box office collection. Currently, the profit ratio between producers and exhibitors is 60:40.