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What is the Current Status of the Tamil Film Industry Strike?

Apr 11, 2018

What is the Current Status of the Tamil Film Industry Strike?
What is the Current Status of the Tamil Film Industry Strike? | Credit: Dinamalar

The Tamil film industry and theatre owners have been at loggerheads and the resultant strike has lasted for more than a month now. As a sign of protest, it was decided to enforce a blanket ban on screening or shooting of films. No new Tamil film has released since March 1st and the film industry is losing crores of money each day because of this. However, there has been no official announcement yet about when the strike is likely to end. With a host of issues coming up and being discussed, there seems to be no quick-fix solution to the problems between Tamil film producers and theatre owners.

Initially, the Telugu film industry had also joined hands in the protest. But, they had decided to withdraw the protest after a week and went ahead by releasing their films. They had called off the strike after coming to an agreement with digital service providers over a reduction in prices. To show their support, the Kannada and Malayalam industries had also protested for a day against digital service providers on March 1st.

Right now, the fight is continuing only between the Tamil industry and the digital service providers as they have failed to reach a viable solution with the producers not being satisfied with the price reduction that digital service providers are offering. 

The crux of the issue-

The core of the stand-off is that the producers have complained that the Visual Projection Fee that is charged by digital service providers is exorbitantly high and is eating into their profits. Digital service providers like Qube have offered to reduce the rates that they are charging, but many producers still argue that this is a huge scam and they cannot agree to the amount of reduction that the other party is offering. While there have been many rounds of talks between the two parties, a consensus is yet to be reached. The digital service providers claim that it is not their fault that producers are not able to rake up profits and further criticised that the huge sum that they pay to top stars is the main reason for their low profits. A lot has been said by both the parties, but they haven’t been able to agree for a mutually acceptable Visual Projection Fee till now.

Latest developments in the scenario-

At the forefront of the fight, Tamil actor Vishal who is the President of the Producers Council has signed a deal with Microplex to provide the Producer's Council with their very own DCI compliant mastering facilities to screen films. The actor had previously stated that producers were not looking for discounts but were not ready to pay Visual Projection Fee at all henceforth. However, the Council recently signed some important deals with Digital Service Providers like Aerox and K Sera Sera who were offering reduced Visual Projection Fee.

What the developments mean-

The recent developments offer hope that a resolution of the issues can be expected soon. The agreements that the Producer’s Council has entered into must be implemented by theatre owners to release Tamil films in the theatres. However, the existing agreements with Digital Service Providers like Qube and UFO are still valid and a minimum of six months is needed before they can nullify this agreement and implement the new ones.

Many such issues need to be sorted out before the blanket ban is lifted. Meanwhile, the queue of films that are scheduled for release is getting longer and the loss that is resulting from this is becoming bigger.

We will have to wait and see how soon these troubles will get resolved and the industry will get back to business.