Producers unhappy with TFPC’s decision to allow 4 film units alone to shoot

A major controversy has erupted in the Tamil film industry over the Tamil Film Producer Council’s (TFPC’s) decision to grant special permission to four film units to continue shooting even during the strike period. The decision hasn’t gone down well with other producers, who have had to stop their film operations because of the TFPC strike.

It all started with the TFPC announcing that there would be no new film releases in the state from March 3. This was to protest what it called exhorbitant amounts being charged by Digital Service Providers as Virtual Print Fees. The TFPC then looked to intensify its agitation and announced that all operations pertaining to even film shootings in the city would come to a stop from March 16. It also made it clear that from March 23, even those Tamil film units shooting abroad and in other states of the country, would have to wind up operations.

Almost all film units fell in line. Just when things were under control, news broke out that the unit of director A R Murugadoss’s film, which features actor Vijay in the lead, was continuing to shoot in the city, despite other film units halting their work.

Soon, it was learnt that there were at least three other film units that were still continuing to work.

Producer J Satish Kumar was among the first to express his displeasure. The producer said, “Actor Vijay’s film shooting is happening now at Victoria Hall. Where is our unity? How can our council give special permission? I strongly oppose this decision. Don’t split up. When more than lakhs of people, most of whom are daily wage earners are without jobs, it’s not fair letting a few people to work and make others starve. Big stars like actor Vijay shouldn’t encourage this. Instead, he should put his efforts to solve our needs.”

Not just producer J Satish Kumar but several others too expressed their unhappiness with the TFPC’s decision to allow certain film units to continue shooting while restraining all others in the name of a strike.

Actor Siddharth, who is also a producer, too expressed his unhappiness over the TFPC’s decision.

“Every single film is an equal challenge in today’s brutal cinema marketplace. If these special permissions to shoot are given to one, please give them to all producers. We are all the same. In the absence of equality and unity, god save us.

“This TN govt. does not and will not care about cinema. They have proved that for a decade. It will take a miracle for them to suddenly turn around and change that. Revamping the industry is needed, but at what cost? Let the industry show unity first. Then change will follow,” he tweeted.

The TFPC for its part clarified that all film shootings in the city had been stopped by March 16. However, its secretary Durairaj claimed that the Council had decided to consider granting an extension of one or two days, after due consideration, to film units that requested for additional time to wind up work.

Accordingly, four units had given letters requesting special permission from the Producer Council to continue shooting. These requests were taken up for consideration. After perusal, permission was granted to these four film units to continue shooting for a day or two more.

“In one case, a producer had put up a huge set and was unable to complete work by the stipulated time. In another case, stuntmen from another state had arrived. If the shooting was stalled at such a stage, the producer would have to incur a huge loss. So, taking into account these factors, we granted them permission to shoot for an additional day or two,” he said.

However, a large number of producers are refusing to buy the explanation of the producer council.