There’s bad news for film buffs in Tamil Nadu as they will have to wait for some more time before they can watch new Tamil releases. Yes, no new Tamil films will release as the Tamil Film Producers Council (TFPC) and the Film Employees Federation of South India (FEFSI) have announced that the ongoing strike in the film industry here will continue as talks between some of the associations on a few issues have failed.
More importantly, the Tamil film industry will undertake a major rally on April 4, which will culminate in a meeting of the film industry representatives with the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister.
Addressing a press conference along with FEFSI President R K Selvamani, TFPC President Vishal, who is also the secretary of the South Indian Artistes Association, said, “The strike in the film industry will continue till all policies and practices pertaining to the film industry are regulated and made proper. We have decided to seek the intervention of the state government in this regard. We therefore intend to take out a huge rally, at the end of which we intend to meet the Chief Minister and explain the problems plaguing the film industry to him.”
The actor said that what they were trying to do was to regulate the film industry. Admitting that although the strike period could be painful, Vishal said that regulating processes would bring in a lot of benefits including more audiences to theatres. “We don’t want watching films in theatres to be a costly affair,” Vishal said, hinting that a sum of Rs 30 was being charged by theatres as booking charges for tickets online. “We are going to go to the government and explain our grievances to it and appeal for intervention,” he said.
Talking on the occasion, Director R K Selvamani, who was representing FEFSI at the meeting, said that they would take out the rally and meet the Chief Minister and urge him to resolve the stalemate in the film industry. Selvamani said that they would place before the government a few requests including the formation of the Tamil Nadu Film Development Corporation.
“We are not saying that the government should not collect tax. What we are saying is give us a structure and then collect tax. We want to make all payments only by cheque. Similarly, theatre owners must give only computerised tickets. We want to do all of this. To facilitate this, there must be structure. They must create a Tamil Nadu Film Development Corporation on the lines of the National Film Development Corporation,” he said.
Explaining what was happening, Selvamani said, “Earlier, at least a 1000 people would turn up to watch a film in a theatre. Now, because of the exhorbitant prices of tickets, which include GST and then, on top of it the Local Entertainment tax, the parking charges and the additional costs of booking tickets online, only 200 people turn up to watch a film at the theatre. The problem arises when one looks to recover the money that one would ideally make out of 1000 people visiting theatres from the 200 who now come to theatres. This has resulted in a situation where even these 200 now stop coming to theatres. To address all such issues, we are placing some requests to the government. ”
When pointed out that the strike had started primarily because of the disagreement between producers and the Digital Service Providers over the VPF and how they expected the government to interfere in this issue, Vishal said, “The dispute over VPF with the DSPs would not be one of the issues which would be presented to the government. We will be representing other issues like doing away with the Entertainment Tax on top of GST, Parking Fee regulation, computerisation of ticketing and the formation of the Tamil Nadu Film Developmen