Malayalam film industry heads for splitsville


It’s a paradox that a film, which celebrates love, has created such hatred in the Malayalam film industry. The row over the blockbuster Premam has managed just that. It’s a free-for-all now with industrial players talking in different voices.

The Kerala Film Exhibitor’s Federation, a collective of ‘A’ class theatres, has gone on an overdrive pointing fingers at the distributor’s and producer’s associations only for them to return the favour while Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA) has taken a relatively neutral stand.

Siyad Kokker, State president, Kerala Film Distributors Association, has said that the exhibitors’ move to protest by closing down theatres went against the very purpose of the protest demanding action against piracy. “It will only lead to further revenue loss to the producer of Premam . Instead, they should have let the police and the apex industrial body, the Kerala Film Chamber of Commerce, to deal with it. The pirated copy bear the Censor Board watermark, in which case the producer is responsible for the leak,” said Mr. Kokker.

G. Suresh Kumar, president, Kerala Film Producers’ Association, however, ruled out a leakage from the Censor Board and pointed towards whoever was entrusted with carrying the copy to the board and back. He said that the producer of Premam, Anwar Rasheed, didn’t bother to inform the association about the leak but had instead threaten to resign from the Association.

“The exhibitors’ decision to go a strike is part of their ploy to torpedo the wide release of the forthcoming big budget bilingual movie Bahubali in the wake of the Competition Commission’s verdict against their stand on wide release,” he said.

B. Unnikrishnan, FEFKA general secretary, said that the watermarking happens at the editing table. “In this case (Premam), editing was done at the studio of its director Alphonse Putran,” he said.

Vinayan, director and former president of Macta Federation, suspected a larger conspiracy behind the Premam fiasco unlike the usual piracy cases. “The police also didn’t bother to act till the media made it a major issue. The Tamil Nadu police made an arrest from Thiruvananthapuram in a matter of days when even a teaser of forthcoming Vijay movie was leaked,” he said.

AMMA president Innocent urged the State government to bring the perpetrators of the crime to the books and to go the whole hog against the scourge of piracy.

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