Kollywood Strike Called off, Tamil Films to Release This Week

The strike which had brought the Tamil film industry to a grinding halt has finally been called off. The official announcement is expected to take place on Wednesday, 18 April.

The Tamil Film Producers’ Council had called for a strike from 1 March over digital service providers (DSP) charging Virtual Print Fee – or VPF – from producers. While the other south Indian film industries expressed solidarity with their demands, the Kannada and Malayalam industries observed only a one-day token strike. The Telugu industry persisted but eventually agreed to the new terms offered by the DSPs.

The Tamil industry, on the other hand, also halted shooting of films from 16 March.

At Last, DSPs Give In

On Tuesday, 17 April, 48 days after the Tamil industry shut down, the Tamil Film Producers Council (TFPC) announced decisions that have been arrived at in a meeting involving stakeholders.

According to reports, there will now be greater transparency about box office collections of films, computerised ticketing, reduction in online booking charges, and flexible ticket pricing. The DSPs have also reportedly slashed their VPF rates.

“The strike has been called off today. Official announcement will be out tomorrow. From what we hear, is it is a win-win situation for producers and DSPs,” one theatre owner told TNM.

Jayendra Panchapakesan of Qube Cinema also confirmed that the strike has been called off.

No Films on Tamil New Year

The strike is the longest-ever that the Tamil industry has undertaken and for the first time, there were no releases for the Tamil New Year, a much coveted date at the box office. There are reports that the TFPC will set up a committee to decide on the schedule of releases for films which were delayed because of the strike. All eyes are on the Rajinikanth-starrer Kaala which was supposed to release on 27 April. According to the grapevine, the film will be pushed to June although there is no official confirmation as yet.

The strike saw a bitter battle between the film industry, the exhibitors, and the DSPs. However, even though the Tamil industry stood united on the face of it, there were grumbles about the heavy losses caused due to the strike and the preferential treatment given to some films when it came to permitting shooting.

Actor Arvind Swami had recently tweeted that he was getting 'tired' of the strike. The details of the final deal between the industry, exhibitors and DSPs are yet to be announced.

(This copy was first published on The News Minute and has been republished here with permission)

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