Over a month after the Tamil Film Producers’ Council (TFPC) went on strike with a ban on new releases, it seems producers are now beginning to feel the pinch of the mounting losses.
In a five-page legal notice to the TFPC, Sri Varaaki Amman Pictures slammed Vishal and the council for curtailing the freedom of trade and putting its business in “complete distress.”
Producer Varaaki states in a letter through his lawyer that he had recently completed the shoot of a Tamil film titled Shiva Manasula Pushpa. Having completed the shoot of the film, Varaaki states that he had “engaged several technicians for the post production works and the same was being carried on effectively.”
‘Confusion, hopelessness and disappointment’
However, the March 16 ban by the TFPC on all film-related work came as a shock to Varaaki who had reportedly borrowed huge sums of money from lenders and had promised to pay them all back after the release of his film.
“Your sudden decision on halt of productions has only brought fear in the minds of lenders that if loans borrowed could be repaid by my client on the agreed time (sic),” the letter states.
Slamming both decisions of the council, Varaaki says, “...your decision on the halt of productions for an indefinite period has brought confusion, hopelessness and disappointment. Your decision is devoid of interests and has brought (me) to face only losses rather than benefits. It is iterated that the council was formed only for the purpose of encouraging and developing the Tamil Film Productions, protecting and extending the rights of its members and further to procure them benefits. But to the contrary, your council has been acting against the interests of its members, including my client (sic).”
The producer also slammed the TFPC led by Vishal for allowing the production and release of certain films. “...you had acted arbitrarily while you have clandestinely allowing the shooting of Actor Vijay’s movie Thalapathy 62 considering his fame in the industry (sic).”
Many producers, including actor Siddharth and Satish Kumar of JSK Films, had slammed the lack of unity within the film industry. Meanwhile, speaking to TNM as soon as the controversy broke out, Vishal had said, “Four film units had requested for permission. We had initially said no, but after considering the situation we let them go ahead because they had planned shoots and it would have been costly to cancel them. In Vijay’s movie, for instance, they had flown in stunt men from Hyderabad and they were not available after this for the next three months. So we told them they can shoot.”
Kaala to release on April 27?
In another shocking accusation, the letter says that the TFPC has granted permission to actor-turned-politician Rajinikanth’s film Kaala, which is slated to release on April 27. While Lyca Productions, the distributors of the film, have kept mum on potentially postponing the film, special permission for its release, if true, is sure to stir up more controversy.
Varaaki also states, “...in the guise of illegal boycotting to bring down the price of VPF, (TFPC) has misused its dominant position and has acted arbitrarily against the preamble set out in its byelaw. Your council, providing unfair privileges to certain producers has only been working anti-welfare of its members (sic).”
The letter slams Vishal for “illegally and clandestinely trying to run an organised syndicate by setting arbitrary rules.” The producer further states that Vishal and his team “are forming an illegal cartel to make every producer succumb to their illegal demands.”
Further, Varaaki says that Vishal has “capriciously held” that any movie to be released by members of the TFPC had to approach him for dates and that “he would be the deciding authority. Further, he has laid down a condition that any such movies to be released on the decided dates shall be released only in theatres decided by him.”
The letter also calls out the “arbitrary decision” of the council to not release any movies from March 1 as it imposes restrictions on the freedom of trade and fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
In the letter, Varaaki demanded that the strike be called off with immediate effect failing which he would initiate civil and criminal proceedings.