Non-Kannada film releases in Karnataka to be withheld till 18 August

BANGALORE: The Karnataka Film Producers Association (KFPA) has requested all non-Kannada film distributors to refrain from releasing non-Kannada films starting 13 August. 

As per industry sources, all new releases would be withheld till 18 August.

The agitating film producers and directors had been demanding an increase in the present entertainment tax levied on non-Kannada films. The Kannada film fraternity has also been demanding assurance that all Kannada films be shown in all theaters in Karnataka for at least 12 weeks a year, abolition of show tax and turnover tax on exhibition of Kannada films and a single-window-system for permission for filming.

The KFPA and the Karnataka Film Chambers of Commerce (KFCC) have set up a ten member-committee headed by producer B M Harish to monitor the screening of non-Kannada films in the State. The committee will ensure that: (1) Non-Kannada films are screened in the State only after they are exhibited for at least 12 weeks in their respective states (2) All Kannada films are compulsorily screened for 12 weeks (3) Similar committees are formed throughout the State.

Distributors of non-Kannada films have officially announced that they will comply with the KFPA decision. Theater owners screening non-Kannada films anticipate violence in theaters, as per media reports.

With the KFPA's decision to block all non-Kannada films coming into effect on 13 August, the release of films like Vasool Raja MBBS (Tamil), Andaroo Dongale Dorikithe (Telugu) and the Kyon Ho Gaya Na (Hindi) in the State will be affected.

It may be recalled that during a meeting after Monday's rally called by KFPA and KFDA, deputy CM Siddaramaiah had agreed to constitute a panel to look into the problems of the Kannada film industry. The committee to be headed by chief secretary KP Pandey comprises veteran film producer Parvathamma Raj Kumar, actor-producer-director Ravichandran, KFDA president SV Rajendra Singh Babu and film director Joe Simon.

The producers and directors expect preferential treatment from the theater owners and exhibitors. Kannada films are generally small budget films and hence can't compete with Tamil, Telugu and Hindi films. In 1996, the State government had forced a trade agreement between theater owners and producers to screen non-Kannada films only after seven weeks of release elsewhere. The agreement had to be abandoned, because, exhibitors and theater owners threatened to approach the court.

Some of the film personalities who chose to boycott the rally term the demands by the producers and directors as illogical asking how long the Kannada industry expected protection from the government. According to them, the industry must bring out quality films and not the mediocre films, which are the order of the day today.

Meanwhile, KFPA has postponed its meeting to initiate action against personalities who'd not participated in the rally to 16 August due to lack of adequate turnout, says reports.

"Banagalore is a cosmopolitan city. There are people from all over the country here. Not all are interested in Kannada movies; many want to watch Tamil, Telugu, Hindi and English films. Even if I want to watch a Kannada movie, I don't, because they lack quality and are poorly made," says youngster Raja Gowda, a Kannadiga movie buff as he came out of a theatre watching the evening show of the last week release Mujhse Shaadi Karoge.

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