47 more non-Kannada cinemas close in Bangalore

BANGALORE: Another 47 theatres in Bangalore have announced closure from today onwards, taking the total number of cinema houses that have shut shop since yesterday (21) to 68. Of the 115 theatres in Bangalore, approximately 77 theatres rely on non-Kannada films.

The battle between the non-Kannada film fraternity and the Kannada Film Producers Association (KFPA) heated up further as the Karnataka Theatre Owners Association (KCTOA) lashed out against KFPA and the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC) at a press meet conducted in Bangalore this evening.

In an official release issued during the press meet, KCTOA has alleged that KFPA is playing a sinister role in keeping the Kannada industry in perpetual poverty and is capitalizing endlessly out of it by inflaming linguistic passions and that it does not in principal wish to see the functioning of the non-Kannada film industry in the state. KCTOA while decrying the role of KFCC in the anti non-Kannada films campaign, described it as a practically useless organization.

KCTOA has decided to keep away from both the bodies and initiate action to revive and build the Kannada film industry. The association plans to approach the government stating that it will take up the onus of reviving the Kannada Film Industry in a manner similar to the highly successful Bangalore Action Taking Force (BATF) in which a number of organizations in co-operation with the Bangalore Mahanagara Pallike work for the betterment of Bangalore.

The meeting was chaired by KCTOA president, MLA HD Kumaraswamy and KCTOA secretary Dhanajay. Talab Shetty and Palchnadani who represented the distributors also spoke on the occasion. According to Dhanajay the animosity between the Kannada and the non-Kannada lobby must end for the betterment of the industry as a whole.

"We will go to the government and tell them that the entire entertainment tax collections be given to the association and these proceeds would be utilized for subsidizing the Kannada film industry. The biggest problem for most Kannada films is funding. From the approximately Rs 330 million collected by the government, let them utilize about 10 per cent or Rs 30 million as collection and administration charges. The balance Rs 300 million should be disbursed by us as a subsidy within 15 days of release of the film at the rate of Rs 2 million, instead of the endless wait for the Rs 1 million released at present by the government, " said Dhanajay.

"We will ensure that there are not less than 150 Kannada films released in the next one year. With a subsidy of Rs 2 million we are sure that the Kannada film industry will top the release chart. Also, we have determined a scheme by which any person who purchases a non-Kannada movie ticket in the state will feel that a part of the price he is paying will finance the production of a Kannada film. A continued reinforcement of this feeling will certainly play a large part in reducing the animosity towards non-Kannada films and spare the government from all external pressures and embarrassments in the future," he added.

"The unofficial ban on non-Kannada films has entered the fourth week. During these four weeks, six Kannada films have been released and all have flopped miserably. Why don't they try to come up with good quality low cost films?" said Pal Chandani. "No distributor has voluntarily supported the ban by the KFPA. Today pirated CDs and DVDs are available almost immediately, and within a short span of time their premieres are aired on TV channels. How can we agree to this seven-week delay? Also the failure rate of films of any language is approximately 85 per cent. How can the Kannada film industry blame non-Kannada films for their shortcomings?" he said.

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