Non Kannada theaters defy moratorium, release new films

BANGALORE: Defying the seven week moratorium for release of non-Kannada films recommended by the government headed and Karnataka Film Producers Association (KFPA) loaded Pandey committee, a number of theaters in Bangalore released the Aishwariya Rai starrer Bride and Prejudice in Bangalore and North Karnataka yesterday. This follows the low-key release of Alien vs Predator and Popcorn Khao! Mast ho Jaho last week.

"The real test will be on 12 November," said a theater owner who wished to remain unnamed. "That's about when Ramzan ends and around the time of the festival season in India. A number of Hindi films are slated for release on that day. We theater owners are just testing the waters with these low-key releases. Even Rex is screening just two shows of Bride, for the other two shows The Bourne Supremacy is being screened.

The KFPA is expectedly unhappy with these developments and has decided to give the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce till tomorrow to ensure that new releases of non-Kannada films are withdrawn. The KFPA plans to call a

meeting of the Pandey committee immediately and ask them to take action against these 'illegal' acts by the exhibitors.

Media reports speak of the Kannada film fraternity supporting the recommendations of the Pandey panel and decrying the release of non-Kannada films in the state before the end of the moratorium, justifying the seven week moratorium and the six print limit in the state by citing that the survival of the Kannada film industry was at stake.

"How long can we pay to keep the culture of the state, the language alive? What will happen when we run out of funds?" said a frustrated theater owner. "Why can't they make good films in Kannada? I don't mind screening a film

in any language provided it draws the crowd." He added.

Meanwhile, actor-politician mediator Ambarish seems to have been sidelined by all concerned, as he is busy campaigning for the Congress party in a Bidar by-poll to be held on 13 October.

Odugoudar, president of the Hubli based Karnataka Film ExhibitorsAssociation (KFEF), is reported to have said that the moratorium applied only to theaters in Bangalore and films were being simultaneously released in North Karnataka as across the country.

The KFCC has planned to take disciplinary action against those exhibitors who have violated the seven week moratorium and has assured that the new releases would not be screened today or later until the seven week moratorium was complete or the issue decided in another manner.

Theater owners are contemplating going to court over the issue.

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