CCI lashes out at prohibition of telecast of dubbed films or serials in Bengal

CCI lashes out at prohibition of telecast of dubbed films or serials in Bengal

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NEW DELHI: The Competition Commission of India (CCI) feels that the telecast of a Bangla dubbed version of the serial ?Mahabharata? by the late B R Chopra will not affect the fortunes of the film industry and, therefore, cannot be stopped.

It has also directed the Eastern India Motion Pictures Association to ?dispense? or modify from its articles of association, rules and regulations any move to oppose telecast of or ban of dubbed films or television serials.

Similarly, the Commission has asked the Co-ordination Committee of Artist and Technicians of West Bengal Film and Television Industry not to impose any restrictions in any manner on distribution and exhibition of the films or TV serials in the areas under its control.

The Commission has also decided to separately take action against members of the Coordination Committee (other than the EIMPA) for not filing any financial details in the present matter.

The directive came on a complaint filed by Sajjan Khaitan of Heart Video who was assigned a Power of Attorney by B.R. TV, Mumbai, the producer of the TV serial and was appointed the sub-assignor of Magnum TV Serials, Delhi, who had been entrusted the sole and exclusive right holders to dub the Hindi version of the serial in Bengali language for exploiting the Video, Satellite, Cable etc. of the said TV serial till September 2016.

Khaitan entered into agreement for time slot on revenue sharing basis for the telecast of dubbed serial with Bengal Media, Kolkata (owner of ‘Channel 10‘) and Calcutta Television Network, Kolkata (‘Owner of CTVN Plus Channel‘) in February 2011, but the two channels received letters asking them to desist from such telecasts.

Following the threat of a strike by the employees, Channel 10 discontinued the telecasts in March 2011 when approached through its chief advisor Mithun Chakraborty.

An investigation by the Director General of the CCI found that the number of television channels in Bengali language has been on the increasing trend for last many years. The telecast of Bengali language channels is done through satellite all over the world including Bangladesh, which makes Bengali language television channels a lucrative industry.

The information gathered shows that many new general entertainment channels in Bengali language have started recently. Thus the argument of the opposite parties regarding detrimental effect of dubbed version of ‘Mahabharata‘ serial on local industry is not based on facts.

According to the DG, there is a huge potential for the local film artistes. There is no empirical study or analysis to support the claim of the OP‘s that dubbed programs will lead to downfall of the local industry. In fact, these dubbed programs make the local industry improve the quality and efficiency to compete with the dubbed programs. Further no local producer was planning to produce a serial based on ‘Mahabharata‘, whom the telecast of dubbed version of the serial might have affected.

The DG has argued that it is not clear how a serial made in late eighties with old technology and limited budget can destroy the local industry which has no dearth of artistic, financial or technological resources.

The DG has further said the argument that by allowing telecast of dubbed serials the Bengali language film and TV industry will be affected and may result in joblessness of local artistes is also not valid. In the present era of information technology, all the popular programmes are available on Internet or by way of pirated CD/DVDs. In such a scenario it is very difficult to assess as to how the telecast of a legally licensed dubbed version of a serial could have affected the local industry.

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