Chennai, Dec 2 (): The FICCI conference which concludes today has thrown up many issues concerning the Southern filmdom like piracy, pricing of tickets, unions pushing up costs and lack of finance. The call was made by Kamal Haasan that the film industry more so the Tamil filmdom would be allowed to operate more freely and the Government should not get into controlling it. “Here it is seen as a political platform making it more confusing” he added.
FICCI-Deolitle study threw up a fact that 75% of the money earned by a film was from theaters for a Tamil film while it was around 70 to 72% in other South Languages. Ten percent of the revenue came from satellite for a Tamil film while it was double in other languages.
In this scenario many of the speakers wanted the theaters to be allowed to fix the rates for admission instead of the Government. Kamal said films were not an essential commodity for the Government to put a price ceiling. Big budgeted star driven movies should be allowed to charge more in the opening weeks. Small budgeted movies should be allowed to charge less to attract more crowds. At present the lowest rate is Rs 80 and maximum Rs120 for a theater depending on the number of screens. In short the market should dictate the ticket prices.
Yet another startling revelation was that filming in Chennai was costlier than any other city and double than Malaysia. L Suresh who made a film in Malaysia with a crew of 25 could finish the shooting part of it for Rs 25 crore whereas the same film with 175 crew would have cost him Rs 45 crore he said. Unions were putting a rule that each department should have a minimum number of workers and this was pushing up costs. Priyadharsan too agreed and said Mumbai was much cheaper than Chennai.
Piracy could be controlled only if the filmdom moved closely with the law enforcement agencies. A case in study was the total eradication of piracy in Madurai which was made possible only because the Collector and SP were in constant touch by the filmdom. Kamal said that the money that went to the pirates was ultimately funding the terrorists. Priyadharsan said a release in maximum number of theaters would solve the problem and it worked largely in Kerala.