Mersal breaks Producers Council strike

Chennai, Oct 12 (tamilnaducentral): Vijay starrer ‘Mersal’ is all geared up to release on October 18th, even if the Tamil Film Producers Council does not call off the ban on releasing new films. The single screen exhibitors who are in a majority have decided to release Mersal and the producer Thenandal Films is ready to oblige. The Tamil Film Chamber which is headed by Abirami Ramanathan and is backed by multiplex lobby too will accept Mersal, said a source.

Kerala theatrical rights to Global United Media (GUM), the distributors of Baahubali 1 & 2, was sold for a whopping price of Rs 7 crore, making it the biggest buy for a Vijay starrer..Kerala Film Distributors Association (FDA), has directed theatres in the state not to release it as the losses incurred for Vijay’s “Bairavaa” are yet to be settled.

At the meeting with  TN CM, the Government agreed to bring the ET to 8%. It also agreed to simplify the process for theatres to renew licence for theatres. It also agreed to fix Rs 100 as maximum price for air-conditioned single screen theatres and Rs 70 for non air-conditioned single screens. Vishal refused to accept 8% tax and wanted full exemption. The Government did not accept this and decided to keep the existing 10%. This has caused lot of heartburn in the industry.

According to trade sources, single screens account for 90% of the theatres in Tamil Nadu and they feel that the State Government hike in ticket pricing has favoured multiplexes. This they feel is because of the Chennai lobby that is dictated by the influence of the multiplexes on the State Government.

In a closed-door meeting, the single screen theatre lobby has decided that they will screen Mersal if the producer is ready to give it. Even before the second meeting of the Producers’  Council meeting with CM, Hema Rukmani, CEO of Thenandal Entertainment tweeted: “#MersalWorldwideOn18Oct #MersalScreenCount 3292. Will add more #MersalDiwali #7DaysToGo @Atlee_dir  @MuraliRamasamy4  @ThenandalFilms”.

Hema also laid bare the release plans; though she played it safe by saying that she hoped things will be sorted out before Deepavali, it was obvious that the production house was not going to go back on the release date announced.

Sources say that filmdom has been asked to cough up Rs 20 crores to get exemption from ET. Five top actors and exhibitor lobby will have to pool in, said the source. After this, the ET will be reduced to 5%, said the source.

Mersal has however created a big headache to Vishal who is riding on the twin boats of actor and producers’ lobby. Small budget producers are unhappy as 7 films scheduled for release last Friday were stopped by Producers’ Council. Now they will have to wait till Mersal fever is over.

Malaysia will see the maximum number of screens for Mersal and has the distinction of being the third Tamil film to be released in the biggest capacity theatre in Paris.

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