The protest, which saw the attendance of a large gathering of theatre owners, was organised by the Telangana Film Chamber Of Commerce (TFCC).
Crushed by two successive waves of Coronavirus, a group of theatre owners in Hyderabad raised a protest against film producers resorting to Over-the-Top platforms for releasing their films. The protesters alleged that a section of film producers were sacrificing the entire film industry at the altar of fulfilling their self-interests. The protest, which saw the attendance of a large gathering of theatre owners, was organised by the Telangana Film Chamber Of Commerce (TFCC), the Indian Express reported.
Requesting the film producers to wait till the month of October before releasing their projects on OTT platforms, TFCC Secretary Suneil Narang warned that if the OTT viewership trend continues the whole theatre industry will get killed. He further said that the community of theatre owners were struggling to keep alive the theatres owing to their passion for cinema.
A few infuriated members at the protest also said that they will henceforth ask all producers to insert a clause in the contract mandating a considerable time lapse between the theatre and OTT release of their films. Other members at the protest site minced no words when they warned that they will deal with producers who are going ahead with their OTT release at an appropriate time in future.
In the Telugu film industry, the theatre owners are reportedly upset with one Suresh Productions which has decided to launch its upcoming releases on the OTT platforms. The films produced by the house which are looking forward to a release on OTT platforms include Narappa and Drushyam 2 with lead star Venkatesh. The production house has not issued any response to the protest organised by the Telangana Film Chamber Of Commerce and views expressed by the theatre owners.
Since March 2020, the theatre business has remained one of the worst affected sectors due to the pandemic with OTT industries largely replacing theatres and flourishing at their cost. The theatres did open after a gap of about 6 months in September-October last year only to be shut down again in March this year due to the second wave of Coronavirus. With threats of newer variants of Coronavirus alive, it is anybody’s guess when and if theatres will rise to their pre-Covid form.