Screens would see a one-day token shutdown in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu on Friday, as cinema-houses in Andhra Pradesh and Telengana head for an indefinite strike in protest against the high charges slapped by digital distribution companies Qube Cinema and UFO Moviez India. On the day of Holi and celebrations in North India, over 5,000 cinema houses in the South would stay closed. There are more than 1,200 cinema houses in Tamil Nadu, 1,100 screens in Kerala, 950 screens in Karnataka and 2,800 screens in Andhra Pradesh, according to rough estimates by the South Indian Film Producers’ Chamber. In Thiruvananthapuram, because of local festival Attukal Pongala on Friday, which sees women devotees swarming the entire city, the movement to any cinema theatre would be anyway nil and the shutdown comes as a blessing in disguise, says S Kumar, who owns a cinema house.
The round of talks between the South Indian Film Producers and digital distribution companies had failed to yield any positive outcome on the issue of visual print fee (VPF). Besides the fees, the film industry was irked by the length of the time allotted for advertisements amidst the screenings. The latest round of meeting was in Bengaluru.