KOCHI: When the Film Exhibitors United Organisation of Kerala (FEUOK) was formed last month, many hoped it would bring an end to pressing issues. Cine organisations pledged support to the forum and said there would not be any disparity in releases.
Office-bearers of film bodies also promised to look into the infrastructure of cinema halls releasing new flicks. But cues from various theatres reveal corrective measures are nowhere in sight and problems persist.
Going through the recent Facebook post made by the management of S N Theatre in Harippad, one can assume bad blood between movie halls in the same vicinity still exists.“A lot of people are asking why we are not screening ‘Oru Mexican Aparatha’. It was because of the opposition raised by Vallakkalil theatre in Mavelikkara,” reads the post.
Kerala Film Distributors Association president Ziyad Koker denied such disparities. “We are not trying to promote any particular theatre,” he said. “We will never allow any such dictatorship by a particular theatre group. If any theatre management has such complaints, they should approach us rather than post it on FB.”
A month after the formation of the exhibitor’s forum, the release of new movies at Liberty Theatre Complex at Thalassery remains in limbo thanks to the embargo of producers and distributors.
The owner Liberty Basheer was the mastermind behind the theatre strike leading to the formation of FEUOK.
“All the other theatre owners, who forced me to launch the strike, have isolated me and joined the new organisation,” Basheer told Express.
He said the annual license of his theatre complex will expire on March 31. “I am yet to decide whether to renew the license or not. I cannot leave the theatres vacant forever. I have 75 staff, who will be jobless. I had written to the Chief Minister, the minister concerned and the representatives of film organisations citing the situation. I am yet to get a reply.”
FEUOK office-bearer M C Bobby said the organisation had not banned any particular theatre owner. “The aim of our organisation is to maintain harmony between exhibitors, distributors and producers,” he said.
“We have not imposed a ban on any owner and it is the distributors and producers who decide on giving movies to theatres.”Koker said producers and distributors have launched a purge for the well-being of cinema. “The decision taken against Liberty Basheer was part of it,” he said. “The next meeting between producers and distributors will discuss the issues related to the release in Liberty Theatres and improving infrastructure of some releasing stations.”