OTT release: Film Chamber turning blind eye to violators, says FEUOK president

FEUOK also wants the Kerala government to step in to ensure films that are hitting theatres don't premier in OTT platforms in haste. Movie posters: Imdb

Film Exhibitors' United Organisation of Kerala president Vijayakumar justified the organisation's decision to shut down theatres across Kerala for two days. According to Vijayakumar, they were forced to take the extreme step as the Film Chamber of Commerce, which was supposed reprimand and rein in filmmakers who release films on OTT platforms much earlier than the regulated window-period, are turning a blind eye to the situation.

He added that 'Pachuvum Athbutha Vilakkum' and '2018: Everyone is a Hero', were released on OTT platforms before the 42-day window between theatres and OTT releases.

“The decision to stream such films, which are doing good business in theatres, soon after on OTT platforms is wrong. Both 'Pachuvum Athbutha Vilakkum' and '2018: Everyone is a Hero' were released less than 35 days on OTT after the films hit theatres. The Film Chamber had stipulated that all filmmakers should follow the 42-day window. However, when filmmakers violate the norm, the Chamber don't step in take any action. We demand that the government should step in to regulate the OTT releases,” Vijayakumar told Onmanorama.

According to him, the government receives a huge amount as entertainment tax from theatres. Also, a portion of the amount paid by the theatre-goers goes to the Kerala Cultural Welfare Department for the benefit of veteran artists. “The government is losing a lot of money when filmmakers decide to stream their films on OTT without delay. The window-period for OTT releases should be extended till 120 days. That will encourage more people come to theatres. We noticed ticket sales come down when the '2018' makers announced their film would start streaming on OTT platforms from June 7,” Vijayakumar said.

On Tuesday, FEUOK decided to shut down theatres across Kerala in protest against the '2018: Everyone is a Hero' filmmakers decision to release the film so early on SonyLiv. Vijayakumar added that they will shut down theatres indefinitely if the authorities concerned don't take a concrete decision regarding the OTT release in the next 20 days.

Meanwhile, Kerala Film Chamber of Commerce president G Suresh Kumar said he did not want to comment on the issue since FEUOK has decided to go on a strike. “Will reserve my comments for later as FEUOK has gone on a strike,” he said.

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