‘Vazhakku’ online release: Film fraternity condemns Sanal Kumar Sasidharan's impulsive action

Tovino plays the lead in 'Vazhakku'. Photo | Trailer (YouTube)

Director Sanal Kumar Sasidharan's decision to release his Tovino Thomas-starrer 'Vazhakku' online amid a dispute with the actor has drawn backlash from the film fraternity and cinema aficionados. Many questioned the director's intention to share the movie online for free, especially since the film was a co-production of Tovino and a couple of others. The movie was reportedly made on a budget of Rs 27 lakh. The director’s action has also raised discussions about the film's rightful ownership and the ethics of releasing a movie without the producer's permission.
According to Kerala Film Chamber general secretary Saji Nanthiyattu, a producer is always the rightful owner of the movie, which is registered under the Kerala Film Chamber. He also maintained that the producer should be a registered member of the chamber, which works as an apex body representing various other associations under the film industry and their interests.
“As per my understanding, Tovino had approached us about the membership recently,” he said. According to Saji, the film director stands to lose a lot financially if the producer decides to take him to court over the unauthorised release of the film. “The director has taken a huge risk by posting the movie on a public platform. There is a possibility that he is either really upset or he has some document that will protect him,” he said.
Saji added that the move will affect any possibility of the film releasing in theatres since the Film Exhibitors' United Organisation of Kerala (FEUOK) is extremely particular about not streaming films that are released elsewhere. “We will have to wait and see regarding the course of action that should be taken in the coming days,” he said.

Producer G Suresh Kumar of the Kerala Film Chamber also criticized director Sanal Kumar's move, though he said he could only comment on the issue after having a word with Tovino Thomas, who bankrolled and acted in the film.

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