Theatre owners divided over cinema strike
By Chandrakanth Viswanath | ENS - KOCHI
03rd November 2012 08:58 AM
The fissures in the Kerala Film Exhibitors’ Federation (KFEF) became evident when as many as 60 A-grade screens across the state functioned on Friday, even as nearly 290 cinemas remained closed following the strike called by the KFEF demanding an increase in service charge.
Though only a few theatre owners came out in the open against the strike, most of them are critical of the manner in which the strike is being conducted.
“Though I agree with the demands of the federation, I’m totally against the way the strike is being organised. We have been in the business for long and we should not think only about our welfare when calling an indefinite strike. We have to take the industry as a whole which has gained a good momentum recently after the influx of new talents.
“This kind of strike will only hamper the industry and its new status. The KFEF could have given the minister more time for settling the issue as it needs lot of deliberation with various corners,” Suresh Shenoy of Shenoys Group told ‘Express’.
He added that the strong anti-piracy policy by the government has also helped the industry in a positive manner. Four theatres in Ernakulam owned by the group screened films on Friday.
“Though the representatives of KFEF had met many ministers, including the Chief Minister they did not bother to have a word with K B Ganesh Kumar, the Minister for Cinema, even after others advised them to do so.
“The KFEF did not give enough time for the minister to settle the issue as the federation representatives met him only on October 30,” KFDC chairman Sabu Cherian said.
However, KFEF president Liberty Basheer is furious against Ganesh Kumar.
“The recent issues in Malayalam filmdom started only after he assumed office. A lot of great politicians were in that seat and none of them had created such a kind of mess in the department as Ganesh did”, he fumed.
But the industry insiders consider the strike as the last straw against implementation of many recommendations, including the electronic ticketing machine for streamlining the industry with more transparency.
“During the theatre classification, it clearly marked many fraud in ticketing which would have been done away with by the introduction of e-ticketing.
“Though the owners do not have to bear any cost ,most of them are not cooperating with installing the electronic ticketing machine, only to continue their old ways,” said a senior member on condition of anonymity.
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