The Tamil film industry has come out in support of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, who has been sentenced to four years in jail and fined an astounding ₹100 crore as punishment for amassing wealth disproportionate to her income during her first term as chief minister between 1991 and 1996.
The members of film industry organised a silent hunger protest, while the exhibitors went on fast and pulled down all shows from the theatres on Tuesday to show their solidarity towards Jayalalithaa.
Industry analysts are of the opinion that films like "Madras" and "Jeeva" would be hit badly by the exhibitors' decision.
"These films will take a hit at the box-office because two evening shows in all theatres across the state were cancelled after Jayalalithaa was convicted on Saturday," trade analyst Trinath told IANS. "Tomorrow's complete shutdown of theatres will come as a big blow. Both the films had a very positive word-of-mouth at the box-office."
"'Madras' in particular received rave reviews by everybody. The first three days of this week were very crucial for these films as from Thursday (2 October) all the new releases are coming out. With five new releases by Thursday, how can 'Madras' and 'Jeeva' earn profits? Moreover, both these films had to compete for screens with 'Aranmanai', which is a hit and has been going rock steady at the box-office for two weeks," he added.
Industry insiders are now waiting to see how the films will perform in the coming week as five more films will hit theatres from Wednesday onwards. Telugu film "Govindudu Andarivadele", which stars Ram Charan will hit theatres on Wednesday where as "Bang Bang" starring Hrithik Roshan, "Haider" starring Shahid Kapoor, "Yaan" starring Jiiva and "Oru Oorla Rendu Raja" starring Vimal will hit theatres on Thursday.
Meanwhile, a section of theatre owners are reportedly not so happy with the decision made by exhibitors as this has caused huge losses for them. Many had to cancel the shows following the unrest in various parts of the state and had to return the money that was collected. Many film-goers wrote their take on show cancellation online and opined that cancellation of shows will not change anything about Jayalalithaa case.
The hunger strike was supported by various associations representing producers, directors, actors, distributors and mini-screen industry. The shooting of the films are also cancelled to give solidarity to the protest.
Actors Vikram, Karthi, Sarathkumar, Srikanth, Senthil and directors P Vasu, Vikraman and SJ Surya participated in the protest.The protest started at 9am and ended at 5pm. The theatres will be closed till 6pm.
"We are proud of Ms Jayalalithaa as she is originally an actor from our fraternity. We are not threatening the court. But clearly there is a case for political vendetta and the 100 Crore fine is unprecedented," said actor and legislator Sarath Kumar to NDTV