In the wake of the ongoing tiff between the producers and exhibitors associations in Malayalam film industry, filmmaker Sathyan Anthikad has opened up on the issue for the first time. The director, who had to postpone the release of his family entertainer, Jomonte Suviseshangal, criticised the "business attitude" of a group of people, who do not value the efforts of hundreds of people in the making of a movie.
"The Mollywood industry is halted due to the theatre strike that has never happened in the history of cinema. Though we have witnessed many labour strikes before, this is the first time a strike has been called by owners, that too during Christmas season, which is considered to be best time for the industry. Over 300 theatre owners have already suffered a huge loss due to this and many of them might have realised that they cannot revive the business [translated from Malayalam]," Sathyan Anthikad writes on his Facebook page.
"Is cinema a commodity that can be bargained like a product in a market? It is not something made in a factory, instead, it is the result of hard work put in by a group of talented people. Iqbal Kuttipuram had approached me with the story of Jomonte Suviseshangal a year ago, and it was developed as a script after few months."
"While Rafeeq Ahamed has penned the lyrics of the songs, Vidya Sagar composed the music, and SN Kumar captured the visuals of the movie apart from the involvement of art director, actors, costume designers and singers. Just before we were about to present it before the audience, the theatre association said: 'No, we will not allow to screen it'," the filmmaker adds.
The hitmaker calls the decision of the association inhuman, and has also pointed out the similar struggles faced by Sophia Paul, who is the producer of Mohanlal's Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol. "I wouldn't have produced any movies if I knew the situation was very bad," Sophia is quoted as saying by Sathyan Anthikad.
"When an association is demanding half of the profit made by a film, doesn't it look like plunder by goons? Will any debutants be confident to produce a movie in future? We need to understand that watching films is not a necessity for a person, instead it is a habit that many might lose if they do not get chance to watch it. These kind of strikes will only lead to such situations."
"After the 80s, 2016 was a blessed year for the industry as the audience had accepted many good movies in Malayalam. The enthusiasm the audience now have towards the Malayalam films should not be ruined. The government must also take proper measures to avoid such strikes during the festive seasons like Onam, Vishu and Christmas," the filmmaker warned through his social media post.
The upcoming movie Jomonte Suviseshangal stars Dulquer Salmaan, Mukesh, Anupama Parameshwaran, Aishwarya Rajesh and Innocent in the lead roles. The teaser and songs of the family entertainer have already raised the expectations of the audience from the movie, which marks the maiden association of the young star with the veteran filmmaker.
Read the full Facebook post of Sathyan Anthikad against the theatre strike in Kerala: