Updated April 14th, 2024 at 14:31 IST

FEFKA Demands Compensation From PVR For Withdrawing Malayalam Films: It's A Question Of Pride...

In a statement reposted by Kamal Gianchandani, CEO of PVR Pictures Limited, the multiplex chain announced its readiness to screen Malayalam films.

Malayalam films | Image:IMDb

The Malayalam film industry recently faced a major setback when the multiplex giant PVR INOX pulled Malayalam films from screens nationwide. Even other film industries, such as Telugu, which had purchased dubbing rights for Malayalam films, experienced losses when the films were abruptly withdrawn. The Film Employees Federation of Kerala (FEFKA) announced on Saturday that it will prohibit the screening of Malayalam films in PVR-owned theaters until the company compensates Kerala producers for their losses. 

This decision was revealed by FEFKA's General Secretary, Unnikrishnan B, during a press conference that included notable producers Blessy Ipe Thomas (Director of The Goat Life) and Vineeth Sreenivasan. The decision is part of an ongoing dispute between PVR and the Kerala Film Producers' Association over the virtual print fee (VPF) charged by PVR's multiplexes. Unnikrishnan stated that no films would be provided to PVR’s new screen at Forum Mall until the conflict is resolved. 


Has the issue with PVR INOX resolved?

In a statement reposted by Kamal Gianchandani, CEO of PVR Pictures Limited, the multiplex chain announced its readiness to screen Malayalam films starting from Vishu (April 14), following the cessation of screenings on Eid (April 11). The statement shared by industry tracker Sreedhar Pillai reads, “#PVRINOX vs Kerala Film Producers Association issue over #VPF resolved! #PVRINOX Will start advance booking in all their properties for new and earlier released #Malayalam films with immediate effect. Probably from late tonight or tomorrow- #Vishu day!”



FEFKA demands compensation

However, the Film Employees Federation of Kerala (FEFKA) on Saturday said that no Malayalam film will be given to any PVR-owned screen or theatre till it compensates producers from the southern state for the loss suffered by them due to the multiplex company not showing films made by them across India.


FEFKA general secretary Unnikrishnan B announced the decision at a press conference held here where noted producers like Blessy Ipe Thomas and Vineeth Sreenivasan were also present. Unnikrishnan said that there was an ongoing dispute between PVR and the film producer's association on the issue of virtual print fee (VPF) charged by the multiplex company.

The producers' association decided not to give any films to PVR's new screen at Forum Mall till the dispute was resolved, he said. "As a countermeasure, PVR, with a cartel-like strategy, decided not to show any Malayalam film on any of the theatres or screens owned by them across India. This has caused a significant financial loss as well as mental pressure to producers, including Blessy," he said. He added that PVR does not have the courage to take such a stand in the other south Indian states, but was taking unfair advantage of the Malayalam film industry's view of resolving issues democratically.


"It is not just a question of the problems of the film producers, it is also a question of the pride of Malayalam cinema and Malayalees as a whole. Therefore, we have decided that unless the producers are compensated for the loss they have suffered for the number of days their films were not shown, no Malayalam cinema would be given to any PVR theatre or screen anywhere. The producers' association have also assured us of their support," Unnikrishnan said. Vineeth Sreenivasan said that it was not just an issue of the producers, as it also affects all the artists working in the Malayalam film industry.

What is Virtual Print Fee?

The Virtual Print Fee (VPF) is a fee charged by digital cinema service providers, such as multiplex chains, to film distributors and producers for digital projection equipment (such as projectors) installed in theaters. A VPF agreement requires distributors to pay a fee per film to cover the costs of installing and maintaining digital projection equipment. This fee is frequently collected over a period of several years or screenings. When the VPF period expires, theaters own the equipment outright and no longer pay the fee. VPF agreements have been contentious, with disagreements arising over fee amounts, terms, and implementation, resulting in conflicts between distributors, producers, and exhibitors. 

(Inputs from PTI)


Published April 14th, 2024 at 14:31 IST