The clash at the box-office of two big stars is usually limited to counting the coffers but on Thursday it turned physical at a theatre in Kukatpally.
Ramesh Puppala, producer of the Balakrishna-starrer 'Srimannarayana', accompanied by the actor’s fans, descended on the Arjun Cinema in the morning after he learnt that his movie had been pulled off the screen to make way for Nagarjuna’s 'Shirdi Sai', which was released state-wide on Thursday.
Following a fracas, police swung into action and arrested the producer as well as director Ravi Chavali. Both were later released and the theatre management resumed screening of 'Shirdi Sai'.
Afterwards, speaking at a press meet, Ramesh claimed that the film distributor had disregarded a notice sent by the AP Film Chamber to continue screening his film.
“We had an arrangement with Arjun Theatre in Kukatpally to run our movie for a week until Wednesday. Considering that the film was a hit, we asked them to extend it for another week. We had asked them to screen our movie at any one of the five theatres in Kukatpally. The Chamber too agreed and sent a notice to that effect to the distributor,” he explained.
He claimed he did not insist that his movie be screened in a particular theatre. “The same distributor has a tie-up with Vishwanath Theatre...that would have been fine as well. That they would ignore a direct notice from the Film Chamber is disturbing. The theatre owners passed the buck to the distributor and vice-versa,” he added.
Ramesh warned he would launch a state-wide protest if needed. “It’s an infringement on good business. If big players hog all the theatres, what will other films do?” he questioned.
However when contacted, Film Chamber president Tammareddy Bharadwaj clarified they had not sent a notice to Venkataramana Films, the distributor. “The distributor is technically and legally under no obligation to continue screening the film as the agreement lapsed. However, we did ask them to make an adjustment on moral grounds,” he said.