KOCHI: Terming the investigation into leaking of the ‘censor copy’ of hit film ‘Premam’ a farce, owners of A-class theatres led by the Kerala Film Exhibitors’s Federation (KFEF) will close down theatres on Thursday. Following a meeting held here on Monday to decide on the protest, KFEF office-bearers at a press conference said they would launch an indefinite strike if authorities did not take strict action.
“The collection of the movie got affected after pirated copies were uploaded. As per reports from Kozhikode, a collection of `1 crore was expected there. Now, it is doubtful of collecting even `70 lakh. The police investigation is moving at a slow pace, which is evident from the DGP’s statement that it was not easy to find the culprit in the case. Hence, 380 theatres under the organisation will remain closed on Thursday, as a mark of protest,” said KFEF president Liberty Basheer. The office-bearers declined to comment on ‘wide release’ of films recommended in the report submitted by the Adoor panel last year, which was also recommended by the Competition Commission as a remedy to stop piracy.
“This is not a venue to discuss that. We have submitted an appeal against the verdict as it is against our fundamental rights,” said Basheer.
Acopy of Kamal Hassan’s latest film ‘Papanasam’ was also allegedly uploaded on the internet, two days after its theatrical release on Friday. It is for the first time that the KFEF is coming up with a strike in protest against the menace. On the unprecedented move to a protest by closing down theatres, Basheer said, “the situation is different now. It is not the case of pirated copies of the films, but the censor copy itself being leaked and uploaded. How can we sent films to the Censor Borad if this is what is happening to censor copies?”, he asked.
Basheer denied the allegation that the strike was a part of his vendetta against an office-bearer of another film organisation.