No Kollywood superstars on Kerala channels

Movies of Mohanlal and Mammootty make TV channels poorer by 3.5 crore per movie while Dileep and Prithviraj films ranges from Rs 2.75 to 3 crore.

Come Onam, Malayalis may have to do without the standard filmi fare on television and go back to playing traditional games like Thalappanthukali or Thumbithullal!

For long, it has become a practice, especially in the cities and towns, to sit before the idiot box and spend the festive holidays watching relatively new blockbuster movies of superstars.

However, with the Kerala Television Federation (KTF) announcing its decision not to buy any superstar movies henceforth, citing the enormous amounts charged for satellite rights, this is bound to change.

But if you think the television industry is going to be in tatters without cinema, not all agree with that prognosis.

“Almost 80-90% of the entertainment content in television comes from the film industry and the huge dependence of television on the film industry is pretty evident.

But if KTF doesn’t budge from its decision not to buy superstar movies, it will be the film industry that will suffer,” explains noted actress Praveena, who has straddled both big and small screens.

Speaking about how television keeps the film industry afloat, she points out how it is the previews and trailers of the new releases on TV that help draw the crowds to the theatres.

She says, “Films reach television in the guise of mimicry, comedy skits, and music videos or even in the form of artistes.

Similarly, production, distribution and exhibition of feature films are supported by the television industry. Together, both the media have established their co-existence and financial interdependence over the years. Today, TV helps keep the film industry going.”

The Kerala Television Federation secretary Baby Mathew argues, “Television and film industry should go hand in hand as both heavily depend on each other.

Charging exorbitant rates for the superstar movies has put us in a very difficult situation, that is why we have now decided to stop buying movies that come for anything more than Rs 3 crore.

” As per the KTF, movies of Mohanlal and Mammootty make them poorer by 3.5 crore per movie while Dileep and Prithviraj films ranges from Rs 2.75 to 3 crore.

With the KTF announcing after their recent meeting that the television industry can’t pay the price for the escalating budgets in the film industry, Milan Jaleel, the President of Kerala Film Producers Association, retorts that it is not the film industry but the television industry which actually brought on this crisis.

He says, “With the advent of too many channels in Malayalam, the competition among these channels to secure the satellite rights for superstar movies increased and the satellite right rates suddenly rose from Rs 50 lakh to about Rs 3.5 crore.

” Describing films an indispensable entity for the television industry, Milan says the few television channels who have raised the banner of revolt cannot afford to ignore superstar movies, irrespective of the cost.

He even tips off, “With many channels getting ready to launch, I am sure the rates for the channel rights are going to increase further.” (courtesy: Keerthy Ramachandran & Deccan Chronicle)

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