However, in a couple of days, the producers called off the strike in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Kerala, as DSPs slashed VPF rates . But the powerful Tamil Film Producers Council (TFPC) refused to budge and said VPF should reduce further. They also wanted a sunset clause to be introduced in the agreement whereby DSPs should set a period when VPF will be scrapped as promised a few years ago when theatres switched from prints to digital screening.
Meanwhile, exhibitors in Tamil Nadu, mainly single screens outside of Chennai city, have announced that they are planning to shut down from 16 March. They claim they are shutting down due to dropping footfalls and high maintenance charges and the state government not keeping up its promises. The theatres have listed out five demands mainly scrapping of Local Body Entertainment Tax (LBET) being charged by state government over and above GST. The buzz is that theatres are closing down mainly to get back at producers over the issue with DSPs.
At the same time, the market leader among DSPs in south India Qube came forward with more concessions for Tamil film producers. But at a meeting of TFPC on Monday, the producers rejected the offer and said that there will be no shooting or post-production work from 16 March. Those who are shooting abroad or outside the state will be given one week more and the ‘No new release’ ban will continue. And theatre owners will have to fall in line with the producers if new content has to be provided. It will be a complete shutdown of Tamil film industry from 16 March.