On a day of dramatic developments, the Kerala Film Exhibitors' Federation (KFEF) formally split on Saturday after it called off a month-long stir on the revenue-sharing model, with actor Dileep holding a meeting of likeminded theatre owners, besides producers and distributors, that decided to form a new organisation.
Indications of the split were evident on Thursday when 38 of the Federation's 350 members defied its shutter down diktat and screened Tamil blockbuster 'Bhairava'. On Friday, another 17 theatres announced that they will screen films from Saturday.
On Saturday, Federation president Liberty Basheer told the media that the stir had been called off after the state government convened a meeting of all film industry stakeholders on January 25.
"The Chief Minister (Pinarayi Vijayan) has responded positively to our needs and we have decided to call off the protest," Basheer told reporters.
This, obviously did not cut ice with many.
"This new organisation has only one interest and that's the overall welfare of the film industry. We have decided to form a new organisation and it would include exhibitors, distributors and producers and this is not to compete against anyone," Dileep told reporters after the meeting.
G.Suresh Kumar, the president of the producers association, said from now on things are going to be different and Basheer decided to call off the strike as he had come to realise what's in store.
"From now on a new system will come be in place for the manner in which films will be released," Suresh Kumar said.
The stir began last month with the exhibitors demanding a 50:50 revenue-sharing pattesn against the existing 60:40 ratio, which the producers objected to. No Malayalam movies were released during this period and the Federation then asked the exhibitors to down shutters till the dispute was resolved.
The present pattern has been in force since 2003.
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