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Film exhibitors to defy `ban'

By K.N. Venkatasubba Rao

BANGALORE, AUG. 24. Film exhibitors and distributors have reportedly decided to release new non-Kannada films from Friday in the State.

An emergency meeting of the representative of the Bangalore Exhibitors' Association and the distributors here on Tuesday felt that "no law can dissuade exhibitors" from screening new non-Kannada films until the recommendation to defer their release for seven weeks from their first commercial screening in the respective States became a law.

Thus, the ongoing tussle between the exhibitors and the distributors and the Kannada Film Producers' Association is likely to reach a flashpoint.

`It is our right'

The K.P. Pandey Committee, constituted by the Government to look into the problems of the Kannada film industry, made the recommendation following a demand by the Kannada film industry.

Confirming the decision of the exhibitors, the president of the Hubli-based Karnataka Chalanachitra Pradashakara Mahamandala, Odu Goudar, told The Hindu that the exhibitors had the right to screen non-Kannada films in the State as the recommendation of the committee cannot be enforced by the State. The mahamandala would not insist on its members to adhere to the recommendation of the committee until it became a law, he added.

Asked if the mahamandala was a party to the reported decision of the exhibitors' association, Mr. Goudar said, "The Mahmandala will support all legal activities of its member associations."

Sources in the mahamandala said the meeting also discussed to seek justice in the court, making the State Government and the producers' association respondents in the case. But some exhibitors and distributors were against it, as the outcome of such a move would not augur well for the future of the fill industry in the State, the sources added.

Producers' meet

The president of the producers' association, Basanthkumar Patil, said it also held an emergency meeting today and discussed measures to prevent the screening of non-Kannada films in some areas in Bellary, Raichur and Gulbarga districts.

The nexus between some exhibitors and distributors was forcing non-Kannada films on people. The reported agitation by people in Bellary on Tuesday had exposed this nexus, he added.

Any attempt to screen non-Kannada films in any part of the State in violation of the committee's recommendation was neither pragmatic nor helpful, he added.

The president or the office-bearers of the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce were not available for comment.

Demands

The committee reportedly considered two major demands of the producers' association in principle at its first meeting on Monday. One is postponing the release of non-Kannada films. The panel, headed by the Additional Chief Secretary (Finance), K.P. Pandey, also recommended to the Government to withdraw the 30 per cent entertainment tax exemption given to non-Kannada films in the budget.

The panel will hold its second meeting after a fortnight.

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