Lately, some issue or the other is plaguing Tamil film industry, disrupting peace and routine. Just weeks after the strike of theatre owners ended, that of FEFSI has arrived, crippling the shoot of around 40 movies.
Stakeholders of Kollywood are worried over the developments and say these things are not good for the health of the industry, which provides bread and butter to thousands of families.
“Already, Tamil cinema is affected by piracy, hike in tax rates and other issues. With this being the case, the latest strike is yet another big blow. Hope things are resolved soon and solutions are found out to problems,” said Ramakrishnan, an industry tracker.
As far as the latest issue is concerned, while the Film Employees Federation of South India (FEFSI) blames the Tamil Film Producers Council (TFPC) for the fiasco, the latter says the straight opposite.
According to FEFSI president R K Selvamani, “The FEFSI is not responsible for this strike. The Tamil Film Producers Council said that they won’t work with the FEFSI, which is why we had to resort to a strike. We didn’t call for the strike. They refused to work with us. We are hoping they will call us for talks.”
“We just have three demands. We want an assurance from the Producers that they would not employ outsiders for shoots, pay wages as per the earlier agreement and follow all rules and laws”, he said.
The other side is also firm. TFPC president Vishal said, “We are willing to work with anyone from FEFSI or even those who are not associated with the federation. We will not give in to their demands and we stand by what we said earlier. The Madras high court had restrained FEFSI from disrupting the shoot of any film.”
According to TFPC treasurer S R Prabhu, “Every time we agree on something, they go back on their word the next day. This time, we don’t want to go down that route.”
He added: “They have to accept our terms because it is fair. They cannot insist that we have to continue something because it has been the case for 40 years. That is not acceptable.”
With charges and counter-charges being made from the two warring sides, top stars Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan have stepped in to end the impasse.
While Kamal is believed to have given ‘advice’ to both TFPC and FEFSI, Rajini came out with a statement on Wednesday, soon after FEFSI president R K Selvamani met him at his residence in Chennai.
“As a senior artiste, I sincerely appeal to the Film Employees Federation of South India (FEFSI) and the Tamil Film Producers Council (TFPC) to hold talks and soon arrive at an amicable solution,” he said.
“Any issue could be sorted out through negotiations by keeping in mind the public interest, instead of ego. I humbly request the FEFSI and the TFPC to hold talks and find an amicable solution soon,” he added.
Will the deadlock end? Well, let’s hope for the best.
Strike goes, shoot starts
At last, peace is back in the industry, as the Film Employees Federation of South India (FEFSI) has called off its indefinite strike. Following this, shoots have started from today.
Speaking to reporters, FEFSI president R K Selvamani said, “Actor Rajinikanth has urged us to set aside our egos. We will participate without placing any preconditions. We have only one condition: don’t divide us.”
Stating that Tamil Film Producers Council president Vishal has given some assurances, he said, “The TFPC has not put forward any preconditions for the talks. We appreciate it and hope the talks are fruitful.”
“The talks will have representatives on behalf of the employer (TFPC), employee (FEFSI) and a government official,” Angamuthu Shanmugam, general secretary, FEFSI said.
Earlier, calling for the strike, Selvamani said, “The FEFSI has nearly 25,000 members and it is unfair if the council refuses to pay the wages which have already been agreed upon.”
On its part, a press note issued by the Producers’ Council said, “Producers are bound to pay their workers but a section of members of FEFSI are trying to demand unreasonable remuneration, which causes huge loss.”
Press Release from TFPC
Tamil film Producer Council Statement – 3.8.17
தற்போது நடந்துவரும் திரைத்துறை சார்ந்த குழப்பங்களுக்கு தமிழ்த் திரைப்பட தயாரிப்பாளர்கள் சங்கம் எவ்வகையிலும் காரணமல்ல.
* தமிழ்த் திரைப்பட தயாரிப்பாளர்கள் சங்கம் ஏற்கனவே எடுத்த முடிவில் எவ்வித மாற்றமும் இல்லை.
* தமிழ்த் திரைப்பட தயாரிப்பாளர்கள் சங்கம் நிர்ணயித்த சம்பள விதிகளுக்கு உட்பட்ட யாருடனும் படப்பிடிப்பைத் தொடர்வோம்.
* பெப்சி தொழிலாளர்களை மட்டுமே பணியில் அமர்த்துமாறு நிர்பந்திக்க யாருக்கும் உரிமையில்லை.
* தொழிலாளர் நலவாரிய அழைப்பை ஏற்று நாளைய கூட்டத்தில் கலந்து கொண்டபின் அடுத்தகட்ட முடிவு எடுக்கப்படும்.