Lingaa distributors to go on indefinite hunger strike
Several distributors of Rajinikanth-starrer "Lingaa" are planning to again go on an indefinite hunger strike f...
Distributors from at least seven industry zones of Tamil Nadu are starting an indefinite hunger strike demanding that producers compensate them for losses suffered over Rajinikanth’s Lingaa — an amount to the tune of Rs 40 crore. A suicide attempt has been reported already.
Reportedly produced at a budget under Rs 90 crore, including ‘a single payment cheque of Rs 40 crore’ to the superstar, Lingaa is estimated to have made Rs 220 crore at the box-office since its release on December 12, Rajinikanth’s birthday. That would normally qualify as a hit. But normally isn’t the word normally associated with Rajinikanth. What has the distributors and theatre owners in a soup is the advance demanded from them for rights to show the film. Distributors paid up to Rs 8 crore each.
“There are theatre owners who invested up to Rs 60 lakh and lost more than 60 per cent of their cash,” said a distributor. On an average, says one estimate, distributors and theatre owners made only 30 per cent of what they invested.
Following a demonstration by them on January 10, Lingaa producers promised to settle the issue “amicably”. “But over 10 days have passed. We are all in distress. There was a call yesterday from a southern district that a theatre owner had attempted suicide,” says Krishnakumar, a distributor for Capricorn Pictures.
They had been told that ‘Lingaa’ would be bigger and better than Enthiran, Rajinikanth’s 2010 movie, says R Singaravelan, owner of distributor Marina Pictures. “But we were cheated. Lingaa is a low-quality film that cannot be compared to Enthiran or any recent release, such as Vikram-starrer I,” Singaravelan says. Marina Pictures distributes movies to theatres in Tiruchi-Tanjavur districts, one of the nine zones in Tamil Nadu.
"It's been over ten days since our first fast and we still haven't heard from producer Rockline Venkatesh. We were assured an amicable agreement will be reached upon soon but there seems to be no sign of it. Hence we've decided to go on fast again," distributor Singaravadivelan told.
"We plan to fast from Jan 27 until this issue is resolved. Several distributors from other regions will also join us this time," he said.
Singaravadivelan, who distributed the film in Trichy and Thanjavur regions, said he recovered only 40 percent of the down-payment.
"A Rajinikanth-starrer film usually reaps profits in the opening weekend itself but even after a month since its release, most distributors didn't even recover half of what they had invested," he said.
Also starring Anushka Shetty and Sonakshi Sinha, "Lingaa" released last year on Rajinikanth's birthday Dec 12.