CHENNAI: A letter from The Active Telugu Producers Guild (ATPG) on Tuesday announcing that they’re going on a strike from August 1 onwards was doing the rounds online. This sent shockwaves across the south film industry as Hyderabad is currently the hub for movie shootings in south India.
Producers, who are actively involved in film production belong to ATPG and make around 40 films a year on an average while the Telugu Films Producers’ Council helmed by C Kalyan, makes around 250 films a year.
With the fear of one of the biggest film industries going on strike is looming, Kalyan clarifies, “Five to eight big producers have arrived at this decision. A proper decision will be made by the parent association on July 31 only, on whether shoots will take place across Telangana and Andhra Pradesh from August 1. If things are sorted out on July 31 with exhibitors and other producers, shoots will continue,” Kalyan told DT Next.
Several major Tamil stars like Rajinikanth, Vijay, Ajith, Dhanush, and Sivakarthikeyan will be flying to Hyderabad in August for their films. “This is not just for Tamil films alone. If it’s not resolved, film shoot of any language will not take place anywhere across two states,” he added.
Director Venkat Prabhu is shooting for his bilingual flick with Naga Chaitanya and Kriti Shetty playing the lead roles. “I was supposed to begin my next schedule for the film on July 25. But now, we have put the shoot on hold now, until further notice. We cannot shoot for the movie elsewhere as the film requires Hyderabad as its location,” he averred.
Kalyan elaborates on issues that have been haunting the industry for a while. “Our theatre occupancy has come down to 5-6%, due to movie premieres on OTT within four weeks of a film’s theatrical release. We need the window to be extended by 10-weeks,” he begins.
Actors’ remuneration has been a bone of contention in the industry. “Actors have been paid daily allowances and petrol allowances. They can now add it to their package if they want to and won’t be given every day,” pointed out Kalyan.
RK Selvamani, the head of FEFSI, said that he wouldn’t want to comment on the issues in Producers’ Council in AP and Telangana. However, he says, “It’s always better when regional language films are filmed in their own states. It’s fine when the script demands outdoor locations for the story. But building sets of Anna Salai in Hyderabad, and Theni at a studio in Telangana is unfair. People in this industry have given actors the superstardom they wanted. Stars shooting in other states have only hit us hard.”
Hyderabad beckons K-town
Some of the major Tamil films are and will be shot in Hyderabad in the coming days. Vijay’s Varisu, Rajinikanth’s Jailer, AK 61 (Ajith), Ram Charan-Shankar film, Venkat Prabhu-Naga Chaitanya project, and Dhanush’s Vaathi are some of the Tamil films that have resorted to Hyderabad as its shooting location.