The Mohanlal starrer Mr. Fraud is the current hot topic in Mollywood, as its release has been banned by the Film Exhibiters Federation (FEF) under the leadership of its president, Liberty Basheer and the movie’s director and General Secretary of the Film Employees Federation of Kerala (FEFKA), B Unnikrishnan, retaliated by banning the release of any Malayalam movie until his own film has been released.
This has led to a standoff of sorts between the two organizations, with each wanting the other to fold on their demands. There is to be an emergency meeting of producers and distributors today to discuss the crisis and take steps.
It has now been reported that not all theatre owners are with FEF president Basheer on this one. There are apparently those who insist that it is unethical to sign a contract with the makers of a movie guaranteeing its screening and then backing out of the deal. Moreover, it has been said that the banning of any one movie due to an issue with its director, has to be seen as a personal grudge and nothing more. Some voiced the argument that it is reckless to put such pressure on the Malayalam movie industry, whatever the reasons are, during the economic crisis it’s facing currently.
Ernakulam Shenoys theatre owner Suresh Shenoy commented that the reasons for banning Unnikrishnan’s movie in the first place itself are unclear to many at this point. The common opinion is that talks should be resumed or at least started between the two organizations to settle the matter quickly.
AMMA (Association of Malayalam Movie Artists) have sided with FEFKA on this one and are adamant that such action by FEF is justifiable only if the situation arose that any filmmaker refused to give Basheer’s theatre alone the screening rights to a particular movie.
How much this crisis or rather the clash of egos will affect an already small and fragile industry and its millions of fans, seems to be a question nobody is willing to consider right now. Let’s hope it is not too late by the time they do…