Two weeks back, Bollywood filmmaker Ronnie Screwvala had filed a complaint with the Competition Commission of India (CCI), the fair-trade regulator, alleging that PVR, Inox Leisure, Cinepolis India and Carnival Cinemas, along with the Multiplex Association of India (MAI), were in collusion and charging Indian movie makers discriminatory virtual print fee (VPF). Following which, it was reported that INOX Leisure has banned filmmaker’s latest release Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota.
Now, the latest reports suggest that heads of top studios, production companies, and distributors are expected to hold a closed-door meeting today at the Indian Motion Pictures Producers' Association (IMPPA) office. We hear that the producers are backing Screwwala and are ready to join him in this fight.
To confirm the same, SpotboyE got in touch with producers Ramesh Taurani and Pahlaj Nihalani, who seemed to agree with Screvwala and told us that “Ronnie is right in his tirade, we are with him.”
On the other hand, we contacted IMPPA president, TP Aggarwal, who informed us that he is out of town but will soon come back and meet Ronnie, in this regard. He also said he is deeply disturbed at what multiplexes are doing to producers. Now, the IMPPA (Indian Motion Picture Producers' Association) has released an official statement in reply to Screwvala's complaint. Here's a copy of the same:
IMPPA's Official Statement
Two days back, when it was reported that INOX Leisure has shown high-handedness in not screening Ronnie’s film at their theatres, until the filmmaker withdraws his complaint, the multiplex chain released a statement, denying it. It read, "According to certain media reports that have appeared in recent days, INOX Leisure Ltd (INOX), has reportedly been named in a complaint made to Competition Commission Of India (CCI). INOX would like to clarify that we do not possess any specific knowledge of the complaint, and this statement is based solely on what has been reported by the media. INOX strongly denies and vehemently rejects the defamatory accusations of unfair and discriminatory practices, made in the media reports and the interviews by the said complainant. INOX emphatically denies the slanderous and malicious allegations regarding conduct which amounts to cartelization, and states that all these allegations are false, fabricated and made-up to negatively impact our image. INOX will pursue its legal options as advised by its counsel from time to time, and will respond to all queries received from, or processes initiated by, any regulatory authority as and when asked to do so. Since the matter appears to be sub-judice, as indicated by the aforesaid media reports, INOX refrains from making any specific comments at this stage or answering any specific allegations. INOX would however like to reiterate that it has full faith in due legal process. INOX is India’s second largest, and fastest growing multiplex chain. As a responsible corporate entity, it is driven by the highest standards of corporate governance and legal compliance. INOX respects and adheres to all regulatory guidelines, in letter and in spirit, in all its business practices.”
Meanwhile, Ronnie Screwvala's petition against multiplexes stated, “This severely limits any kind of level playing field that Indian content creators crave for. Indian producers on an average have to pay Rs 2-3 crore as VPF if they want to release on 1000-1500 screens.”
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