Last week, filmmaker Ronnie Screwvala
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). And this week, he is paying the price for it. The filmmaker's latest film, Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota
has been banned by INOX Leisure.
Unhappy with Screwvala's legal complaint, INOX is now using their diktat and giving no screens to the filmmaker's latest release, unless he withdraws his complaint. However, it should be noted that once a complaint is filed with the regulatory body, it cannot be withdrawn.
Bombay Times got in touch with the filmmaker and asked him if he feels victimised. To which Ronnie said, “It’s all too petty. Inox has shown their high-handedness and I have nothing to comment on that. However, look at the double standard of an Inox — they will ban one of our new movies, but continue to run our URI
in their theatres? Why? Because they are very clear that the movie has made them a ton of money and made their Quarter 4 look good, so they will not mess with it. Same way, they will not mess with Hollywood studios and continue with their discriminatory behaviour, which is at the core of my complaint.”
For those who've come in late, 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.”
Meanwhile, last evening, PVR released a statement in reply to this petition which read, “PVR Ltd. has apparently been named in a complaint filed before the CCI. As on date, the information available with the company is wholly speculative and based mainly upon media reports and an interview, which was given by the sole complainant to a news channel. Given the slanderous and malicious nature of the allegations, the company must place on record that it strongly refutes and denies the allegations that have featured in various media reports in the last few days. PVR operates within the prevailing laws and the regulatory framework of the country and is in full compliance of the same. The assertions made in various media reports and in the interview to a news channel, alleging cartel conduct or conduct which is not in the best interest of cinema-goers, are false and aimed at tarnishing the image of PVR and its management. Regardless of the malicious intent of these allegations, the company will pursue its normal course of action. The business of film making as well as film exhibition, have evolved in our country and continue to be on a rapid growth trajectory. PVR has invested and continues to invest large resources into film exhibition business for the benefit of the cinema goers and other stakeholders. PVR is committed to enhancing every single guest interaction at its cinemas and will continue to focus its resources towards this objective. Since the media reports suggest that the matter is sub-judice, we refrain from making any further comments at this stage.”
It's definitely disappointing to see that a producer has been declined screens for his film, just because he initiated a legal course to demand justice. How fair is this high-handedness?
At the time of going online, we received a mail from Inox
statement from General Manager – Corporate Communications, Puneet Gupta,
stating, “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.”Image Source:Imdb,movie,justdial
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