Nothing's going right for Kamal Haasan.
Apart from a ban in Tamil Nadu, a PIL pending in the Andhra Pradesh High Court asking for a ban for anti-Muslim content, his Vishwaroopam has now been targeted by the Telugu Film Producers' Council for breaking its "no hoardings" rule.
The council had banned hoardings four months ago as it intended to save Rs 20 lakh for small-budget filmmakers and asked them to promote their films through electronic and print media. However, of late, many filmmakers and distributors had been breaking the rule.
The council has asked Vishwaroopam's distributor Siri Media, owned by filmmaker Dasari Narayana Rao, for an explanation. Meanwhile leading producer B.V.S.N. Prasad also erected huge hoardings for his upcoming film Ongollu Gitta; before that, the hoardings of Genius were all over town.
With many producers putting up hoardings, has the council lifted the ban?
"Not at all; it was implemented to cut down the publicity budget. It's true that few producers have violated it. We will discuss the issue with them," says C. Kalyan, executive committee member, Telugu Film Producers Council. He, however, rules out fines. "Since it was meant for the benefit of producers," he adds.
However, P.D. Prasad, general manager Siri Media, feels that the ban is impractical since street-corner publicity is crucial for drawing crowds. "Streetcorner mileage is higher than advertising on nonprime time TV slots. Also films rely on 'floating populations' for additional collections. Unless the restrictions on few insertions in print media are lifted, publicity through hoardings is inevitable," he adds. Producer, Dasari Kiran Kumar, who was sent notices for the hoardings of Genius, says, "How can you attract openings with a newcomer? Thanks to the hoardings, we got better visibility and openings too."
"When we shell out Rs 3 to 4 crore on a film, cutting down Rs 20 lakh on publicity is detrimental. This rule should be applied for starstudded movies and relaxed for films made below Rs 5 crore. Otherwise this rule will restrict the entry of small producers and new actors," he adds.