After days of speculation, Minister for Information and Publicity Kadambur Raju on Wednesday clarified that early morning ‘special shows’ or fan-exclusive shows for actor Vijay’s upcoming Deepavali release, Bigil, would not be held on Friday. The film can only be screened from 10 a.m. onwards.
Mr. Raju, in a tweet, said that he had already sent a full-length statement disallowing ‘special shows’. “I have already sent the statement related to cancellation of special shows. I have urged them [theatres] to refund the money to those who had made reservations. Through this initiative, the practice of charging exorbitant rates for special shows will be stopped,” he wrote.
In a related development, Minister for Personnel and Administrative Reforms D. Jayakumar said theatres charging more for Deepavali special shows is not at all acceptable.
Reacting to Mr. Raju’s statement on Tuesday that extra tariff should not be collected in the name of ‘special shows’, he said that it was only meant to protect the interests of the general public. “If special shows don’t charge extra, the government will consider and decide in line with the Minister’s conditions. Law is common to all,” Mr. Jayakumar said, and wondered how people would pay for tickets priced at ₹3,000.
The government’s decision is likely to result in substantial loss of revenue for distributors and theatre owners who paid a premium for the film.
Response to comments?
Some sections in the industry see this insistence on no early shows on opening day as a response to Vijay’s comments during Bigil’s audio launch, which were deemed critical of the establishment. In fact, distributors and theatre owners have been nervous about whether the State government will play spoilsport, ever since the audio launch. Some of them pointed out how films of top stars in the recent past were allowed to have early morning shows despite a government order disallowing them.
Responding to a question on what youth could do to succeed in sports, Vijay alluded to how people chose the wrong leaders. “We should discard notions of who we like and who we don’t like and consider only the talent of the person. We must know whom to keep in which position,” he said.
After buying the Tamil Nadu theatrical rights for Bigil for over ₹80 crore, distributors and theatre owners were reaching out to leaders in the State government to ensure that they got permission to screen the ‘special shows’ for the movie.
In the last few years, ‘special shows’ that usually start at 4 a.m. have become the norm to ensure that exhibitors cash in on demand by pricing tickets well above government-mandated rates.