Thiruvananthapuram: Close to 400 film theatres attached to the Kerala Film Exhibitors Federation remained shut for the second day in succession on Friday over their demand that strong measures be taken to end piracy of newly launched films.
"Tomorrow (on Saturday) we are all meeting in Kochi to decide the future course of action as this piracy business is ruining every theatre owner who has invested millions in film theatres that are located in major cities and towns in the state. If the pirated copies are available from the first and second day of the release of films, then we will be in a soup. The Kerala government has to act now," the owner of a film complex in the state told IANS.
The shutdown of theatres has affected the release of the much awaited movie "Baahubali", a Rs.250 crore mega project by S.S. Rajamouli, in the state.
The federation has been up in arms for a while and decided to go on a strike now when the police probe into the alleged leak of the censor copy of blockbuster Malayalam film "Premam" is going on.
"See, the present probe, even though three students have been arrested, the real villain behind this act are people with vested interests and those who are in the industry itself," added the theatre owner.
Of the three arrested, two are students in the eleventh grade and they were given bail the same day, while the third person is a first year graduate student who secured bail on Thursday.
The federation member pointed out that this was the first time that a censor copy of a film has been pirated and hence if they do not protest like this, then their business would be finished.
Meanwhile, the anti-piracy cell of the Kerala Police has zeroed in on key suspects and expect to unravel the truth of how the censor copy of "Premam" made its way to the internet.
The probe team had met the film's director Alphonse Puthren for more than nine hours on Wednesday and has also questioned a few others.
"Premam", now being touted as a film which is going to break all box office records, had hit a rough patch very soon after its release in the last week of May, forcing its producer Anwar Rasheed to quit his membership of all the Malayalam film-based organisations.
Sources told IANS that in the coming days the police is expected to nab the real villain in the leak of "Premam".