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Monday, Mar 17, 2003

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Crunch time

THE TAMIL film industry desperately needs a miracle, as only one film has made money out of 18 released this year. The rest have sunk without a trace at the box-office and the future looks bleak with 37 films lying unsold. Two top heroes have no new assignments and the shooting of a young superstar film has been stopped as the producers ran out of money! More shocking is that producers and distributors are calling it a day as they find it increasingly difficult to pay back their dues.

Veteran producer G.Venkateswaran who made two big and one medium budget films in the last 10 months has slowed down. Says GV: "Tamil films have become high risk business and producers are finding it difficult to cover their cost of production." GV feels that the astronomical star salaries and piracy have eaten into the profits of the producers. "Films with superstars attract the masses but considering their salaries the film is not viable.

At the same time, films with newcomers are even more risky due to audience apathy." So, GV has taken the smart decision, that he will not produce any more Tamil films, till the leading actors slash their salaries by at least 50 per cent! However, the stars blame the directors and producers for the present crisis. They say that it is the makers who insist on playing safe by treading the tried and tested path. Meanwhile, the South Indian Film Artistes Association president Vijaykanth has declared an open war against VCD pirates, who, according to him, are threatening their very existence.

SREEDHAR PILLAI

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