(MENAFN - Gulf Times) Close to 400 theatres attached to the Kerala Film Exhibitors Federation remained shut for the second day yesterday over their demand that strong measures be taken to end piracy of newly launched films.
"We are all meeting in Kochi today to decide the future course of action as film piracy is ruining theatre owners who have invested millions in film theatres that are located in major cities and towns in the state.
If pirated copies are available from the first and second day of the film's release it will sound the death knell for theatre owners. The Kerala government has to act now," the owner of a film complex in the state said.
The shutdown of theatres has affected the release of the much awaited movie Baahubali, a Rs2.5bn 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 after the police began an inquiry into the alleged leak of the censor copy of blockbuster Malayalam film Premam.
"Even in the Premam probe, though three students have been arrested, the real mastermind are people with vested interests and those who are in the industry itself," the theatre owner claimed.
Of the three arrested, two are students of class XI and were given bail on the same day, while the third accused 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. "If we do not protest our business will be completely finished," the man added.
Meanwhile, the anti-piracy cell of the Kerala Police has zeroed in on key suspects and expect to solve the mystery behind how the censor copy of Premam made its way to the Internet.
The probe team had quizzed 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 most likely to break all Malayalam box office records, had hit a rough patch 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.
The police is soon expected to arrest the mastermind behind the film's leak on the Internet, a source disclosed.