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As actor and film-maker Kamal Haasan stands his ground that his new film
Viswaroopam will be premiered on the direct-to-home platform despite
protest from various stakeholders, the Tamil Nadu Film Distributors
Federation is all set to meet on Tuesday to take a call on this issue.

Already, the Tamil Nadu Theatre Owners Federation has protested saying
that this initiative will certainly affect theatre revenues at a time
when “the film exhibition business has already been going through a
rough patch owing to a range of other issues”.

 defended his move to screen the movie on DTH
networks on fixed-time show basis on the day before the film’s
theatrical release, which is tentatively scheduled for January 11. The
price per connection has also been fixed at Rs 1,000. He has said this
move would be a new, legitimate revenue stream for the industry. His
argument is that this would not affect the theatrical revenues as it is
“targeted at a niche segment that wants to be entertained in the comfort
of their homes”.

According to a industry veteran who does not want to be identified,
“This move could even prove to be a trigger for the success of the
movie, as it would only kindle interest among his fans to get the
giant-screen experience.”

However, Abirami Ramanathan, President of the Tamil Nadu Theatre Owners
Federation, asks why he should even try something which has not been
experimented by Hollywood. “As theatre owners, we may not suffer any
major losses because of this one film. But, if others too choose to
follow this model, the entire exhibition business may have to suffer a
huge setback,” he told Business Line.

Though Kamal Haasan says the move would be a blow to the piracy market,
which is wrecking the industry, Ramanathan says this would only pave the
way for more piracy. “If someone films the entire movie with an
hand-held HD camera when the film is being played on an HD TV, the
result will be pretty good; then how can that prevent piracy?” he asks.

According to industry sources, Kamal Haasan has signed up with five DTH
players, who can collectively address at least 15 lakh homes in the
State. And, there are instances, when some hit movies were exhibited on
big screens (with the help of projectors) for a large audience of over
100, in public places such as clubs and playgrounds.

Harit Nagpal, Managing Director and CEO, Tata Sky, one of the DTH
players signed on to premiere Viswaroopam (which cost over Rs 120 crore
to make), says the technology offers only another opportunity to earn
revenues from a new market. He told Business Line that it will, in fact,
bring in a newer market to Tamil films as TV homes who are willing to
pay up Rs 1,000 are not the kind who will queue up in cinema halls for

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