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HindustanTimes Fri,28 Nov 2014

Vishwaroopam row: CCI probes Kamal's complaint against theatres

PTI  New Delhi, March 01, 2013
First Published: 12:59 IST(1/3/2013) | Last Updated: 13:01 IST(1/3/2013)

Competition Commission is probing cine star Kamal Haasan's complaint against Tamil Nadu theatre owners association for alleged anti-competitive practices in restricting the release of his film Vishwaroopam.

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The fair trade regulator's investigation arm director general (DG) is probing the case and its final report is expected this month.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) said there "exists a prima facie case and the issue needs a thorough investigation by DG".

According to a CCI document dated January 16, the DG has been ordered to complete the investigation into the case within 60 days.

The case relates to the association opposing Kamal Haasan's plan to premiere 'Vishwaroopam' through the Direct to Home (DTH) platform.

Going by the complaint, the association acted like a cartel with its members' concerted decision to not exhibit any film including Vishwaroopam if it was already released on DTH platform.

"Such a decision of Opposite Party (Tamil Nadu Theatre Owners Association) prima facie seems to be anti-competitive as it deters a producer from providing to consumers an opportunity of watching premiere show in an economic manner in the comforts of his home."

"It also has the potential of adversely affecting the competition and depriving benefit to producers and consumers of newer technologies," the CCI has said.

As per the complaint, the association resolved "not to lend co-operation for screening of any film that is released even before it comes to the theatre, through DTH or any other technology".

CCI noted that words in the resolution such as "any film" and "through DTH or any other technology" prima facie seems to have an effect not only on informant's movie but also would amount to closing doors in future for forthcoming movies to choose innovative technologies as a mode of premiere show/release of film.

The complaint was filed by Raaj Kamal Film International, a partnership firm between Kamal Haasan and Chandra Haasan.


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