Coronavirus brings Kannada film industry to its knees

Coronavirus brings Kannada film industry to its knees
Bengaluru, Apr 16 () The lockdown in the wake ofthe coronavirus pandemic has turned out to be a deeply painfulstory for the Kannada film industry.

Schedules have gone awry following the stay-at-homecurbs and operators in Sandalwood, as the industry ispopularly known as, say about 100 films under production areaffected.


They include big budget movies- 'Raja Veera MadakariNayaka', 'Kotigobba 3', 'Robert' and 'Yuvaratna.'

Noted producer Rockline Venkatesh told P T I that theloss to the industry is to the tune of hundreds of crores ofrupees.

In addition, it's a challenge for producers to securethe content of their movies from "piracy and leak" during longperiods of time before their release, Venkatesh, who isSecretary of Karnataka Cine Artistes' Association, said.

A leading distributor said even after the lockdown islifted and situation returns to normalcy, it remains a bigquestion if investment in film business will pay off at all.


"People don't have money. We will know the impact whenthings become normal. Questions many ask if people will returnto cinema halls like the way they did before or they prefer tostay away from crowd."

Venkatesh, who had also produced Rajinikanth-starrer'Lingaa' and co-produced 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan' with Salman Khanin the lead role, said it would take at least one to one-and-half years for the industry to be back on its legs.

"That too if the government does hand-holding but ifthe industry faces a bad hit in terms of income tax and GSTand other taxation, 80-90 per cent of the industry will faceclosure," he said.

"It does not matter if the Government does not helpthe industry but they should trouble us with things like ITand GST," Venkatesh, who is also a director, distributor andartiste, said.

A top director said people's "behaviour" towardsmovies is crucial for the industry's health in the postlockdown scenario.


"With people likely to shy away from going to malls,cinema theatres because of large gatherings there, it's goingto be a long road to recovery for us", an industry insidersaid.

Striking a philosophical tone, Venkatesh said all thatpeople worry now is to save their life and keep good health,adding, amassing money and wealth is the last thing on theirmind.

Producers Soorappa Babu and Umesh Banakar, who is alsoVice-President of the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce, toldP T I that the industry has taken a huge hit.

Banakar said the loss to the industry due to thelockdown is at least Rs 1,000 crore.

"The coronavirus has affected the entire world. Wedon't know what to do; we just have to wait," Soorappa Babu,producer of Kiccha Sudeep-starrer 'Kotigobba 3', said. RSSS

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