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RajnikantRajnikant pays distributors to settle dispute
10th Sept 2008  11.00 IST
By Agencies  

A month after the Rajnikant starrer Kuselan was declared a flop by exhibitors and smaller distributors who complained of huge losses, the compensation dispute was resolved quietly with the Tamil superstar agreeing to pay them a higher amount.

The Tamil Film Producers' Council and Tamil Nadu Exhibitors' Association issued a joint press release, saying: "In film business, one casts the net to fish amply in muddy waters. Sometimes, the catch is not worth the effort. Hereafter, all the sections of exhibitors, distributors and producers will move together jointly to avoid such catastrophes."

Top film industry sources said that Rajnikant had agreed to compensate losses of the exhibitors and smaller distributors to the tune of roughly 35 percent of their investment.

Exhibitors had blamed the main distributors Pyramid Saimira of hyping the film and jacked up its distribution costs. When the film flopped, smaller distributors and exhibitors claimed compensation from the producers and main distributors.

The good opening of Pyramid Saimira's new release "Saroja" had alleviated the sufferings of exhibitors, sources said.

Though Rajnikant had a slightly long guest role in the film, "Kuselan" had been billed as a full length Rajnikant movie. This resulted in the movie being sold for Rs.600 million including publicity costs.

Since "Kuselan" did not have any of the usual dramatic elements of a Rajnikant-starrer, fans of the movie icon stayed away from the theatres.

When exhibitors announced a non-cooperation move against Saimira, the producers and main distributors of "Kuselan", Rajnikant tried to hammer a settlement by initially offering Rs.100 million as compensation.

The offer was rejected by exhibitors saying their losses amounted to much more and "banned" films being distributed by Saimira and producer K. Balachander.

The move threatened to bring film commerce in the south to a grinding halt as at least six films whose combined cost exceeded Rs.4 billion would have been affected if the ban had continued.

Industry watchers estimate the losses to be in the region of Rs.350 million.

Rajnikant has left for the USA to take part in shooting assignments of forthcoming film Robot , being directed by Shankar . The cost of the sci-fi film is expected to cross Rs.2 billion.

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