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Competition panel likely to take up Vishwaroopam case on Monday

Bindu D. Menon R. Ravikumar New Delhi | Updated on January 12, 2013 Published on January 12, 2013

Actor-producer Kamal Haasan has filed an ‘abuse ofdominance’ case against 12 Tamil film distributors andexhibitors

Filmdom also seems to be finding solace in Competition Commission of India (CCI). Actor-producer Kamal Haasan has filed an “abuse of dominance” case against 12 Tamil film distributors and exhibitors.

Earlier this week, CCI received a complaint from Raajkamal Films (producer of Vishwaroopam) stating that the theatre owners’ association and distributors’ association in Tamil Nadu had decided not to screen the movie since it was to be premiered on the direct-to-home (DTH) platform.

The matter is likely to come up for hearing on January 14, sources told Business Line.

Official sources said that the CCI has taken a view that associations cannot dictate terms to their members. Associations of exhibitors and distributors cannot act or talk for individual members and act collectively to block the free trade. This is a case of abuse of dominance, sources said.

According to a senior lawyer associated with this case, Kamal Haasan moved the CCI on January 8, and the Commission has been updated on the subsequent developments. However, he said that he is not aware of the CCI’s schedule. “Usually, the members of the Competition Commission will discuss such issues among themselves, and will pass injunctions. Unless, there is a need for any clarification, they generally do not seek the lawyers’ presence,” he said.

Originally, Kamal Haasan planned to premiere Vishwaroopam on the DTH platform, a day ahead of the movie’s theatrical release that was scheduled for January 11.

Since theatre owners protested the move saying it would prove to be adverse to the theatre business in the long run, the actor and film-maker had to yield.

The film is now scheduled for release in theatres on January 25. Theatre owners, too, have agreed to give him at least 450 screens, after Haasan agreed not to premiere the film on DTH ahead of its theatrical release.

Haasan is the second actor to approach CCI. In November, Bollywood actor Ajay Devgan had approached CCI against Yash Raj Films (YRF) over his movie Son of Sardar.

Devgan in his complaint had alleged that YRF had booked all single screens for the premier of its film Jab Tak Hai Jaan.

>bindu.menon@thehindu.co.in

>ravikumar.ramanujam@thehindu.co.in

Published on January 12, 2013
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