Kamal Haasan addressing the media at Vishwaroopam press conference in Chennai on Wednesday / Pic By: Siddharth Jain - Funrahi.com
The first premiere of Vishwaroopam, which was earlier scheduled on Direct-To-Home (DTH) platforms Jan 10, stands cancelled, along with its theatrical release Jan 11.
Sources from the media say that the release date of Vishwaroopam has been postponed to 25 January, 2013 -- However there is no official confirmation on the revised dates yet.
Kamal Haasan at Press Conference:
"The release of the movie has been postponed to a future date only as per my convenience, and not because I was pressurized by anyone. I will announce the release date soon and no one else can take a decision on this," Kamal told reporters at a press meet in chennai.
We want all the versions of the film (Tamil, Telugu and Hindi) to release on the same day. Also, we would like to give more time for people to subscribe for DTH premiere. So, I will soon decide on a release date which is comfortable in all aspects."
When asked about revised dates, he said, "There are plenty of considerations, because it is going to be a simultaneous release in Telugu and Hindi as well. There is also the overseas release to coordinate. I will make an authoritative announcement on the release of the film once everything is decided."
He also sounded a warning to theatre owners and distributors, who had opposed his move to release the movie on DTH, stating that denying him cinema halls to release the movie was an unfair trade practice using a position of dominance.
When asked about the protest of theatre owners against the release of the film, he said, "I am doing an honest and legitimate trade. No one has the right to stop me from going ahead. I will take legal action against those who threaten me and who try to prevent me from doing this."
"I am a businessman adhering to the laws of the land and exploring new avenues for business not just for myself but for the entire film industry, My legal team will serve notices to some parties under provision of the Competition Act, 2002. There must be a level-playing field for all film-makers to do their business."
The legal notice is to be served to 13 parties, but the film-maker refused to identify them.
"This is a misunderstanding and I may have to work with the same people in the future. I do not want to embarrass them."
The actor, however, referred to the December 12 resolution passed by the Tamil Nadu Theatre Owners Association and the Federation of Tamil Nadu Distributors that reportedly decided not to lend support to any movie released on the DTH or any other platform.
When asked about whether he was disappointed with the lack of support from the industry, Mr. Haasan replied in the affirmative.
He also said he could understand actors not lending their voice in support as they may be worried about various factors but added that it was surprising that the rest of the industry was silent.
Film distributors and cinema hall owners threatened to boycott the movie in protest against Kamal Haasan's plan to show it on DTH a day before its theatrical release. Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka theaters also said they may not show the film.
The premier of Vishwaroopam in DTH for Tamil version was priced at Rs.1,000 and Hindi version at Rs.500. It was scheduled to be screened on 10 January at 9.30 PM.
Kamal Haasan has tied up with six DTH operators namely:- Tata Sky, DishTV, Sun Direct, Airtel DTH, Videocon DTH and Reliance Big TV for the premiere.
Here are some reactions by DTH Operators:
Salil Kapoor, COO, Dish TV :
"We have a communication (from Raj Kamal Films) about the postponement of movie release on DTH platform and in theaters."
Q: What about the money paid by the DTH subscribers to watch the movie premiere on TV on Jan 10 ?
A: "We will go by what our customer want us to do. If they want a refund, we will refund the money."
Q: Would Dish TV be able to get compensation from Raj Kamal Films for the money it spent on promoting the movie ?
A: "The release of the movie has been postponed and nothing else has happened."
Shashi Arora, CEO, DTH / Media, Bharti Airtel :
"In line with the postponement of the release date of the movie 'Vishwaroopam (Tamil & Telugu)/Vishwaroop (Hindi)' across theatres and on the DTH platform by Raj Kamal Films, we have stopped taking bookings for the movie premiere that was scheduled for Jan 10, 2013 at 9.30 p.m. on Airtel DTH, We are awaiting confirmation from Raj Kamal Films on the revised dates."
Both Airtel and Dish TV are silent on the number of bookings they have got for the movie.