“Disappointed though not surprised at the complete lack of support from all”: Producer Ronnie Screwvala on the CCI plea

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Recently filmmaker and owner of RSVP, Ronnie Screwvala approached Competition Commission of India (CCI) against for four largest multiplex chains in India – PVR, Inox,
Cinepolis India and Carnival Cinemas, for alleged collusion and for charging Indian movie makers discriminatory virtual print fee.

On Wednesday evening, the CCI ruled the matter favouring the multiplex chains and their association, citing that there wasn’t enough reason or material for them to initiate a probe in the matter as Ronnie had demanded in his petition.

Upon this verdict from the CCI, the producer expressed, “Have read the ruling from the CCI on the cartelization by the Plexes and they have dismissed the petition on the grounds that it lacked documented proof of such misuse of collective power. My complaint was not an anonymous one which is normally how it starts and was based on asking the CCI to launch a formal probe & investigation to all the practices and they would have got all the documentation and proof they needed. But they have ruled on it and I respect and abide by their final view.”

He further adds, “Am disappointed, though not surprised at the complete lack of support from all colleagues, producers, distributors and creative community who in private commended the action but not one individual, company or association supported my complaint as that would have gone a long way to endorse with the CCI the apparent practices that is common knowledge to all. But I am a firm believer that there is a Circle of Life and in the end, truth always catches up with reality so am sure at an appropriate time there will be justice to this. In the meantime its business as usual for the Plexes while fair play takes a back seat.”

Screwvala has alleged that multiplex operators, including PVR, are charging higher
Virtual Print Fee (VPF) from producers for exhibiting their films in India. Virtual Print Fee is a charge levied from film producers for exhibiting their movies by digital cinema service providers, which has come across as a discriminatory practice only exercised on Indian films.

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