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After 48 Days Of Strike, Mercury and Bharat Ane Nenu Release; Fail To Bring Back The Audience

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The Tamil Film Producers’ Council called off the strike on Tuesday evening after 48 days, one of the the longest shutdowns that the Tamil film industry has ever faced. The producers’ council had called the strike on March 1 in protest against the Virtual Print Fee (VPF) charged by the Digital Service Providers (DSP).

Some of the important changes include the computerisation of ticketing across A, B and C centre theatres to uphold transparency, and the launch of an online booking facility by the TFPC, with a transaction charge of Rs 4 (against Rs 30 on other websites).

Karthik Subbaraj’s Mercury is the first Tamil film to release in the state after 48 days. The film which is a thriller with no dialogues had released in rest of the country last week. Apart from Mercury, other releases include Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi’s first Indian film venture, Beyond The Clouds and Mahesh Babu’s much-awaited Bharat Ane Nenu.

Silverscreen went around theatres across Chennai to check the crowd at the morning shows but the situation was quite abysmal. Shows are running to almost empty theatres and big ticket releases like Mercury, Bharat Ane Nenu failed to draw a crowd. The ticket sales are expected to go up in the evening and over the weekend.

The crowd outside AVM Rajeswari theatre in Vadapalani, Chennai. Of the 565 seats for Mercury, tickets were sold for 245.
Board outside AVM Rajeswari.
People buying tickets for Mercury at Kasi theatre.

At Udhayam theatre, only 25 tickets for Mahesh Babu’s Bharat Ane Nenu were sold for the morning show.
Of the 754 seats, 180 were filled for Mercury at Udhayam Theatre.
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