The Film Exhibitors’ United Organization of Kerala (FEUOK) announced on Thursday that it has lifted the ban on actor Dulquer Salmaan’s production house Wayfarer Films.
On March 15, the organisation’s president Vijaykumar told Silverscreen India that they had decided to boycott the actor’s production banner for choosing to directly release his film Salute on an OTT platform. He said the matter would be discussed during FEUOK’s general body meeting on March 31, after which, further course of action would be decided.
During the meeting held on Thursday, it was decided to lift the ban as the production had provided a convincing reason for opting for the direct-to-OTT release.
Addressing the media, Vijaykumar said, “The makers of Salute told us that they had initially planned for an OTT release during the Covid-19 period. Later, after seeing our support for Kurup, they wanted to release Salute in the theatres. They also spent Rs 50 lakhs for publicity for the same. A few theatres had opened online reservations too. However, in the wake of the Omicron wave, the film’s theatrical release was pushed. Then, they did not have enough time to release the film in theatres because, according to their previous agreement, Salute had to be released on other platforms before March 20.”
Salute was originally scheduled to release in theatres on January 14. However, on January 10, Wayfarer Films decided to defer the film’s opening owing to a spike in Covid-19 cases. Later, on March 6, the production house announced that it was partnering with SonyLiv for the film’s release.
Vijaykumar noted that the production team of Salute had tried their best for theatrical release although it did not happen. The FEUOK has further been assured that Dulquer’s upcoming film will be released in theatres, he said. In view of this, the ban on the actor’s production house has been lifted.
Vijaykumar also noted that many films premiere directly on OTT these days and the FEUOK does not have a problem with that since it is up to the producers to decide the medium of release. “But, with Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham, we had an issue because they had taken advance from us and made a commitment for theatrical release. Likewise, the makers of Salute had signed an agreement with us,” he added.
Earlier, the FEUOK president had clarified to us that there were no financial dealings between Salute’s makers and the exhibitors, only a signed agreement for a theatrical release, which they went back on without first discussing it.
Directed by Rosshan Andrrews and written by Bobby and Sanjay, Salute premiered on SonyLiv on March 18. The action thriller led by Dulquer also features actors Diana Penty, Manoj K Jayan, Lakshmi Gopalaswamy, and Ganapathi, and has music by Jakes Bejoy.