Exodus of Malayalam filmmakers to neighboring states adds to industry woes



The Kerala Film Workers Federation (FEFKA) has applied to the Kerala government for permission to start film production in the state. The request comes in the wake of the exodus of several film crews to other states as Kerala’s Covid-19 lockdown restrictions prevent films from being shot.

Up to seven Malayalam-language films, including superstar Mohanlal’s Bro Daddy, are reported to start filming in neighboring states. Bro Daddy, who will be led by Prithviraj Sukumaran, will hit the court Thursday in Telangana. Some other films have moved their production to Tamil Nadu.

The letter from FEFKA written by the general secretary and director of the association, B Unnikrishnan, stressed that the loss of work to the benefit of neighboring states would further aggravate the plight of daily wage workers. The letter to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan also highlighted all the relief efforts carried out by the association. FEFKA claimed that it had raised more than 2 crore rupees to provide financial assistance to its members. Relief efforts also included free vaccination and treatment against Covid-19 for those who have been infected with the virus.

Unnikrishnan said the association is also planning several other initiatives to further help those who suffered from lack of employment during the second wave of coronavirus. “However, a labor organization like this cannot fundraise for a longer period,” the letter said.

The association also questioned the rationale for authorizing the production of television programs and television series but for refusing the authorization of filming. The letter calls on Kerala CM to allow the film industry to resume work with Covid-19 safety precautions in place.

The government of Kerala appears to be very cautious in opening up the state as the number of Covid-19 cases still appears to be on the rise. Under the current circumstances, the government may not allow movie theaters to reopen any time soon. And that risks upsetting the release plans of major Malayalam films, which are expected to hit theaters in August.



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