South Indian producers halt new shoots

Wage dispute prompts production stoppage

LONDON — The Producers Council of South India has nixed all new film shoots from Wednesday and has ordered pics currently shooting to wrap by Oct. 31 due to a wage dispute.

Those not complying with the demand will no longer be backed by the council, which reps producers of Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam language films.

The decision follows the breakdown in the two-month-long talks between the council and the Film Employees’ Federation of South India.

Wages have increased by up to 28% in the state of Karnataka, home of the Kannada-language industry, and 30% in the Telugu-language state of Andhra Pradesh.

However, the federation is holding out for a minimum 50% wage hike.

The council is amenable to the Karnataka pay scale, but says the industry can’t afford further hikes.

A 2009 Ernst & Young report said that the South India film biz accounted for 60% of all local film production. The South India market comprises some 240 million people, with a further 12 million in the South India diaspora worldwide.