‘Leo’, the highly anticipated film starring Thalapathy Vijay, is set to release on October 19, but it seems that the excitement for early morning shows in Tamil Nadu has hit a roadblock. The makers of the film, in their bid to secure 4 a.m. shows for the first six days of its release, sought the intervention of the Madras High Court. However, the latest reports indicate that the High Court has turned down this request.
Request for Early Morning Shows Denied
The producers of Leo had requested special 4 a.m. shows in the state for the initial six days of the film’s release, which would have taken the daily show count to six. Nevertheless, the government of Tamil Nadu granted them only five shows, with the earliest show starting at 9 a.m. The honourable Madras High Court Judge, Anita Sumanth, presided over the case on October 17 and left the final decision to the Tamil Nadu government. They may reconsider the early showtime and possibly move it to 7 a.m. The film’s creators and members of the Tamil Nadu Theatre Association are scheduled to appear in court later to further discuss this issue.
In his petition, K. Ramachandran, the Authorized Signatory of Seven Screen Studios, stated, “I submitted a representation letter dated 15 Sep 2023 to the Principal Secretary to Government, the Hon’ble Minister, and the Hon’ble Chief Minister, requesting permission to screen 6 shows on the opening day and 5 shows from 20th October to 24th October 2023. On the opening day, i.e., 19.10.2023, the 1st show has been planned to be screened at 4 am to cater to the insatiable desire of the hard-core fans and from 7 am onwards from 20.10.2023.”
He further explained, “To cater to the unusual demand of viewership, the states of Kerala and Karnataka have permitted an early morning timing extension from 4 o’clock. In line with the neighbouring states, I had requested the same special show timings from 4 a.m. for the theatres in Tamil Nadu to manage overcrowding and fanfare on 19.10.2023.”
‘Leo’ is an action thriller starring Thalapathy Vijay, alongside Trisha Krishnan, Arjun Sarja, Gautham Menon, Mysskin, Priya Anand, and Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt. Rathna Kumar and Deeraj Vaidy co-wrote the script with Lokesh Kanagaraj. The film’s music is composed by Anirudh Ravichander, and the cinematography and editing are handled by Manoj Paramahamsa and Philomin Raj, respectively.
Madras High Court’s Ruling
The Madras High Court, however, has rejected the plea of Seven Screen Studio, the producer of “Leo,” to screen the 4 a.m. special show on the opening day. The court has also directed the production company to engage in discussions with the government to decide the commencement of show timings.
As the government has already denied the 4 a.m. special show on the opening day, and the production company hasn’t challenged this decision, the court upheld the government’s order. Justice Anita Sumanth, the presiding judge, further directed the government to reconsider the production company’s request to start the show timing from 7 a.m., rather than 9 a.m., from October 19 to 24.
Safety Measures and Protocols
To ensure public safety, the judge has included the Tamil Nadu Theatre and Multiplex Owners Association in the discussion. Proper adherence to protocols, especially concerning intervals and show timings, is of utmost importance. The film production company and the theatre owners’ association are instructed to engage in discussions with government officials to reach a consensus on the show timing commencement.
The Public Prosecutor (PP), Hasan Mohammed Jinnah, represented the State in this matter. He informed the court that the Home (Cinema) department had considered the film company’s request and had permitted one special show, in addition to the regular four shows, as per section 11 of the Tamil Nadu Cinemas (Regulation) rules, 1957. He also emphasized that show timings must fall between 9 a.m. and 1:30 a.m. of the following day, and the special show should be screened within these stipulated hours.
The State’s decision to reject the 4 a.m. show on the opening day was based on maintaining law and order. The PP mentioned a tragic incident earlier in the year when a fan lost his life during the early morning show celebration of a film named ‘Thunivu’ in Chennai.
Challenges Faced by the Production Company
Srinath Sridevan, senior counsel representing the film production company, argued that the film’s nearly 3-hour duration, coupled with the mandatory 30-minute gaps between shows and 20-minute intervals, makes it practically impossible to fit in five shows within the stipulated time frame of 9 am to 1:30 am. Consequently, he sought permission for a 7 a.m. commencement of the shows, rather than 9 a.m.
The fate of early morning shows for “Leo” remains uncertain as discussions between the production company, government officials, and the theatre owners association continue.