The daring attempt by distributors’ goons to extract money from Puri Jagannath for losses incurred over the film Loafer has a direct bearing on Rajnikanth. In 2002 when Baba flopped Rajnikanth was approached by distributors to compensate them.
Rajnikanth, ever the kind-hearted do-gooder, reimbursed the distributors.
Says a close friend of Puri Jagannath. “In his nobility Rajni Sir did a great disservice to the entire South Indian film industry. He had no business to compensate distributors. It wasn’t his responsibility, Once he did so, distributors were encouraged to simply arm-twist to shell out money.”
Puri’s friend feels major Telugu superstars are aggravating the crisis by paying the distributors. “Some big stars who have no financial stakes in the films that they act in still pay the distributors when the films don’t do well. This is a wrong practice.And what happened with Puri is a direct result of all the pacifying that Telugu stars have been doing with distributors.”
As far as Puri compensating distributors for Loafer is concerned, Puri’s friend protests, “Loafer released with Shah Rukh Khan’s Dilwale and Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Bajirao Mastani . We hardly got enough theaters and screens. And there was no proper computation of the collections of our film.”
This brings us to a major problem with the problem of estimating boxoffice collections in Telugu.
Says Puri’s friend, “Theatres in Hyderabad and the rest of Andhra Pradesh don’t use computers to assess boxoffice collections of Telugu films. This has got to change.Also,Puriis getting producers , directors and specially actors in the Telugu film industry together to stop this malafide practice of compensating distributors.”