When four AIADMK candidates from Chennai were recently wondering how to meet their campaign transport costs, they received a call from a leading Tamil film producer.
He told them he would send a vehicle along every morning with a full tank.
Not only has the caller been as good as his word, he has promised to speak to fellow producers to help the candidates meet their other expenses.
My gesture is nothing but an expression of Tamil filmdoms collective anguish at the complete domination of the industry by the DMKs first family, the producer told The Telegraph.
Most producers, distributors and cinema owners like me are silently praying for a change of government so that the film industry is freed from the clutches of Kalanidhi Maran, Udayanidhi Stalin and Dayanidhi Alagiri. These three have, through sheer political clout, ensured that Tamil cinema is no longer a level playing field.
According to one estimate, at least 100 of the 150 films released last year failed to get a proper opening or an adequate run because most of the theatres have come under the thumb of the three producer-distributor combines run by the Karunanidhi family.
The theatre owners were threatened outright, or warned about not getting films with star value, if they did not run even the flop films from these three movie houses for at least 50 days, a film industry PRO said.
So much so that even a film by actor Vijay was deliberately delayed to accommodate three releases from the first family. While only one of these three became a hit, Vijays film turned out a winner despite its delayed release.
No wonder, Vijays fans are campaigning for Jayalalithaas front.
The three production houses have used their TV channels to hype their films while denying proper exposure to others movies, even the good ones, and projecting poor ratings for them.
So, Ilaignan, for which M. Karunanidhi himself wrote the script, was allowed to run for three weeks and given a top-three rating despite the film bombing in the theatres in the first week itself.
Ironically, none of three production houses run by the family ever produces a Karunanidhi-scripted film, knowing well that the octogenarians dialogues would not sell these days. So, these films are usually produced by a lottery baron or a real estate promoter, or a producer financed by a top minister.