Chitraloka is writing this article with deep concern about the Kannada film industry and to create awareness among the Kannada film producers. Recently Kannada movie producers held a 17-day protest in KFCC regarding the spiralling cost of movie making. Much of the cost these days are unnecessary and does not contribute to the quality of the films and most producers are unable to sustain film making. But many producers do not know that they are also losing lots of money from some few middelmen who are involved in fraudulent and mostly illegal movie promotions.
For all movies there is a PRO appointed who is takes care of the publicity like calling a press conference, providing movie stills and clipping to the newspapers and channels. They are the official promoters of the film and link between the film and the media. You can see the name of the official PRO in the title card of each film and also its posters. Technically all newspapers published in newspapers and telecast in TV channels should go through them. But journalists also contact film personalities directly for off beat stories and news. That is the norm. But something different is happening these days. A lot of middlemen promising to promote the film in newspapers and channels have cropped up. They make tall promises and boast of their 'links' in the media and approach producers.
Late Mr DV Sudheendra started the Kannada film PRO association in Karnataka. Now Sudheendra Venkatesh, Nagendra, Vijayakumar, Harish, Kallesh, Deepak, Babu are doing official PRO work for the movies. Major share of movies is captured by Venaktesh and Nagendra who are seniors in the industry. These PROs keep track of the news on the films they are handling and give the published (in case of newspapers) cutting to the producers.
In the recent days two persons (Chitraloka is not publishing their names here but they are also misusing the name of Chitraloka!) are spoiling the industry. They are little known in the industry since One had worked in TV channels.
Their mode of operation is different and they target new producers most of the time. For example at the launch of a new movie many newspaper usually publish a news item. One of these two persons clicks the published article from his mobile and sends it to the concerned producer through Whatsapp. They take credit for the news being published. Normally What official PROs do is they will wait the whole week and get all the published news in different newspapers to the producer.
When the official PROs gives the published copies to the producer, the producer is made to think who got it published. The official PRO arranges the press meet and or sends material to the journalists. But the new gang takes credit for it.
From here onwards this gang keeps in regualr contact with that producer and gain their confidence. Later they make false claims to the producer that newspapaers and channels are close to them and they will publish/telecast whatever material they give. They collect large amounts and from the few contacts they really have see that some items are published. They also do it with a couple of channels. Once it is telecast the producer gets more confidence and trusts them and later starts neglecting the PROs. These two persons later tell the producer they will get the programmes done in the channels and asks them to give ads through them. These two persons know they cannot do anything in top channels like Suvarna News, Public TV and TV9 (these channels have their own persons who collect fixed advertisement charges) and they concentrate on other channels! They collect large amounts from the producer and become unofficial PROs. For some channels they tell producer is not having enough money for advertising and only small amount can be paid! Some of the producers who have talked with Chitraloka have recollected all these experiences and how much money they have lost from these two persons.
Speaking to Chitraloka PRO Venkatesh, PRO Nagendra and PRO Kallesh confirmed the above incidents and also revealed some shocking incidents which has happened in recent months. One movie producer who is also a director and producer (their movie is yet to be released) had paid one lakh Rupees to this gang. Later after knowing the fraud they somehow got back Rs. 75000. There are several incidents which has happened from these two persons. In some cases these two persons become very close to the hero of the film and from him they put pressure on the producers. Venkatesh said "We PROs have talked about this in a meeting and have already warned them. But still they are continuing with this illegal thing. These persons are not only cheating the producer but also bringing bad name to journalists and PROs. Even some reputed actors who produced their maiden films have also suffered from these persons," said Venkatesh and Nagendra.
Finally now it is for the producer to keep away from these type of persons. Chitraloka also requests newspaper and channel editors to speak to the movie PROs and collect their opinion on what is happening. This gang May not be alone. Official PROs deal with money officially and there are bills for all transactions.
Unofficial persons cheat both sides.