Chennai: Tamil film industry, which is never short of drama – sometimes more compelling than the ones in the films churned out by it – on Wednesday saw yet another bizarre turn of events.

The powerful Tamil Nadu Producers' Council (TFPC), the head association of the film producers in the state, had its office being dramatically locked out by a group of producers who are disgruntled with the council and its president (actor-politician) Vishal.

The dissenting group led by, among others, former MP JK Ritheesh, former MLA S Ve Shekher, AL Alagappan and Suresh Kamatchi, laid siege to the TFPC office and demanded that Vishal come and sort out the various issues that they have been raising over the last few months.

As there was no sign of Vishal coming, the group locked the various rooms in the building and handed over the keys to the nearby police station. Slogans were raised and tension prevailed in the area.

Also read: Two actors resign from TFPC, say Vishal did not fulfil promises

The dissenting group also said that they will meet chief minister Edappadi Palaniswamy and give a petition seeking to remove Vishal from his post in the TFPC.

With Wednesday's developments, the simmering discontent in TFPC has come to an ugly boil. Dissenters are alleging that Vishal has no time for TFPC, as he, a busy actor, is also tied up with his responsibilities as the chief of Nadigar Sangam (the apex body for actors and technicians in Tamil film world).

This week has been the bone of contention, as five big movies are scheduled to hit the theatres. It is seen as a virtual free-for-all at the box-office because there is a rule (laid by the TFPC) in Tamil industry that only one big starrer can release in a week so that smaller movies too get adequate space (in terms of theatres availability) to have a decent run.

The TFPC had a Release Regulation Committee (RRC) in place to implement this regulation. But in a controversial move, with too many big-starrers clamouring for release for this Christmas weekend, the TFPC announced that the RRC's rules won't be in place from December 15 to Pongal weekend (January 15). All hell has broken loose since then.

Five big movies that feature big stars like Dhanush, Vijay Sethupathy, Sivakarthikeyan, Jayam Ravi are ready to hit the screens. The five movies are: Dhanush’s Maari 2, Vijay’s Seethakaathi, Ravi’s Adanga Maru, Sivakarthikeyan-produced Kanaa and Vishnu Vishal’s Silukkuvarpatti Singam. Besides these, Shah Rukh Khan's Zero and the big-ticket Kannada film KGF are also arriving in theatres.

Tamil Nadu boasts of around 1,100 theatres. For a small star's film to have a decent run, it needs around 400 screens. Bigger stars like Rajnikanth, Ajith, Vijay have around 700 theatres for their films' release. The collections at the number of theatres allotted on the opening weekend decide the fate of any film.

"With around 1,100 theatres and seven different movies vying for viewership, it basically means nobody is going to profit. This is because of the TFPC. The TFPC by washing its hands off on film releases has failed to perform its duty. Vishal as its president has to take the blame," says AL Alagappan, one of the producers.

The multiplexes and malls are mostly confined to big cities like Chennai, Coimbatore, and to a certain extent Madurai. The majority are single or double screens. These theatres cannot play multiple films as is possible at multiplexes. The two screen theatres can have different timings for different films.

"This will confuse the public and also hit the revenue collection," says another producer. "It is a bedlam out there now. The industry is looking at several crores of rupees going down the drain."

But a source close to Vishal told MyNation, "See everyone wants to make the most out of this Christmas weekend as it telescopes into a long holiday period. When nobody is ready to listen and follow the rules laid down, it is unfair to blame us."

Local gossip has it that Dhanush's Maari-2 is what jumped the gun first. The film starring Dhanush, Rajnikanth's son-in-law, cocked a snook at the rules and said it would release this weekend come what may. Apparently, Dhanush and Vishal had a showdown at the TFPC office after which latter apparently said that he can do very little if people are bent upon confrontation.

The five-film showdown has also happened because four of the films releasing are produced by the respective heroes themselves. And one of this is being released by Udayanidhi Stalin, son of MK Stalin. So there is a political angle too. "All these have provided the cutting edge to the confrontation," says an industry insider.

Next month, with Rajnikanth's Petta and Ajith's Viswasam slated for almost simultaneous release, things are only get messier in Kollywood.