Should we draw curtains on public audio functions?

Mar 18, 2013 Haricharan Pudipeddi

Chennai, March 18 (IANS) The death of a fan at the audio launch of Junior NTR-starrer "Baadshah" has sent shock waves in the industry. Hundreds of fans were quick to get on to social networking platforms to blame the organisers, producer and security personnel.

The incident happened Sunday night.

The fan, Rajendra Prasad aka Raju, suffocated to death in a stampede at the audio launch that also injured some others.

Though producer Bandla Ganesh said he will donate Rs.5 lakh to Raju's family, it hasn't dimmed the anger. One wonders if it is time to stop public audio functions and what could be a possible alternative.

Filmmaker Madhura Sreedhar feels it's time to stop such events.

"I'm saddened by what happened. I feel it is high time we stop encouraging such functions because thousands of fans are wasting time traveling hundreds of kilometers to attend these events. But I believe actors should take a call on whether to hold such functions because it's their fans' lives at stake," Sreedhar told IANS.

One of the best alternatives is to bank on live telecast, he suggested.

"If you can't do away with public audio launches, then organise smaller functions in an auditorium and issue limited passes to fan clubs across the state such that only limited audiences are attracted.

"Secondly, collaborate with one or even two television channels and live telecast the entire event, which can be watched live by lakhs of people," added Sreedhar.

The "Baadshah" event was being live telecast on TV channels, and yet it drew over 25,000 fans across the state.

"Since it was an open air function, controlling over 25,000 fans was a herculean task. We had warned the organisers in advance about the probable situation, but they said they had enough volunteers to handle the event," a police official told IANS.

"We have been part of so many audio functions, but for stars such as Junior NTR, Pawan Kalyan, Mahesh Babu or Prabhas, we always advice to have these events in a closed space," he added.

Actor-filmmaker Ravi Babu feels the need of the hour is to stick to a code of conduct.

"Such incidents are bound to happen if we don't have adequate safety measure. We have over 50,000 fans watching a match in a stadium, but we seldom hear about any such unfortunate event. Have we asked ourselves why? We don't hear so because these events are very well organised and non-chaotic. We need to follow a code of conduct," Ravi Babu said.

"To organise or not to have one is a call taken by a producer and actor. These functions are one of the most important promotional strategies before the release of a film and, therefore, there is no need to stop them," he added.

Poor event management skills could be one of the reasons for management failure, feels Tamil director Krishnan Jayaraj.

"If you have an event in a controlled environment with invites, then I don't see any reason for facing such situations. However, an event amidst masses can turn bitter due to poor event management skills.

"I remember for one of the audio function of a recent Tamil film, fans flocked the venue in large number, but nothing unfortunate happened because it was managed well," he said.

"We can't ban such functions but with better management we can definitely stop any accidents", he added.

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