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Kollywood strikes gold

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In the first quarter of 2008, Tamil films show a record output with nearly 31 releases, out of which only one film will recover its cost! But nobody is bothered because there is a boom in Kollywood. Superstars, who were charging Rs. 3 crore, are now demanding Rs. 6 crore or the television rights of the films! Suddenly television rights have become revenue spinners for Tamil films, as half-a-dozen major players (Sun TV, Kalaignar TV, Jaya TV, Raj TV, Vijay TV and others) and new entrants are trying to acquire the rights for as many films (small or big) as possible. Today, the television rights for a film featuring major stars is between Rs. 3 and Rs. 5 crore or even more. Ayngaran International, which is producing six Tamil films with Rajnikanth (“Robot”), Ajit (“Aegan”), Vijay and Jayam Ravi, is said to have entered into a lucrative contract with Kalaignar TV which has cornered all the biggies. Films with new faces are also being snapped up by television, as the channels want content. Sun TV, which used to have the best Tamil film library, is now entering film production to beef up its content. The network has signed up with leading players, including stars and directors, to produce films on a commissioned basis, with a set of existing production houses being roped in as ‘executive producers’. Another channel is going to make small budget films (Rs. 3 crore to Rs. 5 crore) with saleable second string actors funded by NRIs. Meanwhile, the Tamil Film Producers Council is holding talks with distributors and theatre associations to reduce the three-year ban on superstar films on television and bring it down to a year. If it is implemented, television rights will hit the roof.

SREEDHAR PILLAI

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