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Hope of a revival for Malayalam film industry

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Return of popular banners that gifted memorable movies for the audience will be one of the major highlights of the Malayalam industry in 2006. After keeping away from the industry for various reasons, veteran producers and distributors are making a comeback thanks to the buoyant mood prevailing in the industry.

If Blessy's Thanmatra brought Century back into action, Sheelabathi paved way for the return of P.K.R.Pillai of Shirdisai films that made chartbusters including Priyardarsan's Chitram. Liberty films is returning with I.V.Sasi's Balram versus Taradas in which Mammootty plays the double role of a police officer and an underworld don. Other big and small banners are also getting ready to announce their new ventures.

From severe financial loss at the box office to the waning quality of films in general, producers of yesteryears had taken a break from the industry for various reasons. Some had to quit the scene after their big budget films failed to click at the box office.

Producers like Raju Mathew of Century took a break after realising that the industry was going behind movies different from what they were making in the golden times. "We were actually waiting for a good script," says Mr. Mathew, who returned with Thanmatra after a seven year break. Century had made popular movies such as Aalkootathil Thaniye, Aakashadooth and Santhwanam besides distributing several other films. Mr. Mathew says that he will think of the next project based on Thanmatra's performance at the box-office. "The film had been well received by the audience giving us the encouragement to think of producing more family-oriented movies," he adds.

Producer-distributor P.K.R. Pillai announced his return by undertaking the distribution of Sarath's Sheelabathi. The producer of one of the highest grosser (Chitram, starring Mohanlal, Nedumudi Venu and Ranjini) in the industry, Mr. Pillai left the scene after suffering huge loss in films that he made and distributed after Chitram. But the story of Sheelabathi inspired him to make a comeback. Boxoffice returns of flicks to be released in the coming days will seal the fate or both old and new banners in the industry.

G. Krishnakumar

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