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December deluge

The present cash crunch has led to plenty of films vying for a release next month

As mentioned in this column last week, demonetisation has hit Kollywood badly. Financiers are shying away from funding new projects and cash liquidity in the industry is at an all-time low. As a result, they’re pressurising producers to pay back old loans, by forcing them to complete and release existing projects at the earliest.

This has created a mad rush for release as soon as possible. Last Friday (November 25), there were five new releases, taking the total number of films released this year to a whopping 183. Demonetisation has been a huge setback, and now, at least a dozen films look set for release in December (See box).

The industry feels that the cash crunch situation will improve, especially in rural Tamil Nadu, with the introduction of the new Rs. 500 notes. In fact, the new note was first introduced in Salem, even before it came to Chennai city.

Another encouraging factor has been the success of Gautham Menon’s AYM in the 3 Cs – Chennai, Chengalpet and Coimbatore areas. A lot of producers feel that films which cater to the3C audiences are safe bets at the moment.

Vishnu Vishal’s Maaveeran Kittu, directed by Suseenthiran, is scheduled for a December 2 release. The actor says, “We are on schedule. The new notes will ease the situation, and we are confident about the content. It is the first week of the month, and we expect that people will find it hard to keep away from the movies.”

Mahesh of Auraa Cinemas, distributors of Saithan, is releasing the film on December 1. He says, “Saithan has huge potential. Vijay Antony has been able to create a lot of buzz online by showing the first eight minutes of the film. The trade feels it will take a fantastic opening across Tamil Nadu as it has mass elements as well. I also think the situation is improving, as the cash flow has increased and market will react positively.”

But another producer who has firmed up a December release, says, “I have no other go. My financiers are putting pressure and even offering a discount if I release my film this month. Also, the more I delay, the more unsure I will be of getting a good release day, as January and February are chock-a-block.”

Financiers are also aware that they can turn in their old notes till December 30.

Leading producer and distributor Murali Ramaswamy, of Sri Thenandal Films isn’t convinced by this trend. He says, “I’m keeping away for the time being and going slow till the market stabilises from the effects of demonetisation. My next release will be the small-budget Manal Kayiru 2 in January. In February, I will be starting the shoot of the Vijay-Atlee project, but my first big release will only be in March with Mani Ratnam’s Kaatru Veliyidai.”

Meanwhile, all eyes in Kollywood are on Suriya’s S3 releasing on December 16. The Hari-directed mass entertainer is one of the most successful franchises in Kollywood. The trade itself is rooting for S3 to beat the demonetisation effect, and is hoping it does well uniformly across A, B and C markets in Tamil Nadu.

For the Christmas weekend on December 23, for the moment, Jayam Ravi-Arvind Swamy action-packed entertainer Bogan and Sasikumar’s Balle Vellaiya Thevaa are planned.

A number of big other language films are also scheduled for December. These films have a market in the 3 Cs and will be competing with the Tamil releases. The multiplexes in the state, after demonetisation, are giving prime shows and big screens to these films.

The advantage is that those who come in to watch films of other languages have plastic money and also serve to keep the concession (food & beverages) sales going.

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 5:19:58 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/December-deluge/article16706222.ece

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