The avoidable clash

Did Santhu Straight Forward and Mukunda Murari get released on the same weekend because of personal vendetta?

The film fraternity is like any typical family. There’s as much back slapping as back stabbing. The internecine politics could make for a fascinating plot. Sadly, like a tragic play, the endeavour veers more towards self destruction than creative growth. There’s a clear misdirection of resources and energy resulting in fiscal failure and stunted creativity.

K. Manju who has produced 43 films has mellowed over the years. He is hurt rather than angry with N. Kumar for releasing ‘Mukunda Murari’ even though the entire industry knew ‘Santhu Straight Forward’ was due on the same day. “He had agreed to release his film on November 11. It’s not illegal but an unwritten understanding between producers to give a comfortable gap. “‘Rockline’ Venkatesh postponed his film when he learnt of our release date,” says Manju. But can’t two films get released on the same day and do well? “They can but it’s not just Kannada films. There were big releases in Tamil and Hindi. We had booked nearly 300 theatres but had to give up nearly seventy to ‘Mukunda Murari’ because Kumar is also an exhibitor. I don’t blame him because I feel a coterie that is jealous of Yash’s continuous success has instigated him.” Manju is hurt because Kumar is an old friend.

Now the DCR (daily collection report) cannot be doctored and is a fair indicator of a film’s earnings. Of course, ultimately only the respective producers know their profit or losses irrespective of their claims. My sources in the trade tell me ‘SSF’ will collect around nine crores in the first week and ‘MM’ about six and a half. Manju should be happy but he corrects my figures. “My film has collected 10.8 crores and I’m really not bothered how much the other film has earned. It’s a huge success in places like Hubli and Dharwad. My grouse is that since I could not release the film in more number of theatres there’s a loss in profit due to this competition. My film would easily have made 5 crores more. This clash was totally unnecessary and avoiding it would have benefited both,” says Manju.

There’s a feeling that the press has not been kind to Yash after he took on a popular TV personality and has not interacted with them on the eve of the film’s release. “His intentions and statements have been misconstrued. He is passionate about causes and straightforward in real life too. He could not promote the film vigorously or meet the press because his wedding is nearing and he was shopping in Mumbai. Success always attracts detractors and Yash is experiencing just that. Everyone seems to have some grouse,” says Manju. “It hurts when after all the hard work, the film is not getting its due especially for reasons within our control. I’m ultimately a businessman, so don’t think I’m trying to defend Yash but he was against this clash. He’s earned success the hard way and is very clear that he’s not competing with anyone. I reliably learnt that someone forced Kumar to do this but he should realise that ultimately we are the losers.”

Yash reminds me of Dhanush who once told me that it is very easy to design and churn out a hit film. I thought it was arrogant but he did just that with ‘VIP’. Now parts of Yash’s ‘SSF’ have been plucked from various pot-boilers though the soul belongs to the Tamil film, ‘Vaalu’. In fact his character is more akin to God than Sudeep in ‘MM’. Yash as Santhu is omnipresent and omnipotent. He’s a loving son, a protective brother, unites lovers, makes a surly husband dote on his wife, helps ease childbirth, will do anything to win the girl he loves and even vanquishes evil. Of course, like most of our screen heroes he’s too busy to be employed or earning! The film is neither believable nor convincing but tried and tested ingredients are added in good measure and cooked just right to make it palatable. There is an overdose of narcissism but knowing Yash’s involvement in all departments, I think his triumph lies in having bought the rights and turned a flop in Tamil into a hit while the makers of ‘MM’ prove to be incompetent copiers. The production values and technical competence in ‘SSF’ are definitely a few notches above routine Kannada pot-boilers. ‘MM’ on the other hand uses tacky sets, sub-standard computer graphics and blurry stock shots. ‘Nothing else matters when you have two superstars,’ seems to be the logic.

Twitter has become a popular platform to vent bitterness whether it is between stars making veiled comments or fans exchanging expletives. A conversation between Upendra and Sudeep about what they assume is Yash taking a pot-shot aimed at them in ‘SSF’ has gone viral. Nobody knows who instigated N. Kumar to hasten the release of his film but film folk have to realise that professional and personal wars can only result in pyrrhic victories. ‘SSF and ‘MM’ are prime examples.

S.Shiva Kumar

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Printable version | Jun 5, 2020 9:28:00 AM |

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