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Will ‘Bigil’ dominate ‘Kaithi’ and ‘Sangathamizhan’ this Deepavali?

A still from ‘Bigil’

A still from ‘Bigil’   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Kollywood gears up for a battle against screen count as three star-vehicles — Bigil, Kaithi and Sangathamizhan clash at the box-office on Deepavali

Tamil cinema is on a celebratory mode, thanks to the recent box-office performances. First it was Sivakarthikeyan-starrer Namma Veetu Pillai, a rural family drama which became a superhit at the ticket window. A week later came the Dhanush-Vetri MaaranAsuran, which surprised the trade by taking a fantastic opening and is running to packed houses. Theatre owners are particularly happy with the way these two films are keeping the cash register ringing ahead of the much-celebrated Deepavali week.

Battle for screens

For Tamil cinema stars, getting a Deepavali release has always been a prestige issue of sorts. In fact, it is the second-biggest festival date after Pongal. Which is why actor Vijay has been insistent on Deepavali, just like how Bollywood superstar Salman Khan has a monopoly over Eid releases. In the last two years, Vijay had two back-to-back Deepavali releases — Mersal (2017) and Sarkar (2018). He strikes a hat trick with Bigil this year. Incidentally, one of Vijay’s landmark films, Thuppakki, released on Deepavali in 2012.

Karthi in a scene from ‘Kaithi’

Karthi in a scene from ‘Kaithi’   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The Deepavali date is widely considered the most auspicious season by the stakeholders, even though the North-East monsoon has often played spoilsport. This year, Deepavali falls on October 27 (Sunday) and will see the biggest ‘screen’ battle among Tamil films in recent times. Vijay-starrer Bigil will face stiff competition with Karthi’s Kaithi and Vijay Sethupathi’s Sangathamizhan. As of today, all three films are gearing up for release on Deepavali, but the dates have not been revealed yet.

A lot is riding on the trade circle as three star-driven films are battling it out for the maximum number of screens worldwide. For obvious reasons, Bigil is clearly the most preferred film among exhibitors and distributors worldwide since it stars Vijay. The theatrical rights for Bigil have been acquired by Screen Scene Media Entertainments for a whopping amount.

If the distributor has to break even, they need to get maximum screens across Tamil Nadu’s 1,000-odd theatres. In addition to this, they also need to strike a deal based on MG (minimum guarantee) basis with theatre owners. Sources in the trade circle say that the additional ‘fan shows’ priced at higher ticket rates play a major role in recovering the investment.

Raking in the moolah

It is certain that Bigil will have an edge over Kaithi and Sangathamizhan, but it may not have advantages that Mersal and Sarkar had, because they were solo releases, without any competition. About the Deepavali craze, a spokesperson for the Tamil Nadu Theatre Owners Association observes, “Multiplexes will allot Bigil more screens, while less number of shows will be given to Kaithi and Sangathamizhan. Most single screens will prefer the Vijay-starrer, provided the terms and conditions are favourable. It would have been a different story had Bigil got a solo release date. Even then, it will dominate the screens.”

Meanwhile, there is a lot happening behind the stage since Bigil and Kaithi are yet to pass through the CBFC process, while Sangathamizhan has been cleared with a ‘U/A’ certificate. According to the norm, producers are allowed to announce the release dates only after censor certification. This has further led to a situation where there is a little speculation over the release date of these two films. Nevertheless, the trade is quite happy with the prospect since October 28 (Monday) is also a public holiday in Tamil Nadu. However, in the age of social media, what matters the most is the weekend collection, especially in the overseas market. So, the question to ask is: Will these films release on Deepavali as per the plan? For tactical reasons, the release dates would be announced closer to the festival.

Funnily, it is a coincidence that Bigil, Kaithi and Sangathamizhan have one thing in common: Vijay. Interestingly, Vijay’s forthcoming Thalapathy 64 is directed by Kaithi director Lokesh Kanagaraj and stars Vijay Sethupathi in a pivotal role. Any which way, this goes on to suggest that it is going to be a cracker of a Deepavali this year.

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Printable version | May 26, 2020 7:44:25 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/let-the-sparks-fly/article29633705.ece

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