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Nayanthara: Queen of the box office

No heroine has held sway over Kollywood like Nayanthara has. Is she the ‘Lady Superstar’?

In a male-dominated industry, Nayanthara is the only lady in the list of superstars. For this, she has already captured the moniker of ‘Lady Superstar’ and remains the only female star to have a market across the state.

This Friday, her horror-thriller, Dora, is releasing worldwide and it’s pitted against KV Anand’s Kavan, starring Vijay Sethupathi.

In the last two years, Nayanthara’s films like Maya and Naanum Rowdy Dhaan (Vijay Sethupathi’s rise as a commercial hero started with this film) have worked wonders at the box-office. S Pictures’s Srinivasan, distributor and exhibitor, says, “Nayanthara definitely has her own opening market when no other heroine seems to have one. Recently, films like Thirunaal and Iru Mugan, which had established heroes, got an extra edge on the opening day due to her star presence.”

The last time a heroine had a solo star presence was Vijayashanti, in the 1990s when her Telugu Karthavyam, dubbed in Tamil as Vyjayanthi IPS, became a superhit. As per industry sources, Nayanthara’s solo heroine films are made on a tight budget. The landing cost (including print and publicity) of these films would be around ₹7 to ₹9 crore and it can be recovered from Tamil Nadu theatrical, satellite and dubbing rights. In comparison, Tamil cinema’s top 10 heroes have an average landing cost of ₹20 to ₹80 crore.

Nayanthara: Queen of the box office

Nayanthara has smartly built up her brand image being the ‘elusive’ and mysterious star, known for not attending any film or private functions. She does not attend promotions, and keeps away from media interaction. In the last two years, she has quietly reinvented herself with women-centric roles veering away from playing the glamorous heroine. She has moved away from established filmmakers to the new crop with fresh, exciting ideas.

If she likes a script, she greenlights it and ropes in a producer to work out the budget and her salary. As per sources, she gets paid anywhere between ₹3 to ₹4 crore per film. Nayanthara has five releases coming up this year, four of which are women-oriented – Dora, Imaikka Nodigal, Aramm and Kolaiyuthir Kaalam. And the big commercial film would be Sivakarthikeyan’s Mohan Raja-directed Velaikkaran.

Meanwhile in Bollywood, heroine-oriented movies are now seen as commercially viable projects – Pink, Neerja, Ki & Ka, Udta Punjab and Dear Zindagi to quote a few. There’s more in store this year such as Taapsee Pannu’s Naam Shabana, Vidya Balan’s Begum Jaan, Sonakshi Sinha’s Noor and Deepika Padukone’s Padmavati.

A lot is riding on Dora for Nayanthara and Kollywood.It can potentially open an alternate track for herione-centred films with the release of Bramma’s Jyothika-starrer Magalir Mattum and James Vasanthan’s Oh Andha Naatkal (Raadhika, Urvashi, Khushboo, Suhasini).

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 8:33:10 AM |

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