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‘Vada Chennai’ vs ‘Sandakozhi 2’: clash of the titans this puja season

This is an exciting season for Kollywood, with several big-budget releases lined up for the puja holidays

Once upon a time, Kollywood had three major festival seasons during which big budget superstar films released. The festivals were Pongal in mid January, Tamil Puthandu (New Year) on April 14 and Deepavali falling in October end/November first week. But once the number of new Tamil releases increased to over 200 a year and more stars became saleable at the box-office, it became a race among superstars to grab festival dates. Then newer festival days coinciding with Government holidays and keeping weekend box-office in mind was created by producers. Ten years back, Ganesh Chaturthi became a festival date and recently, the puja season or Navaratri festival has joined the list.

This puja season, Kollywood is going to witness a major battle as Dhanush’s Vetri Maaran-directed Vada Chennai clashes with Vishal’s Lingusamy-helmed Sandakozhi 2. For the first time during puja season, two major star films are clashing, along with Vivek’s Ezhumin. And these films are releasing 18 days before Deepavali, giving them limited time to perform at the box-office. Deepavali too is going to be a packed season with Vijay’s Sarkar and a few other films set to release.

But what makes the puja season exciting this year, is that it is going to be a four-day weekend starting from Thursday. Veteran exhibitor and distributor Abirami Ramanathan says, “The Tamil box-office is on a dream run as a string of recent releases like Chekka Chivantha Vaanam, 96, and Raatchasan are doing well. A lot is now riding on Vada Chennai and Sandakozhi 2. With four holidays in a row over the weekend, the box-office should boom. It is a perfect release date as it allows these big-budget films enough time to perform at the box-office before the biggest of them all, Sarkar, hits the screen this Deepavali.”

‘Vada Chennai’ vs ‘Sandakozhi 2’: clash of the titans this puja season

The first puja release, Dhanush’s Vada Chennai, is today, set to hitnearly 400 screens. Multiple shows starting as early as 5 am have been programmed by screens across Tamil Nadu. The film, which has been in the making for nearly two-and-a-half-years, is said to have a production cost of ₹40 crores. Vada Chennai has been getting rave reviews from critics after its world première at Pingyao Film Festival (PYIFF) in China. The advance booking for the ‘A’ certificate film has been phenomenal in the urban areas, mainly Chennai and in suburban Chengalpet.

The other big release is Vishal’s Sandakozhi 2, a sequel to the team’s highly successful Sandakozhi (2005). Raj Kiran comes back as the family head with Keerthy Suresh and Varalakshmi Sharatkumar playing key roles. The film, made at a cost of around ₹30 crore, is said to be a rural family entertainer, with all essential commercial ingredients. It is targeted at the mass rural audiences and is slated for release on October 18 in over 400 screens.

Both these films will take up nearly 90% of the screens and show timings in Tamil Nadu, with multiplex big screens being shared by the two. The number of screens and shows for 96 and Raatchasan, which are running successfully, will be drastically cut down to accommodate the new releases.

In fact, Jyothika’s Kaatrin Mozhi, which was earlier announced as a puja festival release, has been pushed. G Dhananjayan, the producer of the film, says, “I was forced to push the release as too many films of popular artistes were lined up for the festival weekend. In such a tight situation, a feel-good family entertainer, which needs a little space to attract audiences, cannot compete. We will hopefully release it in November after the Deepavali rush in a not-so- cluttered week.”

It is becoming increasingly difficult for ordinary films to find a release date without opposition from star-powered films. Kollywood release calendar up to Deepavali 2019, has already been snapped up by the biggies. The large number of releases every week is a spill over of the 48-day ‘no new release’ strike in March-April by Tamil Film Producers Council (TFPC) against Digital Service Providers. The sins of the past are fast catching up with Kollywood.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 2:48:50 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/vada-chennai-vs-sandakozhi-2-clash-of-the-titans-this-puja-season/article25236971.ece

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