Trade Winds Columns

A problem of plenty

A still from Puli  

The first seven months of 2015 has seen the release of a record 138 films. What’s more, there are around 100 more ready for release this year.

The biggies are jostling for release date alongside the small-budget films all vying for the four major holidays — Vinayaga Chathurthi, Gandhi Jayanthi, puja holidays and Deepavali. The postponement of Vijay’s Puli release, from September 17 to October 1, too has created much confusion. Films, which were lined up for the Gandhi Jayanthi weekend have now been postponed.

A spokesperson of PVP Cinemas, whose Arya-Anushka bilingual Inji Iduppazhagi is scheduled for October 2, said: “We may postpone the release of Inji Iduppazhagi, as we do not want to clash with Puli, but we are yet to take a final call on it.”

Many other films too are planning to advance their release to September 17. The films that are all fighting for these weekend slots include Sivakarthikeyan’s Rajini Murugan, Anushka’s Rudhramadevi, G.V. Prakash’s Trisha Illana Nayanthara. And a week before the festival date, Arya’s Vishnuvardhan-directed Yatchan too is releasing.

A multiplex theatre programmer said: “We are caught in a fix. On September 4, we have Vishal’s Paayum Puli, followed by Yatchan on September 11. In all probability, it looks like Rudhramadevi and Rajini Murugan will release on September 17. Along with that, we have to accommodate other language films too and all of them require big screens.”

The worst hit by this glut, are the films with lesser-known artists. Yet the mad rush to release continues. Today, in Tamil Nadu, owning a cinema theatre is the most lucrative business in film trade. Explains P. Madan of Escape Artists Motion Pictures, who is distributing Paayum Puli: “Today, the release strategy is as important as the film’s content. Gone are the days when a hit film did not require any promotions, as theatres would continue playing it. But today, theatres have more options and flexibility to play around with films. Earlier, a big screen used to play four shows of only one film, but now they are playing only one or two shows of a film, depending on the film’s collection.”

These days, the life of a hit film is not more than 10 days. And when two big films clash, the theatres and audiences get divided. Very few films survive in the main screens for more than two weeks, and if it is a hit, then this extends to four weeks. Also, celebrating 50 days and 100 days is a thing of the past in the Tamil film industry. In most cases, it was done on the insistence of the star. Last week, director SS Rajamouli, under pressure from fans of Baahubali, tweeted : “Record number of 50 days, 100 days, 175 days are things of the past. Today, films are being released in 1000s of screens and the run is over by 3 to 4 weeks. A few main screens might still give shares, but mostly the run is over. It is very sad when some fans ask for an extension, sometimes paying out of their pockets and sometimes asking the exhibitors to do so. Friends..! What do we gain out of these false records?”

Meanwhile, the pressure for release date continues, with smaller films trying to squeeze in their release along with big films. Twenty three small films are also trying for a release date in September or at least in October.

In the meantime, Vikram’s 10 Enradhukulla is targeting October 21 ( puja weekend). Traditonally, Kollywood does not release big films for pooja as Deepavali , a bigger festival, is only three weeks away.

Producers are trying to block the Diwali date as Kamal Haasan’s Thoonga Vanam, Ajith’s Thala 56 and Dhanush’s VIP 2 too are also getting ready for release. Looks like it is a problem of plenty for Tamil cinema, come festival season.

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Printable version | Oct 20, 2021 1:14:29 PM |

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