Cinema

No country for new films

Kadhal to Kalyanam

Kadhal to Kalyanam  

Fifteen years ago, actor Vikram had to pawn his wife's jewels and organise over 60 screenings for distributors for months before Sethu was discovered, Bala arrived as a director, and a star was born.

A couple of years ago, director Balaji Tharaneetharan had to run from pillar to post with Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom. Balaji even shot a promotional song that had nothing to do with the film to appease the distributors and still found no takers.

He had to wait till Vijay Sethupathi became a saleable star. Luckily for him, C.V. Kumar released Pizza with marketing budgets as big as the production budget itself and this paved the way for one of the best films of our time.

The bitter truth is that the Tamil film industry has very few C.V. Kumars. The next Vikram or Vijay Sethupathi is probably waiting in the cans. The newer the idea, the longer the wait. And then, ironically, it becomes too old for the trade.

Milind Rao, a promising young director who trained under Mani Ratnam himself, is still waiting for his long censored Kaadhal 2 Kalyanam to release for over a year. “We have had only positive responses to the film at all screenings and the market is ready for fresh content. Besides, this is a film with names. It has music by Yuvan Shankar Raja, Divya Spandana and Arya's brother Sathya in the lead, but we are still waiting for funds to release the film,” says Milind.

And this, despite the fact that the film is in the same space as the immensely successful Kalyana Samayal Sadham and even looks as fresh. “Each unreleased film has a unique problem and ours has to do with internal decisions rather than market factors. But having a producer with a presence in the market makes a huge difference,” he adds.

Filmmaker Venky Al only wanted to be a creator and not a producer. After investors backed out halfway through the project, he had to take over the burden of producing Konjam Koffee Konjam Kadhal. He spent Rs. 70 lakh on finishing and promoting the film starring newcomers Hriday and Aditi along with veterans Revathy and Nasser.

“I'm paying interest through my nose. Any other person would've committed suicide, but luckily I am being able to take up jobs to survive. The industry is ruled by a few people who control screens and if the lobby wants to destroy you, it can destroy you,” he says. “The producer associations should come forward to support the small films. The system is corrupt,” he rants.

Censored last year, the offbeat romance drama is still waiting for takers. “I just need someone to pump in some money for the release,” says Venky, hoping to get all small filmmakers together to form a body that will fight for them and work out a solution.

Hurdles in the way

Director Padmamagan is irked that his action-adventure film Netru Indru, which was ready and censored in May 2013, has still not released. “When I started the film, I never thought it would experience such hurdles, considering it has a good starcast that includes actors like Vemal and Prasanna. However, both corporates and TV channels refused to buy and release my film as it was given an ‘A’ certificate by the censors,” says the director, known for Ammuvagiya Naan. The ‘A’ certificate, he says, was given primarily due to a sex-comedy track in the film that involves mention of a condom.

So, does he hope that his film will hit screens sometime in the future? “I don’t know. My future is bleak and the people who have given me money for the making of this film are demanding it back,” he rues.

C.S. Amudhan had no idea that getting his second film Rendavathu Padam released was going to be such an uphill task, especially since his first film Tamil Padam was a resounding success. The filmmaker waited for years to come up with something truly unique and came up with one of the most original and wackiest efforts we have seen in Tamil cinema.

Originally given a U/A rating, Amudhan made a few cuts to get the U certificate that distributors want in order to avail entertainment tax exemption.

“There is a huge barrier between the maker and the audience and this is the reason alternative content does not reach the audience,” believes Amudhan. “There are studio heads, theatre owners, distributors, their nieces and nephews who think they know what commercial cinema is and if there's anything that does not conform to their idea, they won't touch it.”

“Until a few years ago, there used to be a reasonable chance but now the producer is just one guy in the chain. The main roadblock is the safety-obsessed middlemen. It has been an uphill task but I think we have finally seen the light at the end of the tunnel and the film should release soon,” he says.

( With inputs from Srinivasa Ramanujam)

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2020 7:51:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/no-country-for-new-films/article5928808.ece

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