Tamil Nadu

No country for long films?

The film has received mixed reviews on social networks, though everyone has unanimously praised lead actor Vikram for pulling off a versatile performance.—Photo: Special arrangement  

Is there a bit of audience fatigue setting in when it comes to lengthy Tamil feature films?

At over three hours, the much-anticipated I , directed by Shankar, opened to full houses across the State on Wednesday. The film has received mixed reviews on social networks, though everyone has unanimously praised lead actor Vikram for pulling off a versatile performance. There are plenty of murmurs that the running time has hurt the response to the film.

This is the second film in just over a month to raise questions over the length of a typical blockbuster film. ‘Superstar’ Rajinikanth’s Lingaa , directed by K.S. Ravikumar, also clocked over three hours and the initial feedback from its audience was that lengthy films are fraught with risks. Some of the feedback for Lingaa ’s first week was taken seriously by the film’s crew, which went on to edit some scenes to shorten the running time.

R. Rangarajan, director, AGS Entertainment, which has taken up distribution of I in Chennai and Chengalpettu areas, said the audience response had been tremendous. “The last time we faced such demand for tickets was for Enthiran ,” he said.

However, theatre owners point to other practical difficulties in releasing a long feature film. According to some, a three-hour-long film often leads to scheduling problems as they are forced to start shows early in the morning and end late in the day. “It has to be started an hour earlier in the morning just so we can start the night show by 10.45,” said Rakesh Gawthaman, MD, Vettri Cinemas. The longer running time also gives no space for theatres to pack in an extra show, he added.

Thanks to technology, re-editing films based on feedback is easier and filmmakers seem to have more control over the process. Senthil Kumar, co-founder of Real Image and Qube Cinema, said that with digital technology it had become possible to edit out portions of a film and transmit the changes via satellite link to digital theatres within seconds. The small catch for filmmakers here, though, is that they have to notify the Censor Board of the ‘voluntary cuts’ that are made.

The Tamil film industry has not warmed up to running previews for test audiences as a means to gauge response. In many ways, it could help filmmakers and producers get the sort of response that social networks like Twitter get flooded with almost instantly after the ‘First Day First Show’ (usually marked by the hashtag ‘#FDFS’). A producer, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a few preview shows are held, but feedback usually border on the sycophantic.



After ‘Lingaa’, ‘I’ is the second film in just over a month to raise questions over the length of a typical blockbuster film




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Printable version | Dec 8, 2021 3:46:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/no-country-for-long-films/article6790666.ece

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