GUEST COLUMN by Venkat Subha – Kollywood Insider
Despite knowing that Tamil cinema box-office cannot accommodate regular flow of films, nothing is stopping the spate of films releasing week after week with a majority of them biting the dust within 3 days of release.
Though the magnum opus Super Star Rajinikanth’s Lingaa got released only on December 12th, on 19th, four films namely Mysskin’s Pisaasu, Rajesh Alfred directed Suttrula, Gnani directed Cinema Star and Raja Desingu directed Natpin Nooram Naal are releasing along with the highly anticipated Hindi film Aamir Khan – Rajkumar Hirani’s PK. Considering the kind of pressure the distributors and exhibitors are in to recover their huge investments in Lingaa, it is unlikely that three of the four releases announced will get decent number of screens and shows as the priority of the distribution network will be on Lingaa and Pisaasu. Even if they get decent number of screens and shows, it will last only for a week as on December 25th, four ‘expected’ films are releasing, which are confirmed with regular press advertisements.
On December 25th, Arya’s Meaghamann, Prabhu Solomon’s Kayal, Vikram Prabhu’s Vellaikkara Durai, Director Shankar’s release Kappal have confirmed. Arya and director Magizh Thirumeni are coming out with an action thriller in Meghamann and people in the industry are expecting it to be very good and hopeful about it. After two back to back hits in Mynaa and Kumki, Prabhu Solomon is back with Kayal set in the Tsunami backdrop, which has very high expectations from the audience. Ezhil also had two decent hits with Sivakarthikeyan (Manam Kothi Paravai) and Vemal (Desingu Raja) and his third outing with Vikram Prabhu is also carrying good expectation in the trade. Director Shankar, who abstained from film production and distribution, is back with Kappal and hence there is expectation around the film. Thus, all the four films releasing on December 25th, carry good expectations but Tamil Nadu box office cannot accommodate all and hence at best two films might survive more than a week and the other two will face a challenging time at box office, even if they turn out to be good.
Meanwhile, Pongal 2015 is bringing in a bigger challenge with four high budget films vying for the slot namely Shankar-Vikram’s ‘I’, Gautham Menon-Ajith’s ‘YennaiArindhal’, Sundar C – Vishal’s ‘Aambala’ and Sivakarthikeyan-Durai’s ‘Kakki Sattai’. With the way Tamil cinema is being plagued by the online and physical DVD piracy within a day of film’s release (Lingaa’s pirated DVDs were out on the 2nd day), it is near impossible for these four films to achieve their box office numbers by competing with each other. Considering the five days’ Pongal holidays (14th to 18th), at best we can expect two out of the four surviving the most happening Pongal period.
The same is going to be the scenario for the next holiday period of January 23rd (vying for Republic day holiday on 26th). That Dhanush- KV Anand’s Anegan, Vijay Antony’s India-Pakistan, S.J. Surya’s Isai (as of now) and one more film are competing for the slot.
At this rate, during every week with holidays, Tamil cinema is going to witness high level of competition with four to five films releasing, which is certainly going to affect at least 50% of such films as the box office cannot support beyond two expected films in any week. Despite knowing this, Producers are going after these special dates with unreasonable hope of their films succeeding against others and surviving the odds somehow.
If 2014 is going to end with more than 210 releases and with just 10 ‘real’ box office hit films, at the rate at which new films are planned, 2015 is going to be a watershed year for Kollywood. We are hoping better sense will prevail and Producers limit to 2 most expected films a week to ensure at least one week of good box office numbers for their films.
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