|Singam – Hit|
The trend spotted in Kollywood in the first half of 2010 is that star system has become all pervasive, as small films are falling like nine pins.
The success of films like Singam, Paiyaa and the just-released Raavanan, as seen in Chennai, have proved that larger-than-life films and mass masala flicks, where the hero is a one-man army, have made a comeback to Kollywood.
The small-is-beautiful phenomenon, which was seen in 2008 and 2009, seems to be losing its fizz at the box-office. “It is only the big stars who can guarantee an opening. The audiences’ honeymoon with small films seems to be on the wane,” says a Chennai-based theatre manager.
|Paiyaa – Hit|
Fifty-five straight Tamil films were released in the first half of the year, compared to 51 during the same period last year. Out of this, only eight will recover their cost or make profits.
Says Abirami Ramanathan, leading exhibitor, “In filmi terms, I would say it has been the year of the good (superhits), the bad (flops) and the ugly (films that have failed to even take an opening). Big stars are able to get an opening and if the content is good, they will make profits. For small films, there is no opening and even if the content is good, they need television publicity which costs almost half the budget of the film itself! We have to go for flexible ticket admission rates if small films have to succeed.”
According to Ramanarayanan, president of Tamil Film Producers Council, “It has been a mixed bag for films this year so far. I still have faith in small films, but they need to boost up their publicity before release. Producers of small films should aggressively promote their films if they have to reach the audiences. I feel small films made on reasonable budgets will attract viewers if their content is good, as proved by Kalavani(Starring Vimal and Oviya).”
|Kalavani: Vimal and Oviya (Good Opening)|
Says G Dhananjayan, a producer who has made small films, “The Tamil film industry has moved away from producers and distributors to exhibitors, due to the increasing number of films releasing every week. It is now a buyers’ (exhibitors) market than a sellers’ (producers) one with the power of controlling the run of the films resting with exhibitors. No longer can a producer of a critically-acclaimed film expect his product to pick up after a week or two as by that time, the film would have been removed from the theatres. Under these circumstances, the best solution is not to risk with run-of-the-mill or realistically-niche films but to make mass commercial wholesome entertaining films with saleable artistes.”
However, Kollywood trade analysts state that it is only a handful of stars that can bring in the audiences. Many producers are still running after big stars who have delivered duds, in the fond hope that at least their next film will strike jackpot and they will, in the process, recoup their earlier losses. No wonder the superstars are able to demand and get half of the budget of the film as their salaries, irrespective of whether their films are successful or not.
As a Mumbai-based corporate producer lamented, “Kollywood is the only industry in the world where flops really do not alter an actor’s image or star ratings of a star. This has led to a situation where every actor is trying to model himself as a larger-than-life hero irrespective of the storyline of the film.”
On the whole the first half yearly success report of Kollywood has very little to cheer but a lot of introspect. Wishing a happy second half!