Remember being engrossed in a movie only to have the excitement cut short by the intermission? Well, that is how Mollywood, the Malayalam film industry, is feeling post demonetisation. Riding high after the success of October-release Pulimurugan, the first Malayalam film to enter the `100-crore club, Mollywood is now trying to overcome the ‘slowdown’ following note ban. Trade analysts say a minimum of `12 crore — significant for a small industry like Mollywood — has been lost in collections in November following the move.
“Soon after high denomination notes were withdrawn, the number of moviegoers came down suddenly causing a minimum loss of `12 crore for exhibitors, distributors and revenue of local bodies (in entertainment tax) in Kerala,” said Kerala Film Exhibitors Federation president Liberty Basheer. Moreover, the release of three films was postponed after demonetisation.
“Among November releases, only Kattappanayile Hrithik Roshan earned reasonably. Even the terrific tempo of Pulimurugan was hit. Had there been no ban, it would have collected `5 to `6 crore more from Kerala alone,” he said. On the production side, the shooting of six major movies is progressing despite cash crunch.
They are Mammootty-Ranjith duo’s Puthen Panam, Lal Jr’s Honey Bee-2, Fahad Fazil-starrer Role Models, Lijo Jose Pellissery’s Angamali Diaries, Abrid Shine’s Poomaram and debutant Ansar Khan’s Lakshyam. “The daily routine has been affected. Earlier, bills of canteen, unit, production boys, drivers, diesel charges and costume assistants were settled in cash. A sudden switch to cheque/bank account/ digital money is not possible,” said Aroma Mohan, a senior production controller.