Like sequels and remakes, re-releasing old movies seems to be the latest formula to attract audiences. Where Hollywood makes Jurassic Park and The Wizard of Oz were re-released in 3D and IMAX format, closer home Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani’s Fukrey starring Pulkit Samrat, a surprise hit, was re-released in Delhi during September on public demand. Adding to the list are re-releases of Rajkumar’s films. Though, these Kannada productions could be called trendsetters in many ways. For Bedara Kannappa has been re-released time and again, so have Rajkumar’s Veerakesari, Bangaarada Manushya and Operation Diamond Rocket. Recently, Upendra’s well-received film Om was re-released.
In 1977, the Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth-starrer directed by Bharathiraja 16 Vayathinile ran for 175 days in Chennai. Now, 36 years on, it will flicker across screens again.
Another Tamil hit Ninaithale Inikkum was recently released again while plans are afoot to release Sivaji Ganeshan’s Veerapandiya Kattabooman and Kamal Haasan’s film Anbe Sivam sometime soon.
It sounds all good and seems as if the cine-goer has not lost love for her once-upon-a-time favourites.
On the flip side, movies that couldn’t even hold sway for a week at the box-office are re-releasing too. It seems to be the director’s tactic to rake in some collection. The last film, which was re-released in Kannada was Prem’s I am Sorry Mathe Banni Preethsona. Now, we hear that Case No. 18/9 too is set to re-release on October 26 at Kailash.
Says H Ravindra, director of I am Sorry..., “I pulled the film out of theatres three days after its first release because of poor response. Later four people who had watched the film came together to re-release it. They invested the money to bring back my movie to theatres and did a better job than I. There was a lot of support from senior actor Ambareesh. I am not saying that the release will change the film’s fate, but why not try to see if it works.”
On the other hand, 18/9 is re-releasing due to public demand. Says Mahesh Rao, director, “My producer is confident about re-releasing the movie as he feels that, in the first instance, it did not reach as many people it should have. Kannada films have to vie for attention in a clamour of other southern films. This affects collections and makes paying rent to the theatre difficult. The second time round, we have the ease of strategising a lot more. Also, publicity is limited to posters, paper and TV shows.”
Indrajit Lankesh feels that a re-release is better than a remake. The director says, “If a film wants to test itself at the box-office again, it has to have some standard to it. A movie which has broken all records in doing well at the box office will work when re-released. If you add some extra technical details, audience curiosity can be roused. Take here the example of Titanic when re-released in 3D format or for that matter, a couple of Rajkumar’s films coming back to a theatres in digital format, which will definitely attract people.”
A re-release does not mean no or slack publicity. Says Indrajit, “We have to learn from the American style of marketing films. Following the re-release of Titanic, James Cameron could make millions again. Any film that is being re-released needs to be publicised just like the first time. If a good film didn’t do well for various reasons, in that situation a re-release is better than a remake. Good marketing is the key.”