PALAKKAD/CHENNAI: In the days leading to the release of Vijay’s film Kaththi, there was barely any publicity in Tamil Nadu, given the protests and uncertainty over the film’s release.
But just across State lines to the West, it was a completely different ball game: posters lined the streets, flex banners marked theatres and a whole train was plastered with the movie’s posters and ran through the length of Kerala before reaching Mangalore. Over the last few years, the reception for Tamil movies for A-list heroes like Rajinikanth, Vijay, Ajith and Kamal has been so enormous that distributors have been known to even push Malayalam films from clashing with these at the box office.
The aggressive marketing by Tamil films coupled with the changing audience attitude have resulted in many of the releases running to packed houses in Kerala.
In many interior towns of the State, especially in border areas, publicity of top Tamil stars is often bigger and better than that of their Malayalam counterparts Mohanlal and Mamootty. From special fan shows to ‘paal abhishekhams’ by fan clubs, there is little that separates it from a release in Tamil Nadu.
K Shibu of Thameems Pictures, one of Kerala’s biggest distributors, explained that this added demand has driven the cost up by several notches. “We released Kaththi in 192 screens and have made an enormous amount of money.
Publicity is vital — we spend close to `45-50 lakh on it alone,” he said. Thameem, who handles most of Vijay’s releases in Kerala, is so invested in the actor that he is co-producing his next film with director Chimbudevan.
P Sreekumar, proprietor of Remya movies, which released several Tamil films in the State, said the distribution rights of a film like Kaththi would have cost `3.75 crore. And it would appear to have paid off. Trade sources said that of the `100 crore that Kaththi has crossed in the 12 days since its release, close to `10.25 crore is from God’s Own Country.