CHENNAI:Another one bites the dust. After religious outfits and worried collectors, an old villain contributed to derailing Kamal Haasan’s latest flick Uttama Villain on a bright May Day morning: Money, money and more money. With non-payment of dues still an issue between financier Eros International and producer Thirrupathi Brothers and distributors, the movie’s release on Friday stood cancelled summarily. Even the morning shows on Saturday seemed uncertain.’
Meanwhile, it emerged that the makers of the film settled Rs 2 crore to the film’s financier Thangam Cinemas as promised before the Madras HC last week.
“Only if we get the financial clearance from Eros International, the distributors will send us the theatre list. After that, we will send the digital projection keys to the theatres so that they can screen the movie. We hope they manage to sort out these issues soon,” said a source with Qube Cinemas, which is digitally distributing the film. Incidentally, Eros has not stopped the film from being distributed overseas, where shows are currently being screened. Eros declined to comment on the issue.
With talks having stalled because distributors refused to budge without seeing the cash transferred, sources said UV’s producers are in a jam — as Friday was a bank holiday, affecting money transfers. “The movie will only release tomorrow in the South. It cannot be delayed further because already pirated prints have started coming and the reviews are not very favorable from the public,” said a source in the Tamil Film Producers Council.
Qube confirmed that 184 theatres had asked for the print in advance and had it transmitted to them, but most others were yet to commit without clarity on the Ramesh Arvind-directed film’s release. “Our movie Vai Raja Vai is releasing in 175 screens and we had not scheduled for a morning show, but enquiries are increasing. Huge numbers of theatres played our film for the morning, noon and matinee shows,” said R Rangarajan, director, AGS Entertainment. Crores of rupees worth overpriced first-day-first-show tickets had to be refunded.
Distributors have had a bone to pick with Eros ever since Lingaa and Kochadaiiyaan turned out to be box office duds. All the parties involved, including Studio Green’s K E Gnanavel Raja, spent most of the day closeted in the Film Chamber, seeking a resolution. “Financial issues between N Lingusamy’s Thirrupathi Brothers, Eros International and the distributors are getting sorted out and money will be settled soon. The film will release today,” said Kamal’s representative.
Outrage as Film Premiere Put off
Viswaroopam, Kamal Haasan’s last release was also mired in controversy, releasing all over the world and India, except Tamil Nadu - hitting screens here only after 10 days.
With news of the morning show’s cancellation getting around to the fans only when they reached the theatres for their release rigmarole, there was outrage and shock that their ‘Ulaganayagan’s’ film wasn’t releasing.
“There was so much preparation for a special puja especially because his film is releasing after nearly two years,” said Kamal Dinesh, a fan club member outside Woodlands Theatre in Royapettah, Ground Zero for Kamal fans in the city. Lots of other theatres across the city quickly switched over to Gautham Karthik’s Vai Raja Vai instead, opting to let people watch that film instead of a refund. “As of now we have offered refunds for the morning and noon shows but screened VRV for those who just want to watch a film,” said Rakesh Gowthaman, owner of Vettri Theatres in Chrompet.
Kamal, who attended a Dubai premiere of the film, has flown back in a hurry in an attempt to get things in order for a Saturday release. Question is, can he guarantee what his co-producers haven’t been able to?
Uttama Villain Trimmed after Dubai response
Following response from people overseas, especially after the Dubai premiere, the makers have decided to trim the length of the Kamal-starrer from 2.52 hours to 2.3 hours. Kamal’s representative announced this, despite Qube not confirming that it had gotten word of any modification in length.