CHENNAI: Rajini, Kamal, Vijay, and Ajith get only ten days a year on which their films can hit screens, from now and possibly ever more. The Tamil Film Producers Council (TFPC) has announced that beginning June 1, films that are made on a budget in excess of Rs 15 crore will have to mandatorily release only on ten pre-determined holidays (Pongal, Republic day, Tamil New Years day, May day, Vinayaka Chathurthi, Independence day, Deepavali, Vijayadasami, Ramzan, and Christmas).
The move is ostensibly aimed at creating a level playing field for smaller producers and film makers. TFPC president Kalaipuli S Thanu said, “There are several dangers and problems in allowing big budget films to hold monopoly over the box office, especially if smaller budget films stop being made. This is not good for business nor is it healthy for cinema industry. That is why this decision has been taken by the Executive Committee and the General Body.”
The move will be a body blow for Thanu, whose company V Creations has made big budget films like Vijay’s Rs 70 crore Thuppakki and is believed to be producing Rajinikanth’s next film with Pa Ranjith, and producers like Aascar Ravichandran and A M Rathnam who are known to spend lavishly on their films. Almost all large hero project films tend to cost over Rs 50 crore, including artist remuneration.
Small film makers, on the other hand, are overjoyed. “It was only because of the lack of screens that we had to release our film Mahabalipuram along with 10 other films two months ago. Such a situation makes it very difficult for us to earn money and get return on investment, but we do it because we are confident of our film,” said director Don Sandy. Small budget films with new faces have been overflowing in Kollywood to such an extent that of the 300 films made last year, 205 were released - close to 85 per cent of them sunk without a trace, often not making it beyond the first week.
TFPC also announced that producers making films under Rs 15 crore can release their films on any Friday of the year, except the ten days. This is bound to be welcomed by producers like J Satish Kumar of JSK Film Corporation, who produced award-winning films like Kuttram Kadithal and Thangkameenkal but have had to do extreme introspection before attempting a theatrical release.
The only danger, according to a producer from Coimbatore, is that producers may begin tweaking budgets to open the field up, “Mid-level heroes will be at an advantage. If they get a clash-free release, producers may well keep some expenses off the books to achieve the sub-15 crore margin. That is why we raised this point in the meeting and insisted that an accounting scrutiny committee be present to ensure that such malpractices do not creep in,” he said.