Think Rajini’s Chandramukhi and Veera or Kamal Haasan’s Mumbai Express and Kadhala Kadhala, or their combined blockbuster Ninaithaale Inikkum. And, in recent years, Jayam Ravi’s Santhosh Subramaniyam or Vijay’s Ghilli. All these family entertainers hit the screens in mid-April, on the occasion of the Tamil New Year, making summer a busy season in cinema halls.
But when New Year was observed on Friday this year, the only notable film to make it to the theatres was debutant actor Udhayanidhi Stalin’s film, Oru Kal Oru Kannadi. The IPL and the extended strike in the film industry have clearly affected summer fortunes in the film industry, with important films slated for this summer likely to hit screens only after schools reopen.
Billa II, one of the most anticipated action flicks this season, was touted to hit the screens on May 1. May Day is one of the five days earmarked for a big release by the Tamil Film Producers Council. It also happens to be the birthday of ‘Ultimate Star’ Ajith who features in the film. And yet the movie is not likely to hit screens any time in early May, confirm the producers of the movie.
Two other movies that were originally scheduled to hit screens this summer - Saguni and Mugamoodi – will not make it in time. Shankardayal, who is directing the Karthi-starrer Saguni, says he has been reshooting portions of the film that involve the villain. This is because the anti-hero’s role initially played by Salim Ghouse, is now being played by Prakash Raj. Dhananjayan of UTV Motion Pictures says Mugamoodi might hit screens only in August. “We didn’t know that it would be such a big project. We had initially planned to complete the shooting in 90 days, but now it might take about 130 days. Another problem is that though we have permission to start shooting from 10 pm in the city, we have to wait beyond midnight for the crowds to disperse,” he says. Both the movies seem to have been affected by the strike in the industry, as well.
A theatre owner, on condition of anonymity, told City Express that a few of the big ticket films have been ready for a while, but the filmmakers are insisting on releasing them only after the IPL is over (May 27).
A long spell in theatres without films by the A-listers is not without its benefits. For some, at least. Movies like Kadhalil Sodhappuvadhu Eppadi, Mupozhudum Un Karpanaigal and Ambuli continue to have an extended run in theatres, for over 50 days, given the availability of screens. But to film buffs, for whom a summer without a big film is much like a temple festival without the presiding deity, all we can say is wait with bated breath for an action-packed June in Kollywood!