CHENNAI: On a day when their sternest resolve was put to a litmus test, Lyca Productions represented by a battle-worn K Karunamoorthy, ended up giving in. Vijay-starrer Kaththi, bedevilled by controversies over the producers’ reported proximity with Sri Lankan premier Mahinda Rajapakse, will hit the screens on Deepavali sans their name.
An official statement was made from the producers at 10.30 pm on Monday that “all issues had been cleared and that the movie would release on Deepavali.”
According to sources, the film will release on a whopping 430 screens across the State and advance booking will begin at 7 am on Tuesday. The compromise is that Lyca’s name will be replaced with Ayngaran’s in all the prints.
This wasn’t wholly unexpected though. A very senior member of the Tamil Nadu Theatre Owners Association had said earlier in the evening that there was a “99% chance of Kaththi releasing without Lyca Productions’ name.” The only time-related issue is that changing the producers title cards will mean a little work with the Censor Board again.
When the day began, it did not seem like Lyca were willing to play ball. “Karunamoorthy said that he would come with a proposal at 10 am and then he said 11 am and then he finally showed up at 2.30 pm. All that he had to say was that they would consider removing Lyca’s name from the posters,” explained an incredulous T Velmurugan, who heads an alliance of pro-Tamil outfits, campaigning against Lyca’s entry into Tamil filmdom. “We told him that the name needed to be removed from every print screened in Tamil Nadu,” he added.
Irritated by the stalemate, theatre owners and distributors who congregated at the Film Chamber office near Anna flyover, turned the heat right back on Karunamoorthy.
By evening, the producer was reportedly summoned to the Commissioner of Police’s office, where there was no question of him playing hardball. “I heard that there was a lot of pressure from the police to avoid a law and order situation, so they pushed him to reconsider removing the name. We believe that they are considering releasing it under Ayngaran’s name itself, excluding Lyca,” said the source in the TNTOA.
Meanwhile, unidentified persons hurled stones at Sathyam Theatre late on Monday night, which broke glasspanes in the front. It was believed to be an attack linked to the controversy surrounding the release of Kaththi.
None were hurt in the incident.