There was a time when a success-meet signified the film’s run for 100 days, at the very least. Thanks to the changed business model of cinema, these days, success meets are organised within 2-3 days of the film’s release and in some cases, even on the same day of the release! The makers of Si-3 recently patted their own backs. “And why not?” asks director Hari. “Do you know how hard it is to make a film? It was important to recognise the efforts of artistes and technicians when we realised that we had made Singam franchise a sustainable brand.”
While the term, ‘success meet’, seems to suggest that the film in question is a success, director Vijay indicates that there may be more to these events than meets the eye. “The idea is to increase visibility about a film while it’s still running. These meets also serve as promotional tools and spread good word about the film.”
He agrees with Hari that these success meets are motivational events for the cast and crew. “Please remember that in this age of piracy, making a film run for even two weeks is a
Karthick Naren, the toast of Tamil cinema following the success of his debut film, Dhuruvangal Pathinaaru, thinks that the definition of success varies from film to film. In the case of his film, he says, “With more releases coming fast on the heels of a small film like ours, it’s incredible we stayed on for as long. Ultimately, it’s the producers who decide whether a success of a film is worth celebrating.”
What is this success Karthick speaks of? Are all success-meets legitimate? Actor-producer RK Suresh certainly doesn’t think so. “Everybody knows that these meets are hogwash. It’s just the cast and crew getting together and announcing fabricated box-office figures,” he says.
There isn’t a legitimate way of cross-verifying any claims made about box-office figures though, and Suresh agrees that’s a problem. “We need more transparency. True success is only if a happy distributor shares his profit with the producer.”
Almost everyone in the industry agrees that success-meets are driven purely by monetary considerations. Smetimes, it’s held, when a film has done well. Other times, it gives it a push.
Vishnu Vishal, whose Velainu Vandhutta Vellaikaaran (2016) ‘saw a great return on investment’, didn’t organise a success-meet. “They’re a value-addition. In any case, they aren’t
necessarily signifiers of quality cinema.”
Suresh thinks that even while success meets are being organised, it’s important to recognise the more pressing problems in the industry. “More and more distributors seem to ask for their money back when a film fails. When such serious issues still need to be resolved, I really don’t understand the
need for success meets.”