CHENNAI: After a four-year sabbatical from films due to his political entry, Kamal Haasan returns to the silver screen this Friday with the highly-anticipated actioner, Vikram, directed by Lokesh Kanagaraj. His last release, Vishwaroopam 2, hit the marquee in 2018, and the trade believes the star's return guarantees fireworks at box office.
Tamil Nadu Theatres' Association president and distributor Tirupur Subramaniam believes everything looks favourable for the film. "Vikram is set to release in 700-800 screens across the State, making it the widest-ever release for a Kamal Haasan film. Bookings look great and a mammoth opening looks to be on the cards. The presence of stars like Fahad Faasil, Suriya and Vijay Sethupathi has made the film hot property. Lokesh Kanagaraj’s track record, with two hits behind him, is also a great value addition," he says.
Subramaniam adds that Indian and Dasavatharam remain two of Kamal's biggest grossers till date. "Can Vikram surpass these blockbusters? It is too early to predict. We are yet to see the content," he says.
Hariharan, the manager of Chennai's Udhayam Theatres, thinks it's quite likely Vikram could turn out to be Kamal's biggest hit. "It is a definite possibility," Hariharan says, adding that the 2008 film Dasavatharam, which saw Kamal play 10 characters, ran for over 100 days in their theatre.
He believes Vikram is headed for a huge opening. "We are screening the film in three of our auditoriums: Udhayam, Suriyan, and Chandran. Our main screen is sold out for day one," he says. Although Kamal is no stranger to a wide release in other States, Vikram is perhaps his first film to have the pan-India label attached to it.
Observing the film's trend in Kerala, Siyad Koker, a leading distributor and producer says, "Considering the massive hype, strong advance reservations are being recorded across 100-odd screens in the State." Kamal Haasan has long enjoyed a good audience in the Telugu States, and Vikram will be released across over 400 screens.
Producer Sudhakar Reddy, of Shreshth Movies, who is distributing the Telugu version of the film, shares, "The action-thriller is mounted on a lavish scale and the film should get one of the best-ever openings in Kamal's career in Telugu."
The film is also set for a wide release in Karnataka. "Telugu and Kannada cinema have proved their pan-India presence, and the Tamil language will make its mark with Kamal Hassan's Vikram," says Tony Raj, who is spearheading the film’s Karnataka release through Horizon Studio.
The film will be released in more than 200 screens in Karnataka excluding multiplexes, with shows set to begin as early as 6:30 am.
"Vikram might see a whopping 1,200 shows per day. There are celebrations, and an event is planned by the production house ahead of the release date. Sixteen cutouts of Kamal Haasan are being readied, and will be put up at Aruna Theatre, Bengaluru," says the distributor.
Likewise, Pen India Limited, a leading production and distribution company, has acquired the release of the Hindi version and has been extensively promoting the film in the Western belt. Rakesh Gowthaman, of Chennai's Vetri Theatres, attributes the hype to rigorous promotion.
"Over the past 49 years, several Kamal Haasan films - right from the K Balachandar era - have been screened in our theatre. Notably, Kalyana Raman ran for over 100 days, while Dasavatharam proved to be his highest grosser," he says.
"Vikram too is set for a great opening and our main screen has been sold out till Sunday night. Response to the film and word of mouth will decide the overall run of the film. If it meets expectations, business on weekdays will also be terrific," Rakesh concludes.
(With inputs from Sajin Shrijith, Murali Krishna CH and A Sharadhaa)