THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In yet another twist in the tale of Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham, producer Antony Perumbavoor has agreed to release the big-budget movie in theatres, shelving the plan for an exclusive OTT release.
Cultural Affairs Minister Saji Cherian told reporters here that the Priyadarshan-directed movie starring Mohanlal in the lead, will hit theatres on December 2. Antony announced last week that Marakkar would be released on Amazon Prime as theatre owners had not accepted his demand for minimum guarantee.
The decision invited criticism from the film industry as many felt the move would sound death knell for the theatre industry. The shooting of the movie — depicting the life of Kunjali Marakkar — which began in 2018, faced several hurdles and release plans had to be postponed multiple times owing to the Covid situation.
After a meeting with Kerala Film Chamber president G Suresh Kumar, KSFDC Chairman Shaji N Karun and other stakeholders, Saji Cherian said Antony withdrew the condition for minimum guarantee from theatre owners and agreed for unconditional distribution. It is reliably learnt that Antony has signed a contract with Amazon Prime, providing them exclusive release right. However, the OTT agency agreed to relax conditions in the contract, facilitating theatre release.
State prefers theatre release to OTT, says Saji Cherian
“The prevailing norm is that films released in theatres in Kerala can be released via OTT after 42 days. In the case of Marakkar, that condition will be relaxed. Theatre owners have agreed to that. That means you can expect the movie on an earlier date on OTT,” said a source privy to the discussion. Minister Saji Cherian thanked Antony and Mohanlal for a breakthrough in the issue.
“The government prefers theatre release to OTT as the latter will badly affect the film sector and the people working in it. The government is taking various steps to help the sector tide over the Covid crisis. Entertainment tax has been waived for tickets. Fifty per cent of the fixed power charge has been waived for theatres during the period in which they remained closed.
The remaining has to be paid in six installments. People who have taken one dose of vaccine can enter theatres. The finance minister will discuss the demand for a moratorium on loans availed of by stakeholders in the film industry with the Statelevel Bankers’ Committee,” said Saji Cherian. During the discussion, Suresh Kumar requested the minister to relax 50% entry restriction in theatres. The minister responded favourably and said some relaxations could be effected before the release date of Marakkar.