Are Kollywood damsels in a box-office distress?

Actor-producer Vishal tells us that even OTT is a different ball game altogether. Producers need to take a gamble even if it is giving their films for OTT release.
Visuals from Driver Jamuna, Raangi and Sembi
Visuals from Driver Jamuna, Raangi and Sembi

CHENNAI: The last week of 2022 saw the releases of four films (Raangi, Driver Jamuna, Sembi and Oh My Ghost), all led by female actors. It was a rare sight in Kollywood, like in any other film industry, as its commerce is driven by men.

While some of these films were panned by critics, films like Raangi and Sembi received positive to mixed reviews. What’s similar about these films is that all of them had less to no impact on the business end of Kollywood.

Can the blame be pinned on the content, small budget or female-led? Denying the last factor, producer G Dhananjayan said “It is not about men or women.” He says even the budget cannot be taken into account as Love Today did phenomenal business because it was seamlessly relatable to youngsters. “Now people are anticipating a big-ticket film and are saving other films for the OTT,” he added.

Actor-producer Vishal tells us that even OTT is a different ball game altogether. Producers need to take a gamble even if it is giving their films for OTT release. “Some producers believe that they are in a safe place with the surge of OTT platforms the blatant truth is that even OTT platforms go for huge star value or really strong content which even theatre owners and distributors look forward, so none of us can tend to take risk with a mediocre content on hand,” he remarked.

TN Theatre Owners Association chief Tirupur Subramanian rued that a film like Sembi with a much-needed message is not being received well. “Families don’t flock the theatres for films made on a shoestring budget like Sembi, but they want massy films. I have already started receiving inquiry calls on Thunivu and Varisu’s bookings,” he said. Pointing to the refinement of receiving content among the Malayalam audience, Subramaniam believes only such refinement could come to the rescue of small, but quality films, in the Tamil industry. “There needs to be a balance between artist value and content, a miscalculation in this equation will be bad to business,” he opined.

Differing with this generally held view about the December last week releases, Ruban Mathivanan of GK Cinemas says success is a relative term. “All the four female-led films did good business to their potential in my theatre,” he pointed. When speaking to us, the theatre owner also said apart from these films Nayanthara-starrer

Connect too went strong into the second week. “The positive word of mouth has increased the footfall of Raangi and Sembi,” he added. Ruban responded in an affirmative when asked if the Trisha-starrer and Kovai Sarala-starrer would be screened till the big Pongal releases.

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