As cinema houses reopen in Kerala, theatre owners are striving hard to secure the theatre release of the Priyadarshan-directed mega movie Marakkar: Arabikkadalinte Simham
With restrictions imposed on film screening in cinema houses now lifted in Kerala, audiences who had been waiting for long to rush back to theatres are a happy lot. Starting Wednesday, theatres in Kerala have reopened and are allowing 50 percent occupancy for each show following Covid-19 protocols.
The film distributors and film exhibitors who had been pinned down by the restrictions are beginning to see some hope with theatres now ready to screen films. Over the lockdown period, most of the films that would have garnered a sizable audience had opted for OTT releases, as there wasn’t any possibility of being shown in theatres. With the lockdown and allied restrictions now off, the film bodies are expecting some good crowd pullers to opt for the theatre release format.
Among the big movies is Marakkar: Arabikkadalinte Simham (Marakkar: Lion of the Arabian Sea), a venture with Mohanlal in the lead and directed by Priyadarshan. The film has not only been anticipated much by the masses but also has been awarded at the recently concluded National Awards. The film had won not one but three laurels –Best Feature Film, Best Special Effects and Best Costume. The period drama is set in the 16th century and narrates the tale of Kunjali Marakkar IV, who defended the Malabar Coast against the Portuguese invasion.
Marakkar producer drops hints of an OTT release
The film exhibitors have been looking forward earnestly to getting the movie as a theatre release. It was even slated for release on March 26, 2020. But the raging coronavirus spread had spoiled those plans, much to their disappointment. Though the audiences too were hopeful of watching the film in theatres, producer Antony Perumbavoor dropped hints of the movie being readied for streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
The film, which was announced to hit theatres worldwide in five languages including Malayalam, was soon seen as veering towards OTT. Antony Perumbavoor had said that he was in parleys with Amazon Prime Video for a release later this year. The producer’s concern was understandable as profitability could take a hit if theatres allow only 50 per cent seating capacity.
Now with theatres having opened, film trade bodies are trying to get the film for release in theatres, as it could be a means for them to come out of bad days that had been forced upon them by the pandemic. The Kerala Film Chamber is at the forefront of the hopefuls and it has demanded a change in the OTT plan and has called for the theatre release of the mega-budget Mohanlal-starrer.
The Kerala Film Chamber is believed to have come up with the demand spurred by a call by the theatre owners. With hope still far away, Kerala Film Chamber president G Sureshkumar has scheduled meetings with actor Mohanlal and producer Antony Perumbavoor to get the film for theatres.
Theatre release of Marakkar could come as a boon to exhibitors
The theatre release of Marakkar, if it happens, would provide the film exhibitors and other trade film bodies with major hopes to stay afloat. Apart from Mohanlal, the film has immensely popular stars such as Pranav Mohanlal, Arjun, Sunil Shetty, Prabhu, Manju Warrier, Suhasini, Keerthy Suresh, Kalyani Priyadarshan, Fazil, Siddique, Nedumudi Venu, Innocent and Ashok Selvan. The technical crew are also big names, and they include production designer Sabu Cyril among others. Above all, the film’s selling point being Priyadarshan, Marakkar could be a rage in theatres. The trailer has already been lapped up by audiences from all languages, making it a mega-hit.
The National Film awards have added to the charm of the movie. Respectable names from the film industry being part of the venture, everyone out there has begun looking forward to the film.
Will Marakkar: Arabikkadalinte Simham debut in theatres is a big question now doing the rounds in Kerala’s film circles. That’s a query only Antony, Priyadarshan and Mohanlal could answer. Meanwhile, fans who look forward to watching the film first day first show have already switched to anticipation mode.