Chekka Chivantha Vaanam, Suriya 37 and Rajamouli’s next: South cinema is betting big on multi-starrers

Haricharan Pudipeddi

May,13 2018 13:20:34 IST

It’s the season of multi-starrers in southern film industry. Filmmakers from Mani Ratnam to SS Rajamouli and KV Anand are all placing their bets on projects that are powered by strong ensemble cast. Ratnam’s Chekka Chivantha Vaanam, which has already stirred up a terrific buzz, marks the maiden union of Arvind Swami, Simbu, Vijay Sethupathi and Arun Vijay. After striking gold at the box office with Prabhas and Rana Daggubati-starrer Baahubali franchise, Rajamouli has announced that his yet-untitled project will feature Ram Charan and Jr. NTR. Cinematographer-turned-director KV Anand, who is joining hands with Suriya for the third time, has roped in Malayalam star Mohanlal to play a pivotal role in the film.

According to well-known distributor and Tamil Nadu Theatre Owners Chief Tirupur Subramanyam, multi-starrer projects offer value for money. “When you look at a film like Baahubali, it brought together fans of both of its stars Prabhas and Rana. Rajamouli also enjoys a good fan base and people thronged to cinemas to watch the movie for him. When you have a good combination of actors and a well-known director backed by a good script, multi-starrers work out economically well and offer true value for money. When it comes to a single star project, no hero can draw audiences after the first two days unless the film is extremely good. One of the best examples of a successful multi-starrer in recent times is Vikram Vedha, which worked due to its lead stars and a great story.”

Baahubali

Baahubali

Vikram Vedha, featuring R Madhavan and Vijay Sethupathi in the lead, emerged as one of the most successful Tamil films of last year. Its director Pushkar observes that by roping in Madhavan and Vijay Sethupathi they could market their film easily. “After we signed Vijay, we wanted an actor who could match his performance. We didn’t rope in Madhavan because he’s a star but because he’s a real performer in true sense. When he heard the story, he immediately came on board. Although we never intentionally tried to cash in on the popularity of Madhavan and Vijay, it helped us attract the trade with the combo. The fact that they were going to be pitted against each other really piqued the interest of the audiences and distributors,” recalls Pushkar, who is gearing up to remake the film in Hindi.

Producer DVV Danayya, who is bankrolling Rajamouli’s next project, says multi-starrers make sense economically, but are quite challenging to pull off. “When you’re working with multiple stars, coordinating between them can sometimes become quite arduous. With Rajamouli on board for my next project, I don’t have to worry because he will take care of everything.” Explaining how economically it is beneficial to make a multi-starrer, he said: “Firstly, audiences are paying the price of a single ticket to watch multiple stars on screen. This way, it’s easier to take a multi-starrer project to the audiences. Secondly, they are easier to market because the film is being shouldered by not just one star. In case of my next film, audiences will come because it features Ram Charan, NTR as well as Rajamouli.”

For director Sriram Aditya’s next Telugu outing Akkineni, Nagarjuna and Nani have joined hands for the first time. Sriram is not new to multi-starrers. In fact, his last directorial, Shamanthakamani, featured four popular Telugu heroes in the lead. Asked if he has any fascination for multi-starrer projects, he said, “I go by what the script demands. Shamanthakamani is the kind of project that has scope for all the heroes; otherwise they wouldn’t even have signed the film. The same applies to this project as well.”

Varun Tej and Venkatesh are teaming up for Ani Ravipudi’s F2 – Fun and Frustration. Slated to go on the floors from July, Varun said multi-starrers can bring unity among fans of the actors. “Today, there’s unnecessary hatred between fans of actors across industries. If a multi-starrer project brings together two big stars of an industry, it automatically brings their fans together as well. I’m really excited about teaming up with Venkatesh.”

Updated Date: May 13, 2018 13:20 PM