Cyclone Vardah hits Kollywood: After demonetisation, Jayalalithaa death, industry hit by new storm

Sreedhar Pillai

Dec 13, 2016 18:32:49 IST

Kollywood has been badly hit by Cyclone Vardah, which made landfall in Chennai on Monday (12 December) afternoon.

Cyclone Vardah hits Kollywood: After demonetisation, Jayalalithaa death, industry hit by new storm

Impact of Vardah. File photo

The effect on Kollywood was immediate, as shooting in and around Chennai was stopped and almost all theatres shut down on Monday and Tuesday. Producer PL Thenappan said, "We had stopped all shoots on Monday fearing Vardah, but today nobody turned up, there is no power and roads are blocked due to falling of trees."

The bad news is that cinema theatres in Chennai and especially in the suburban Chengalpet districts have been shut down for the last two days due to the cyclone. And it will take days for these theatres to reach some level of occupancy when they open, due to audience apathy.

Kollywood has been facing one crisis after another for the past one month. First demonetisation caused a major blow, as Kollywood is basically a 'cash and carry' industry. Nearly 90 percent of the 1200-odd screens in Tamil Nadu do not have online booking, and 60 to 70 percent of film production is on cash.

And the passing away of Jayalalithaa has caused a pall of gloom to descend in the industry. The former Chief Minister ruled Kollywood with an iron hand, and called the shots. Now the new Chief Minister O Paneerselvam (popularly known as OPS) is an outsider, who has no connection with the industry. The film industry in Tamil Nadu — mainly, the actors' association Nadigar Sangam and the Producers' Council — are riven with factions and have been at each other's throat. Now the new regime will take some time to come to grips with the situation.

Meanwhile, new Tamil releases ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced his demonetisation drive, have not been able to create any noise at the box office. Audiences have just stopped coming to cinemas and weekends, which normally see 80 to 100 percent collections — have seen only 40 to 50 percent occupancy. Last Friday's big release Chennai 600028 II which got rave reviews and a decent opening on day one is now struggling due to all the three factors mentioned here: demonetisation, the aftermath of Jaya's demise and cyclone Vardah.

Updated Date: Dec 13, 2016 18:32:49 IST