Kollywood's new trend: Actors now team up with established producers rather than bankrolling their own projects
Kollywood trade pundits say when actors produce their own films, they shouldn’t be over ambitious and stop spending too much on the remuneration of big actors and technicians. Instead, they should smartly focus on strong storylines.
It was only a few years ago that the Tamil film stars forayed into production. Everyone thought that following Bollywood, the bug has caught the Tamil film industry too; the trade pundits also considered it as a healthy move.
Initially, things went well for all these actors turned producers. Dhanush’s Wunderbar Films produced a series of hits including Ethir Neechal, Velailla Pattadhari (starring Dhanush himself), Kaaki Sattai, Kaaka Muttai and Naanum Rowdy Dhaan. While the small-budget films helped Dhanush to mint profits, movies featuring him in the lead actually incurred huge losses. Films like Maari, Maari 2, Vada Chennai, Velailla Pattadhari 2 and the most anticipated Kaala, starring Rajinikanth, were massive failures for Wunderbar Films.
Currently, Dhanush has stopped all his production ventures and started acting in films bankrolled by established producers. The National Award-winning actor’s upcoming film Asuran with Vetrimaaran is being funded by veteran producer Kalaipuli S Thanu. Dhanush has also signed a three-film deal with Viswasam producer Sathya Jyothi Films’ Thiagarajan. Sources say that Dhanush signed three films with Sathya Jyothi Films to offset the losses incurred by their previous combination, Thodari. The production house locked directors RS Durai Senthilkumar (Kodi) and Ram Kumar (Ratsasan) to helm two of the three films with the actor.
Sasikumar forayed into Kollywood with the celebrated gangster drama Subramaniapuram; he directed, acted and produced the film. The massive success of Subramaniapuram helped Sasikumar to produce many films including Pasanga, Easan, Porali and Sundarapandian. Among these four films, Sundarapandian was a super hit and Pasanga did good business. Things progressed smoothly until Sasikumar produced Thaarai Thappattai directed by his mentor Bala. The film cost him a bomb but Sasikumar went on to produce more films including Kidaari, Balle Vellaiyathevaa and Kodiveeran. Unfortunately, all three films bombed at the box office. Since then, he has opted out of producing his films. All his upcoming films including Nadodigal 2, Kombu Vacha Singamada and Kennedy Club are being funded by other producers.
Music composer Vijay Antony debuted as a hero with his production ventures like Naan, Salim and India Pakistan. Antony’s Pichaikkaran was a phenomenal blockbuster which led everyone to think that his future films would also fetch massive profits. Unfortunately, all his anticipated projects tanked at the box office. Antony has now decided to stop producing his own films and signed a series of films like Kolaigaaran, Agni Siragugal, Thamilarasan and Kaaki with other producers.
Sivakarthikeyan who closely worked with RD Raja’s 24AM Studios in films like Remo and Velaikkaran has moved out of the production house after the box-office dud Seema Raja. Other than his long-pending sci-fi film with Ravikumar, all other upcoming films — including Mr. Local, Hero with Irumbuthirai director PS Mithran, an untitled rural entertainer with Pandiraj and another untitled film with Vignesh ShivN — are produced by leading production houses like Studio Green, KJR Studios, Sun Pictures and Lyca.
Reliable sources suggest that following the success of his debut production venture Kanaa, Siva has decided to produce his own films in future. And, as a first step, he is all set to produce his new film with Kolamaavu Kokila director Nelson in 2020.
Suriya’s 2D Entertainment also faced a huge loss with the box-office failure of the magnum opus 24 but the consecutive success of their small and medium-budget films like Magalir Mattum and Kadai Kutty Singam saved them to an extent. With two consecutive hits, Suriya has also gained the confidence to produce his next film — a biopic on Air Deccan founder GR Gopinath.
Kollywood trade pundits say when actors produce their own films, they shouldn’t be over ambitious and stop spending too much on the remuneration of big actors and technicians. Instead, actors should smartly focus on strong storylines because, in the past, many legendary actors including Savitri and Chandrababu bankrupted because of their lavish expenditure while making films. Kamal Haasan has also lost a lot of money in films like Marudhanayagam, Hey Ram and many other ambitious projects, whereas his professional rival Rajinikanth who safely worked with professional producers is financially stronger and powerful. As a matter of fact, it was Rajinikanth who advised his co-actor Sasikumar in Petta to stop producing films and earn more money before getting back to production again. The other two leading Tamil stars who have been staying out of production are Vijay and Ajith because the strategy of working with comfortable producers has actually been helping them big time; they are also free from needless financial pressure.
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