NGK may play a crucial role in reinstating Suriya in the same league as Rajinikanth, Ajith and Vijay
If NGK does well, the Tamil Nadu Theatre & Multiplexes Owners Association may upgrade Suriya to Tier-1, depending on its box office performance.
The Selvaraghavan-directed NGK, short form for Nandha Gopalan Kumaran releasing worldwide Friday on 31 May, is one of the most important films in Suriya’s career. NGK in Tamil, and with a Telugu dubbed version, is a thriller about a man who climbs up the political ladder from the grassroots level and the difficulties he faces to reach the top.
The NGK pre-release reports are positive. The film shows Suriya in different shades, and the narration is said to be intense and gritty. For Suriya, it is a prestige film as he has pressure to deliver a hit, since the superstar is going through a difficult phase in his career. His last two films – Singam 3 (2017) and Thaanaa Serandha Kootam (2018) have been lukewarm at the box office. The actor needs a big hit that will once again place him in the top bracket among South Indian heroes.
NGK releases at a time when Tamil Nadu Theatre & Multiplexes Owners Association has decided to put top stars in different brackets like Tier-1, 2 and 3, according to their theatre revenue share. In Tier-1, only Rajinikanth, Vijay and Ajith have been featured, while Suriya has been put in the Tier-2 category. Now, if NGK does well, the trade may upgrade him to Tier-1, depending on how big the film turns out to be at the box office.
The trade feels Suriya has the potential if he chooses his scripts with a little more care. At the moment, Suriya, after the release of NGK, has two more releases coming up in the next eight months. First of these releases would be the action multi-starrer Kaappaan, directed by KV Anand, who gave him the big hit Ayan. The film, slated for a release on a 31 August, has Suriya play an SPG officer protecting the prime minister (played by Mohanlal) and also has Arya, Samuthirakani and Boman Irani play important roles. Currently, Suriya is shooting for the biopic Soorarai Pottru, directed by Sudha Kongara. The film is produced by Suriya’s 2D Entertainment in association with noted Bollywood producer Guneet Monga's Sikhya Entertainment (The Lunchbox, Peddlers, Gangs Of Wasseyapur, Masaan etc). The film is a biopic of Air Deccan founder GR Gopinath.
Speaking on NGK in a media interaction during the promotion of the film, Suriya said, “I’m a big fan of Selvaraghavan and wanted to act in a film directed by him. Now, after 18 years, I have got the chance with NGK. The film has been a journey for more than two years. Selva came to me with three story ideas but I found that he was more excited about NGK and its characterisation. Hence, we decided to go ahead with this film. I believe NGK will be a turning point in my career and has the potential to be a hit.”
Suriya feels that the character he plays in the film is totally different from the ones he has portrayed in his earlier films and there is a correct balance between mass appeal and the intense Selvaraghavan brand of cinema. The entire trade is looking at the opening NGK will take, as the recent crop of Tamil summer releases, except Kanchana 3, have bombed at the box office. Suriya has a huge fan base in South India, cutting across regions. For NGK, Tiruppur Suriya Fans association has erected the "world's largest cutout" of their star, which stands at a whopping 215 feet. The cutout features a veshti-clad Suriya, holding a flaming torch in his right hand.
A lot is riding on NGK for Suriya, the actor and the star.
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