Rajinikanth cautions Tamil film industry at Neruppu Da launch: What the superstar had to say
Superstar Rajinikanth asked producers to ensure their films were viable for all parties involved, and exhorted exhibitors not to buy into a film's hype when paying for its rights.
The audio launch of Vikram Prabhu's Neruppu Da is in the news — but not for reasons entirely connected with the film itself.
It was an address by superstar Rajinikanth that grabbed attention.
Rajinikanth, who was a special guest at the launch event, made his remarks to the film trade and critics, which have gone viral.
The launch itself was a glitzy affair with the most powerful people in Kollywood taking part. That's hardly surprising since Vikram Prabhu is the grandson of the legendary actor Sivaji Ganesan; and his father Prabhu is still a popular actor.
Vikram had launched his own production house — First Artist — and is one of the producers of Neruppu Da . The film's title is inspired from the hit song of the same name in Rajinikanth’s Kabali. Rajinikanth was a great admirer of Sivaji Ganesan and is also a close family friend of the screen icon's sons Ramkumar and Prabhu. The audio launch was held at his Ganesan’s palatial bungalow 'Annai Illam' in the T Nagar area in the heart of Chennai city. Apart from Rajinikanth, stars like Dhanush, Sathyaraj, Vishal, Vivek, Karthi, Sivakarthikeyan and Dulquer Salmaan were also present to wish Vikram Prabhu.
And apart from launching the Nerrupu Da audio, there was definitely something serious on the agenda — how online reviews are seriously damaging box office collections.
Speaking at the event, the Tamil Film Producer Council president and Nadigar Sangam secretary Vishal brought it up when he said to the press present, “I humbly request reviewers to give some breathing space to films. There are some online reviewers who rip apart all films on social media. Everyone can register their opinions but do publish three days after a film's theatrical release. The media is also part of the film fraternity. I hope you understand that so much hard work and pain goes into the making of a film.”
Taking the cue, speaker after speaker at the function talked about the issue. And Rajinikanth endorsed the unanimous view and said: “Making films is our job and reviewing them is the media’s job but there should be a right way of communication. There is nothing wrong in an honest review, but it should be done without hurting anyone’s feelings.”
Rajinikanth also cautioned the trade and told the producers to sell their films at reasonable price so that profits would be in everyone's reach. He advised distributors and theatre owners to not be swayed by the hype and hoopla created by a producer around his/her film. “A producer should make films by keeping everyone in the trade associated with the film’s business. All parties associated with you should earn profits, don’t be self-centric and sell films at unrealistic price. And those who buy films at an unreasonable price due to promotional gimmicks should be careful and not blame others for your losses at a later stage," Rajinikanth added.
However the superstar did not address Tamil cinema’s star system and the high salaries demanded by leading actors. The astronomical salaries demanded by actors without looking at return on investment (ROI) is one of the major reasons for the failure of a film.
Take for instance, Rajinikanth’s films like Lingaa and Kabali, which were sold by their producers at an amount which could not be recovered from the market. The stars themselves — due to their high salaries and king-size egos — are also responsible for increasing the selling price of a film. And of late, big stars do not want to work with veteran producers who understand the market conditions, as they fear having to take a salary cut. Today there are many new producers and distributors who get into the film business lured by its glitz and glamour — and unaware of its ground realities.
And as far as reviews are concerned, it will be well nigh impossible to stop online reviews. Many reviewers now post live first day, first show updates on social media. It is not only established media houses but also individuals who do these live reviews. If Vishal has any plans to stop people from giving reviews, it will backfire. He should instead concentrate his energy on piracy as illegal streaming on torrent sites and Facebook lives of new films are taking place minutes after their commercial release.