Is Rajinikanth’s Lingaa a box office turkey?
Notwithstanding the nationwide hype and fan hysteria, Tamil superstar Rajinikanth’s Lingaa is turning out to be dud at the box office. The film seems to have fallen flat within a week of its release and might go on to become one of the big time flops of the actor.
Although the industry is still tightlipped about the fate of the movie, with director KS Ravikumar responding only to critical remarks, many distributors in Tamil Nadu who bought Lingaa at hefty prices have declared openly that they have lost a lot of money. They met in Chennai and wanted the superstar to refund the losses. Apparently collections in other states are also bad.
In a video by a Youtube Tamil channel, one of the distributors said that the film failed to collect even 20 per cent of their investment. Among the reasons for the failure, he singled out the excessive hype that led to higher prices for distribution rights. The decision to release the movie on the actor’s birth day was a bad strategy because it was the season for half-yearly examinations in schools. The distributors were unanimous that they would suffer heavy losses and would have to refund the theatres who had advanced big amounts of money to procure the theatrical rights.
The distributors’ demand stems from the fact that Rajini had refunded them when his movies such as Baba (2002) and Kuselan (2008) failed at the box office. It was a tradition of trust and minimum guarantee that Rajini had started, because he always had the option of doing another film and recoup the losses. But at 64, with two failures in a row, the prospects of another full fledged entertainer is really bleak.
According to industry sources, the compulsion to do Linga itself came from the failure of his previous film, Kochadaiyaan, which was a big budget animation flick. The movie was a complete let down for his fans and it sank, both critically and commercially. The film’s failure even became a headache for the superstar’s family with a police case filed against his wife for financial fraud. In fact Kochadaiyaan itself was an unsuccessful rescue plan for an aborted animation misadventure that was in the pipeline for ever.
To make up for Kochadaiyaan, Rajini’s plan was to do a quickie with director KS Ravi Kumar, a highly accomplished master of commercial cinema in Tamil. There was enormous hype around the movie because the actor was facing the arc light after he was grounded by ill health for a long time. He was not in great health and no spring chicken, but still went for the time-tested and demanding formula of song, dance and action tied together by his unique style.
The movie, compared to other Rajini flicks, is not bad, but somewhere it failed to connect. Is it because of excessive exploitation of his brand, or the changing demography of movie goes in the state? Some suggest that the original Rajini fans have become older and have become family men who might now prefer family stories. Another possibility is that the old formula looks jaded in front of imaginative content and newer forms of narration that new breed of commercial directors dish out.
Anyway, Rajini will have a tough time ahead. If he refuses to compensate for the reported losses of the distributors, his long held legend of benevolence will take a hit. On the other hand, if he agrees to help them by doing another film, the risk of yet another failure will be a nagging worry.
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Updated Date: Dec 20, 2014 13:19:52 IST