S3 release delayed, Kollywood scrambles to fill Christmas box office slot vacated by Suriya
With Suriya's S3 — targeted at the mass audiences in B and C stations of Tamil Nadu — postponing its release, other films have stepped in to fill the void in Kollywood
The postponement of Suriya’s S3 as the big Christmas release on 23 December, has been a setback for Kollywood, which is still to recover from the twin hits of demonetisation and Cyclone Vardah. Once it became clear that S3 — targeted at the mass audiences in B and C stations of Tamil Nadu — will not release, other films stepped in to fill the void.
Among these, Vishal’s Kaththi Sandai and Sasikumar’s Balle Vellaiya Thevaa (BVT) are the only two major Christmas releases. A small film — SV Sekhar’s Manal Kayiru 2, a sequel to his 1982 comedy drama — is also releasing. A lot is riding on Kaththi Sandai and BVT to revive the market, especially in small towns and markets in Tamil Nadu.
Kaththti Sandai brings back comedy king Vadivelu back to the screen after a hiatus. Now most jokes and memes in the state — be it about politics or cinema — feature Vadivelu. Vishal, cashing in on the postponement of S3, advanced the release of Kaththi Sandai, which was previously scheduled for a Pongal release. Vishal said, “I think Christmas holidays are the ideal time to release a fun entertainer like Kaththi Sandai, which also has Vadivelu making a comeback. He is sure to bring the house down and all distributors feel he will bring the audiences — especially in smaller towns and villages — back to theatres. We are hoping that the film will attract all classes of audiences, despite demonetisation and other factors.”
Balle Vellaiya Thevaa, the Sasikumar film, is also a mass comedy entertainer, with Tamil cinema’s top female comedian Kovai Sarala playing a pivotal role. Sasikumar said, "BVT is a relaxing, fun ride for family audiences. Kovai Sarala is more like the lead actor in this comedy riot; she plays a village grandmother obsessed with taking selfies. I also want to show how Facebook and Whatsapp have reached our villages.”
The industry has been going through troubled times ever since demonetisation ate into box-office collections. The Tamil film business has always been a 'cash and carry' one and cards are used only in 10 percent of screens — mainly the multiplexes in the 3Cs (Chennai and its suburbs in Chengalpet area, and Coimbatore city). In the last two months after Diwali, the box-office had virtually crashed, with only Vijay Antony’s Saithan and the Venkat Prabhu directed Chennai 28- II, doing some business.
Now, these Christmas releases are targeting the mass rural audiences and the industry is hoping that at least one of these films will bring back the sheen to the Tamil film trade.
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