Thaanaa Serndha Koottam, Sketch among five Kollywood films vying for biggest Pongal release
This year, five films — Thaanaa Serndha Koottam, Sketch, Gulaebaghavali, Kalakalappu 2 and Madura Veeran — are vying to get the biggest Pongal release
Traditionally, Pongal in mid-January is the biggest festival in Tamil Nadu. The festival marking the harvest and thanksgiving season is also Kollywood’s biggest release day calendar. In the '80s & '90s, nearly a dozen films would release on the Pongal weekend, which has now come down to three or four.
Pongal 2018 promises to be exciting for Tamil cinema, as the festival weekend starts on 12 January with a series of holidays lined up to 17 January. The box-office is sure going to boom as some star driven films are getting ready for release. As of now, the following films have announced a Pongal release — Suriya’s Thaanaa Serndha Koottam, Vikram’s Sketch, Prabhu Deva’s Gulaebaghavali, multi-starrer Kalakalappu 2 and Vijaykanth’s son Shanmughapandian’s Madura Veeran.
There is huge tension among the producers and stars over five big to medium films trying to release simultaneously on the Pongal weekend. A spokesperson for the Tamil Film Producers Council (TFPC) says: "There are not enough screens for all five films to release on the same day. The business will get divided. Before 2000 it was possible, as a big film release was not as wide as it is today. At the most, three big films can squeeze in for the Pongal weekend, but definitely not five."
Let's take a look at the five films that have lined up for a Pongal release. The biggest of the lot is Suriya’s Thaanaa Serndha Koottam. Directed by Vignesh Sivan and the film's music has been composed by Anirudh. The supporting cast comprises veteran actor Karthik, Ramya Krishnan, Keerthi Suresh and others. The heist comedy entertainer produced by Studio Green and KE Gnanavelraja is said to be based on Akshay Kumar’s Special 26. TSK — as it is popularly called — has Suriya’s star power as its USP. The testament to the film's popularity is the teaser, which has gone viral.
Vikram and Tamannaah Bhatia's action entertainer Sketch is directed by Vijay Chander with Moving Frame and leading producer Kalaipuli S Thanu (Kabali, VIP2 ) backing the project. Vikram’s last release Iru Mugan (2016) was a hit and his combination with market guru Thanu, will give Sketch the required push.
Gulaebaghavali has Prabhu Deva making a comeback as a hero after many years. He will be seen opposite Hansika, whom he launched in Tamil cinema, with his 2011 directorial Engeyum Kathal. The film directed by Kalyaan is said to be a musical love story with score by Vivek-Mervin.
Kalakalappu 2 is a slapstick comedy and a sequel to the first part, which was released in 2012. The film is directed by Sundar C and has an ensemble cast comprising of Jiiva, Jai, Siva, Nikki Galrani and Catherine Tressa. The music has been given by Hip Hop Thamizha. Khushboo Sundar’s Avni Cinemax is producing the outing.
Madura Veeran is a rural mass entertainer based on Jallikattu (bull fight). It will see Vijaykanth’s son Shanmughapandian, trying to emulate his father’s success in playing rural characters and is directed by PG Muthiah. The film has Meenakshi as the female lead along with Samuthirakani, Vela Ramamurthy Mime Gopi in supporting roles.
Now, will all the five films release on Pongal? Trade reports say that only two or three will make it to the screens during that time. There are currently around 1,162 screens in Tamil Nadu, out of which 950 to 1000 are fit for new releases. Today, films get wide releases across the globe, as 85 to 90 per cent of a film’s theatrical collections come during the first week of its release. Given the present situation, if a star-powered film manages to get released in 450-500 screens in Tamil Nadu, smaller films will probably get about 150-200 screens, depending on the clout of the distributor.
A no-holds-barred battle is now going on between the distributors of the Pongal films for a lion’s share of the screens and number of shows. With all five films boasting of impressive credentials, it could well turn out, that no single film gets an all-important opening. The battle for Pongal is getting bigger by the day.
Gulaebaghavali is a dark horse amid other two Pongal releases – Suriya’s Thaanaa Serndha Koottam and Vikram’s Sketch – which are driven by star power.
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