With Thamaasha, Thottappan, Children's Park and Virus, Malayalam cinema braces for big Eid weekend

Sreedhar Pillai

Jun 05, 2019 08:40:57 IST

Theatres in Kerala are bracing up for the big Eid weekend. This year, Eid falls on Wednesday (5 June), and it's a public holiday in the state. For Malayalam cinema, Eid is the second biggest festival after Onam box-office wise. This year, five Malayalam films from different genres were supposed to release for Eid – Mammootty’s Unda, Thottappan, Thamasha, Children's Park and Virus. However, the latest we hear is that due to censor certification issues, Unda has been pushed by a week.

With Thamaasha, Thottappan, Childrens Park and Virus, Malayalam cinema braces for big Eid weekend

Thamasha, Thottappan, Children's Park and Virus are all releasing this Eid season. Images via Twitter

After many years it will be the first Ramzan (Eid) without a film from superstars, Mammootty and Mohanlal. Like Hindi cinema, traditionally Malayalam films normally do not release during the Roza period (Ramzan fasting) with some theatres in Malabar area screening only evening and night shows. Since the Ramzan fasting period started early in the first week of May, there were not many big Malayalam releases despite being peak summer season. The lone big release, Shane Nigam’s Ishq, turned out to be an average grosser, as collections in Malabar area were poor.

Kerala film trade is divided into three areas – Malabar, Kochi and Travancore, with 35 to 40 percent box-office collections coming from the predominantly Muslim area of Malabar. In Malayalam cinema right from its early days, if a film had to be a super hit, it had to perform in Malabar which lent credence to the belief that Muslims form the bulk of the audiences. So over the years during Ramzan fasting period, there weren't any major Malayalam releases. Malabar has also the highest number of single screens in the state, with multiplexes situated in Kochi and Trivandrum.

This Eid season is likely to boost the footfalls in Kerala screens with five Malayalam releases and a Hindi biggie Bharat. Salman Khan draws huge audiences in Kerala. Meanwhile Mammootty’s Unda which was to release on 5 June has been postponed due to censor board issues. A person had gone to Kerala High Court demanding a ban on the film, as it was shot in a reserve forest without getting the permission of the Kerala government under whose jurisdiction the forest falls. The High Court referred the matter to the CBFC, which will soon take a decision on it.

And for the first time the Malayalam releases for Eid are from different genres, with comparatively new stars and technicians. In a way, the trade is analysing whether the audiences will accept new ideas for a festival season known for big hero mass films.

Here are the four films and what they are likely to offer

1. Thamaasha

A still from Thamaasha

A still from Thamaasha

Starring: Vinay Fort, Divya Prabha

Genre: Comedy (and light-hearted romance set against college milieu)

Director: Ashraf Hamza

USP: Being produced by four well known personalities in Malayalam film industry – director Lijo Jose Pellissery  (Angamali Diaries), noted actor Chemban Vinod, ace camera men Sameer Thahir and Shyju Khalid

Release date: 5 June

2. Thottappan

A still from Thottappan

A still from Thottappan

Starring: Vinayakan, Lal, Manoj K Jayan, Dileesh Pothan, Priyamvada

Genre: Drama (Based on Francis Noronha’s eponymous novel about father and his daughter  set against a political milieu)

Director: Shanavas Bavakutty (his second film after Shane Nigam hit Kismat)

USP: Vinayakan turns hero for the first time. Vinayakan a left sympathiser has been trolled for his anti- RSS and BJP views and FB postings

Release date: 5 June

3. Children’s Park

A still from Children's Park

A still from Children's Park

Starring: Vishnu Unnikrishnan, Druvan, Sharafuddin, Gayatri  and 100’s of child artists

Genre: Slapstick comedy

Directors: Shafi and Rafi

USP: The tagline says – "Story of 3 idiots", and the trailer sure teases a fun ride.

Release date: 6 June

4.  Virus

A poster promo for Virus

A poster promo for Virus

Starring: Kunchacko Boban, Asif Ali, Tovino Thomas, Revathi, Parvathy Thiruvoth, Rima Kallingal, Rahman.

Genre: Medical thriller (based on a true story)

Director: Aashique Abu

USP: The film tracks the real life incident on the deadly 2018 Nipah virus outbreak in Kozhikode district of Kerala. The trailer looks stunning, and the film releases amid reports of a fresh suspected Nipah outbreak in Kerala.

Release date: 7 June

Updated Date: Jun 05, 2019 08:40:57 IST