The Tamil film industry has come to a screeching halt. The producers’ council first called for a strike over the rates charged by the Digital Service Providers (DSPs). While this protest was a decision taken by all four south Indian film industries, it’s only the Tamil industry which has refused to reconcile with the new terms offered by the DSPs.
Following this turn of events, theatre owners in Tamil Nadu announced an indefinite strike starting March 16 over the local body tax and the government’s rules regarding seating, license renewal and theatre maintenance. Only theatres in Chennai and a few screens outside the city are open but the majority are shut.
That’s not all. The producers’ council upped the ante by declaring that there will be no shooting schedules from March 16. While some producers who are shooting outside the state have been given permission to do so till March 23, all others have been asked to stop.
Several films lined up for the summer are stuck because of the ongoing strikes in the industry, including Rajinikanth's Kaala, which is scheduled for an April 27 release. Currently, it’s exam season, a time when footfalls are low in theatres. However, since the films which were to have released in March have now been pushed, producers will demand that their films be given priority over the scheduled April releases.
Already, small producers in the Tamil industry have expressed their discontent over how the producers’ council resolves issues before big film releases at the cost of their films.
Here’s a look at some of the summer releases which may have to find new dates.
Irumbu Thirai: Originally scheduled to release on March 29, the film stars Vishal, Arjun, and Samantha. Directed by Mithran, the film is reportedly an action flick that deals with technology. A viral clip from the shooting spot of the film, which showed Vishal with piles of currency, did the rounds on social media a while ago.
Irumbu Thirai has been produced by Vishal Film Factory and is among the summer’s highly anticipated flicks.
Imaikaa Nodigal: Starring Atharvaa, Nayanthara, Raashi Khanna and Anurag Kashyap, this thriller was also supposed to have released towards the end of March. Directed by Ajay Gnanamuthu, who made the horror film Demonte Colony, the film has been produced by Cameo Films India.
The teaser of Imaikaa Nodigal revealed that Nayanthara would be playing a CBI officer who is challenged by a ruthless criminal.
Tik Tik Tik: India’s first space film, this Jayam Ravi starrer was supposed to release initially for the Republic Day weekend in January. However, the film, which also stars Nivetha Pethuraj and Aaron Aziz, was postponed just two days before its original release date.
Directed by Shakti Soundar Rajan, the film was then expected to release in February. However, the team announced that Tik Tik Tik would hit the screens on April 12. The ongoing strike may well throw a spanner in the works and end up in the film getting postponed again.
Bhaskar Oru Rascal: A remake of Malayalam director Siddique’s Bhaskar the Rascal, this Arvind Swamy-Amala Paul starrer about two single parents was supposed to release for Pongal this year. However, there were too many films releasing for the much coveted dates and the makers decided to bow out of the race.
Having lost out in January, the film was expected to release either in February or March. But considering the long line of films waiting to hit the screens, the film may well be pushed further.
Semma: This comedy starring GV Prakash and Arthana Binu in lead roles has been directed by Valliganth. It was initially expected to release on March 27 but may now be postponed.
The song 'Sandalee' from the film has gone on to become a hit. GV Prakash has also composed the music for the film, apart from acting in it.
Pariyerum Perumal: Director Pa Ranjith’s first full length feature film production, this film directed by Mari Selvaraj has Kathir and Anandhi in lead roles. The promos of the film so far have been very quirky, especially the Karuppi song with its stark picturisation.
Set in the Tirunelveli-Thoothukudi region, the film has music by Santhosh Narayanan and was expected to release in March.
Goli Soda 2: The prequel to the 2015 Vijay Milton film Goli Soda, the film was expected to release on March 29. The film stars Chemban Vinod Jose, Rohini, Subhiksha, Samuthirakani and others, with Gautham Menon playing a supporting role.
The first Goli Soda revolved on the lives of four young boys. It did not have a big opening but went on to become a hit and win critical acclaim.
Kee: Described as a sci-fic psychological thriller, Kee stars Jiiva, Nikki Galrani and Anaika Soti. The film has been directed by Kalees, who worked with Selvaraghavan as an assistant director. Kee was supposed to release on 28 February but was postponed to March 30.
Now, however, there may be further delay in the film hitting the screens. The film is about the dark side of the web and the promos had even mentioned the Blue Whale game, which had created an uproar all around the world.
Mercury: Karthik Subbaraj's thriller, which has been promoted as a film without any languages, is supposed to release on April 13. The director, who shot to fame with Pizza, is known for delivering original thrillers and although the teaser of Mercury reminded people of Don't Breathe, it has managed to evoke a lot of curiosity.
Starring Prabhu Deva, who appears to be a visually impaired man, Mercury also stars Sananth Reddy, Deepak Paramesh, Anish Padman, Shashank and Remya Nambeesan.
Industry trackers say that there are over 30 Tamil films waiting to be released. With no resolution in sight for the crisis, the Tamil film industry is likely to be hit badly by the uncertainty.