What is the one movie you regret not watching in theatres? One movie for which you would risk turning the clock back just to experience it on the big screen? Some Chennai theatres are looking to fulfill just this very wish!
GK Cinemas in Porur, Chennai will be playing from a selection of underrated films from Tamil cinema on Tuesdays and Sundays exclusives on their screens. Speaking to TNM Ruban, MD of GK Cinemas, says, “We originally intended to start this ‘playback’ idea two years ago. Back then we were into expansion and so couldn’t concentrate much on this.”
But they, in fact, got to screen Dhanush’s Pudhupettai two years ago and the response was massive.
“People had come from Madurai and Trichy to watch it. Based on demand, we even increased the shows,” he says.
Film lovers will now be able to watch Karthi-Selvaraghavan’s historical adventure Aayirathil Oruvan on March 5 on the big screen, right in time for the director's birthday. While the theatre owners had originally planned for one show, at 10.15 pm, based on popular demand, tickets will be available for 6.30 pm as well.
GK Cinemas will also bring back the cult hit Pudhupettai that’ll play at 9.00 am on March 10 and at 10.15 pm on March 12.
“We also have plans to play Paruthiveeran, Varanam Aayiram, Polladhavan, Aaranya Kaandam and Kattradhu Tamizh. The films are usually decided upon after discussing with friends and film lovers. We mainly want to bring back cult films that did not do well at the box office back in the day,” says Ruban, adding “We definitely want to screen Aaranya Kaandam before Super Deluxe releases. We are trying very hard for that.”
He tells us that theatre owners will have to get the producer’s permission before choosing to play their film in their theatres, which can also be a challenge sometimes.
Vettri Cinemas in Chennai too has planned for its fair share of throwback films, an experiment they tried for the first time in January 2016.
“We released Vijay’s Kaththi just before Pongal because the star had no release that year and fans were asking for it. That was the first time we played an old movie in our theatres. Before that, we released old films probably because it was the star’s birthday,” says Rakesh Gowthaman, MD of Vettri Cinemas.
But Rakesh’s idea of a throwback is entirely focussed on giving the audience a better viewing experience, one which they must have missed out due to lack of advanced technology in projection systems.
“We recently installed laser projection at our theatres, the first in the country to launch the Christie brand laser projector. The projection quality of all the films have been outstanding since. So our main idea of throwback is to give the audience a chance to watch films like they ideally should have,” says Rakesh.
Therefore, following a vote, Vettri Cinemas screened Batman, Dark Knight, Gravity and Interstellar earlier this month.
“We picked two 2D films and two 3D films. The content was also in 4K video quality. Usually in Tamil cinema, we only get films in 2K versions except for the recent Petta and Sarkar. So when such Hollywood films released, we might have not seen them as they were intended for,” he explains.
Their choice of Pudhupettai too falls under this category. “Pudhupettai was the first film to be released in digital version and it was shot using Super 35 mm camera, a feat that was achieved for the first time in Tamil cinema back then. It was also unfortunate that this film did not do well at all when it released. It was probably advanced for its time. Now, I can see people raging for such films,” he points out.
Check this out, #Dhanush #Yuvan & #Selva Fans ... It’s Happening #Vettri will be screening the evolution of Raw Cult Cinema in Kollywood ...#Pudhupettai on Sunday & Tuesday !!!— Rakesh Gowthaman (@VettriTheatres) February 27, 2019
A @selvaraghavan B’day Spl @thisisysr @dhanushkraja pic.twitter.com/mxS9vKAovv
He further adds that Thiagarajan Kumararaja’s Aaranya Kaandam, when it released, did not live long to see the light.
“I know for a fact that the film ran only for 4 days in my theatre. I had to remove it because not many came. But now things are different. People would love to watch the film. We too are trying to screen it soon,” he shares.
Vettri Cinemas will also take audiences through a refresher course on the Avenger series. “We’ll play all Avenger films before the
releases,” he adds.
Rakesh lets us in on a secret. “February-March is the dullest period in business for us, given that it is the end of the financial year and also the season for exams. I thought this might be the right time to bring in throwbacks, a kind of a treat for our audience,” he smiles.
You can follow GK Cinemas and Vettri Cinemas on Twitter to stay updated on their movie schedules.