Kerala’s Minister for Culture Saji Cherian announced on Thursday, November 11 that actor Mohanlal’s much-anticipated movie Marakkar: Arabikkadalinte Simham will be releasing in theatres on December 2. The announcement from the minister comes days after the producer of the big-budget period drama, Antony Perumbavoor, announced that the film will be premiering on an over-the-top (OTT) platform.
The minister revealed that the decision was arrived at after holding a meeting with representatives from the film producers’ association and Antony Perumbavoor. Earlier the makers of Marakkar opted for a direct OTT-release as they were unable to come to a consensus with theatres’ associations. At a press meet held on November 5, the producer had confirmed that the film would be releasing on OTT. Marakkar: Arabikkadalinte Simham is produced by Antony’s Perumbavoor’s Aashirvad Cinemas, Santhosh T Kuruvilla’s Confident Group and CJ Roy’s Moonshot Entertainment.
“The expense incurred for the movie prompted producer Antony Perumbavoor to announce that the movie will be released on OTT. But considering how it would affect workers of the Malayalam film industry and theatre associations, he has agreed to release the film in theatres,” minister Saji Cherian said on Thursday. Noting that director Priyadarshan and actor Mohanlal supported the decision to release Marakkar in theatres, Saji Cherian also added, “If everyone opts for OTT releases, the Malayalam film fraternity would be adversely affected. The government has taken a stand that will unite all the stakeholders.”
In June, a verbal agreement had been reached between the Film Exhibitors' United Organisation of Kerala (FEUOK) and the Kerala Film Producers' Association (KFPA) to release the movie on over 600 screens across on August 12. The agreement was made while expecting theatres to reopen in the state in August amid the COVID-19 pandemic. However, theatres reopened in Kerala only on October 27.
On Thursday, the minister also stated that after holding meetings with Health Minister Veena George and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, the government has decided to waive the entertainment tax on movie tickets for Marakkar until December 31. Half of the electricity bill for the period when theatres remain closed will be waived, while the building tax for the period when theatres were fully closed will be completely waived. Theatre owners must submit applications for the same to the concerned local bodies, the minister said. He also informed that the government will be taking a decision on allocated occupancy in cinema halls after holding a meeting with the Chief Minister.