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KOLLYWOOD TRICKLES RELEASES DURING DIWALI!

Which movie did you see in theaters during Diwali 2008? Tough to recall! Most of us who are able to remember will be thinking of Ultimate Star’s Aegan. There are also chances of Bharath’s Seval making the list. Now, we have all read the reviews of these movies and also gauged the public opinion. But, the fact is these were the movies which made merry during Diwali last year. The reason, lack of strong competition! This is not to say that an Ajith film should have a Vijay film as its competitor. Or a Bharath’s film with Silambarasan's or Dhanush's or Arya's. Not really. Any two films releasing in theaters at the same time are competing with each other for the audiences’ attention and almost always the film with the bigger star hogs all the limelight. But, that is only for a week or so after which the star thrill begins to dim and the film’s quality steps in. So, what’s the point?

Last Diwali marked only two major releases. They were flanked on either sides by Silambattam and Vaaranam Aayiram, separated by a couple of weeks or a little more. While they did manage to make good business based on positive reviews and word of mouth, it should also be remembered that they missed the festival rush by a long way.

Tamil Nadu has two major occasions for the big releases, one is Pongal and the other is Diwali. There can be no better time to get the big ones into theaters. Everyone is
  Aadhavan & Peraanmai

celebrating and catching a movie in theaters. In fact, it is the windfall for the industry which must be fully utilized. Yet, over the last few years, there has been a tendency to hold back and think twice about festival releases. The last real big glut of releases for a festival season can perhaps take us back to 2005 where Superstar, Universal Star and Ilaya Thalapathi had gone head to head at the same time. Since then, it has always been the lone big release with a slightly smaller one being present with the hope of upsetting the Goliath’s applecart.

What Tamil cinema strategists should realize is that they are missing out on the guarantee festival crowds. A festival weekend maybe the only time in the year when a family will go to theatres to watch a movie based on the ‘word of mouth’ review or a pre-generated opinion. Otherwise, it is the youth who frequent theaters. Watching a movie during a festival is a way of celebration. Festival rushes guarantee great openings and the general atmosphere of goodness and happiness might make people more generous towards movies too.

Having said all that, 2009 has a rather slim line up for the biggest festival of the year. Suriya continues his timely delivery with Aadhavan. At present, only Jayam Ravi seems to be ready to give Suriya some competition with Peraanmai. The much expected Vettaikaran has all but confirmed its delay to the next festival season and we don’t know whether that shift will change Ajith’s original plans for Asal.

Avoiding clashes and spacing out big releases are good practices. But, in the process if many of the big movies are compelled to miss the festival rush, it can only be detrimental to the financial status of the industry.

Every industry, be it textiles, home appliances, automobiles, consumer goods and even real estate are advertising attractive festival offers for their customers. Kollywood must too revert to its old tradition of packing festival seasons with the big marquee releases. Give plenty of options for people coming to theaters on the festive occasion. And, celebrate the success.

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