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We have talked about the battle between films for supremacy at the box office during the Diwali season. But, there is another battle, perhaps bigger, than the one in theaters that does not get talked about too often. That is the channel wars that are waged between media houses for the maximum eyeballs during the festival holidays, especially during the all important Diwali day. Ever since the advent of cable television it has been customary to screen a new movie on the evening of Diwali (India Tholaikkatchi varallarril mudhal muraiyaga) and this event, for years, has been the most eagerly viewed annual feature, especially if the movie being telecast stars any of the big
names in the industry. If the big name in question happens to be Rajinikanth or Kamal Haasan, then it is almost celebration in front of the TV for all cinema fans; notwithstanding the huge breaks for advertisements.

Just a few years back, it was just one channel which held unquestioned supremacy, especially on big days such as Diwali, with its financial and political abilities to snare the telecast rights of all big movies that were up for grabs. Almost every big movie was telecast for the first time only through this network. But, times have changed and now there is some serious competition, with the arrival of scores of channels which also have multi-sphere influence to gain hold of big movies for festive occasions.

So, what’s the battle this Diwali. Well, one channel delivered the knockout punch almost a fortnight before the festival, announcing that they were going to telecast Superstar’s Sivaji –The Boss on Diwali day. Now, in terms of Tamil TV TRPs, a Rajinikanth blockbuster is almost like a trump card; something that cannot be easily bested by anything else. ‘If it is Superstar on TV, then there is nothing else worth watching’, is the general attitude of the average Tamil audience; even if the movie has been watched by them in theaters. A couple of years back, there was a statistic in a newspaper which said that more than 12 years after its release,
Rajnikanth’s Basha still fetched phenomenal TRPs whenever telecast on television. Now, that is something.

So, one channel has already used the ‘Baanasthram’ by announcing Sivaji for Diwali. There is almost nothing that the opposing channel has to equal this one. There is only one man who can attract enough attention even in the presence of a Superstar flick; Kamal Haasan. But, even his last big movie has been shown multiple times on television. The channel is left with no option but to go in for a meek surrender against the Superstar dominance on television and wait for next Diwali to settle scores. In spite of being connected to the biggest production house in Tamil cinema at the moment, the channel refuses to unleash any of its other blockbusters against Sivaji because it knows only too well that it could be just short of ‘Hara Kiri’.

But, the channel in question is not known to give up that easily. It is not for nothing that they have dominated the southern TV circuits for more than 15 years now. They know which card to play at the right time and they seem to have come up with a potent counter-measure to the Sivaji ‘Baanastra’. What is it?

Yes, there is no doubt that the popularity of Rajnikanth is above TV networks and cannot be rivaled. Knowing that fully well the channel has decided to counter Rajnikanth with Rajnikanth himself. Yes, the channel has gone in for an unprecedented move by deciding not to telecast a movie on Diwali day; instead they have gone in for a four hour show on the making of Endhiran to be followed up by an exclusive interview of Superstar; the timings expectedly coinciding with the telecast of Sivaji on the other channel.

It will be a battle royale between Rajnikanth and Rajnikanth for supremacy in TRPs. Everyone will want to enjoy the energy and fun of Sivaji-The Boss, but will not want to miss out on the specially packaged show on Endhiran and the interview (a Superstar interview is a very rare occasion on TV; can’t remember the last time he gave one).

So, make your choice; enjoy Diwali with the Superstar phenomenon firing on all cylinders. Who’s going to be the winner; Sivaji or The Making of Endhiran? One thing is for sure; Superstar dominance on TV has been taken to a new level. Happy Diwali.
Tags : Endhiran, Rajinikanth, Sivaji
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