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By Kaushik.L.M

Big stars call the shots in any movie industry and the Tamil scene is no different. When a big star’s movie releases, it is an event in itself as fans make sure that the film releases in the grandest manner possible with cutouts, posters and banners galore.

In the 70s and 80s, Kamal and Rajini were extremely prolific to the extent that they could ensure that a film of theirs could release almost every month. Kamal had 10 releases in 1975, 11 releases in 1979 and the other years in these decades were also populated at a healthy rate with his releases. Rajini on the other hand, had 15 releases in 1977, 21 releases in 1978, 14 releases in 1979, 12 releases in 1980 and 10 releases in 1985. He was as active as Kamal during these two decades. These were the years when their stardom was on the rise and these two legends made all the right moves by working round the clock. Both of them earned their own set of loyal fan followings thanks to their unique style of films and the rest as they say is history.

In the past two decades, there has been a sharp dip in their release count. Call it strategy, fatigue or the tryst for doing something new and experimental, both these stars haven’t been as prolific as in the past, much to the disappointment of their legion of fans. Particularly since the turn of the 21st century, Rajini has literally drawn himself back and his films release once in two or three years. Kamal’s last release was also two years back and Vishwaroopam looks likely for a 2013 release.

Coming to the other senior stars, Captain Vijayakanth is busy with his political activities. While Karthik is rarely seen on the silver screens now, Prabhu, Sathyaraj and Sarath Kumar are busy doing character roles.

Among the current generation of stars, Vijay and Dhanush seem to be the most active. They manage atleast a couple of releases every year. Vijay had his subdued years in 2006, 2008 and 2010 but in 2011 and 2012, he has had two festival releases, one each for Pongal and Diwali. Dhanush is doing a good balancing act between commercial films and content oriented films and he has shown remarkable consistency.

Ajith and Vijay were extremely fertile in the 90s and these were the years when a new generation of moviegoers became fans of these two stars and by the turn of the 21st century, they were mass heroes in their own right. Of late, Ajith has been fairly sparse when it comes to his releases. Everyone knows the opening frenzy created by Mankatha and Billa 2, in 2011 and 2012 and one would hope for Ajith to release atleast a film a year and give the industry a boost with the mass opening that he commands.

Vikram is another star who keeps his fans waiting with the long gaps between his releases owing to the gargantuan efforts he puts in. Suriya is another actor with solid pull at the box-office but his projects are made on a huge scale with big budgets and it becomes impossible for him to have more than a release a year.

Fans feel that even Simbu should plan for a consistent release pattern so that this talented actor also has multiple releases in a year. On a positive note, prominent young actor, Jiiva, has been highly visible with his films releasing regularly over the past few years.

If our leading heroes make sure that they have atleast a release or two every year, all the stakeholders in the industry will be economically benefitted, fans will be happy, new brand and media partners can be brought in, the reach of the industry will expand and the benefits will be manifold. The industry would be better off in every possible manner.

If this has to happen, shooting schedules have to be adhered to, proper pre-production, scripting and planning need to be done and if budgets and star salaries can also be controlled, we can definitely have a year where every star ranging from Rajini to Simbu will have a release.

At the end of the day, fans will be more than willing to throng to the cinemas to see more of their favorite stars. Star overkill, cinema overdose or ticket prices have never concerned the average fan.

When the other film industries in the country have frequent star releases, why can’t our Tamil industry follow suit?

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