Will there be a Thala Thalapathy clash again?


By Jigdesh

A phenomenon that was last seen in 2007 may well be expected to reoccur this year. In what could be labeled as the mother of all star-wars, there is a likelihood that Ajith and Vijay may clash at the box-office on the same day this year.

Earlier, reports had emerged that the team of Thala53, helmed by Vishnuvardhan, was working overtime with August 15 as the targeted date in mind. In the recently held Thalaivaa audio launch, producer Chandraprakash Jain indicated that the Vijay starrer is set for release in August too. Behindwoods looks at the good, bad and the entertaining side of this potential clash of the titans.

The anticipated Thala-Thalapathy clash in 2013 is surely not the first of its kind as it has taken place on several occasions in the past, such as Alwar – Pokkiri and Villain-Bhagavathy to name a few, where each star had their respective glory days in the battle. However in the year 2001, Vijay’s Friends and Ajith’s Dheena both enjoyed good success at the box-office, showing that the room was indeed big enough for two.

In a way these two stars are expected to carry forward a homegrown tradition and a legacy of matinee idol clashes. Early in the careers, Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan have had a number of their films competing with each other on the same day, but very unassumingly. Once they reached heightened stardom their clashes received more attention which was evident during the release of Thalapathy and Guna, where each fan group literally fought for the bigger screens. But as of today the last time the two stars saw eye to eye was in 2005 with Mumbai Express taking on Chandramukhi.

These celebrated matinee idol contests have proved to stand the test of time as in the case of the late greats, MGR and Sivaji Ganesan. Even their re-releases manage to recreate the same fervor amongst their supporters as it would decades ago when the two were in their pomp. This only goes to show that Tamil cinema fans would go to any extent to back their favorite stars, apparently, even after they are long gone.

Assuming that Thala53 and Thalaivaa do come out on the same day, the buzz around the state would be unlike anything anyone would have witnessed in recent memory. The lead up to the coveted Friday and the weekend will be filled with hair-raising anticipation and even tension. The clash will also rekindle the spirit of popular head to head battles with each fan base vying for the upper hand. One can expect the movie market on the whole to be rejuvenated, even if it’s only for a week or so.  The neighboring industries too will definitely take note of the kind of furious media coverage this event will generate.

The downside however is entirely trade related. The fact that Ajith enjoys one of the best openings in the industry is a known truth and presently Vijay is on an upward swing and is capable of matching any numbers thrown at him. The result of this evenly matched contest is that the financial rewards that a film could enjoy as a solo release would be greatly compromised and would affect the profitability of the project. Also, with the kind of fan following involved and with highly charged emotions there may be a danger of misbehavior and untoward incidents.

But mainly it’s the business aspect which has prompted many stars, including Ajith and Vijay, to prefer solo releases for the benefit of the investors. Recently two superstars in Hindi, Shahrukh Khan and Akshay Kumar, decided to separate their upcoming releases, Chennai Express and Once Upon A Time in Mumbai Again, by a week for the same reasons.

The die-hard Thala-Thalapathy fans however would be licking their lips for this proposition to come true and why wouldn’t they? Each fan group will be looking to outdo the other in terms of build-up, festivities and the accompanying hoo-haas. Apart from the fans the simple-minded neutral too would always find enjoyment in such high-profile clashes where there’s nothing but the best on display in a classic battle of wits and one-upmanship.



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