A Blog on Cinema

Release date and Collection worries


Next week Mohanlal’s Photographer and Mammotty’s Pothen Vava are going to hit the screen. Pothen Vava was supposed to release on Oct 19 but is now postponed to Oct 21, while Photographer has also changed its date from Oct 20 to 21. Now some folks want the date of both movies to be changed to Oct 24th, the day when Ramzan is celebrated in Kerala. Their argument is that during Ramzan time the opening will not be good in Malabar.

Last time we checked there were so many other regions in Kerala apart from Malabar. Last time we checked lot of non-Muslims see films during Ramzan time. If film makers want to coincide releases with religious festivals to make sure that it is a success, it can only mean that they are not very confident of the product they are trying to sell.

Both M&M movies have a big initial pull and they suck fans just like how a black hole sucks light into it. The current trend in film release in Kerala is to release as many prints as possible and make the most in the first few weeks. Suppose the movie sucks, like Bhargava Charitram, then by the time the word of mouth gets out, the producers would have made their money.

Instead of relying on Ramzan, Onam, Christmas, American Independence Day, and Achuthanandan’s birthday for releases there is a less stressful way. Get a good story and make a good movie. For example, look at Classmates. It is running to packed houses even during Ramzan time.

At the box office, `Classmates’ is rocking. From 47 screens in 21 days, the film is rumoured to have got a distributors’ share of Rs. 2.10 crore, a record in Kerala. The film is poised to complete 100 days in almost all releases stations as per indications. What has surprised the trade is that in spite of heavy rain and the beginning of `Noyambu'(Ramzan fast), particularly in Malabar, the film is rock steady at the box office [Classmates,’ a trendsetter]

If a movie with young actors can do well during the Ramzan time, the producers of M&M movies should have atleast a bit more courage.


  1. I think release time does matter.

    Its a set pattern and something to do with superstition.Even during Onam, we have a few small films release 2 weeks before Onam, some release on Onam etc. Its a win-win situation for both producers.

    The same is the case with Ramzan and I dont think it reflects the insecurity of superstars – rather that of producers.

    Also I feel, Classmates is like Halleys Comet – such a rarity. No doubt we will see a slew of “Campus” movies abound with the “da” and “di” “vilis”. It will save production costs.
    And majoirty of them will all bite the dust.

  2. This Haley’s comet had some good script, good performances, good direction behind it. It should be a lesson not a trend. Saying that it’s fluke is not correct.

  3. Most of these superstar movies as you said rely on word of mouth. Most of them are so-so movies and not “great”. Then you need the blessings of the release-date-gods to make it a success.

    Intelligent people like Lal Jose have shown that “Venemengil Chakka Verilum Kaykum” and you don’t need any superstar for it. It is a big lesson to be learned.

    Unni, I agree that there will be lot of pathetic campus movies and they will all flop. Who knows, tomorrow the Superstars might try to act as Campus Kumarans themselves. It will be easy for them since their heroines are actually college going girls.

  4. Mentor – I never used the word fluke. I said it was a rarity and that is a fact

    Look at the recent spate of movies. The good movies like Achan Urangaatha Veedu, Thanmathra, Classmates are rare. Out of about 60 movies churned out by Malluwood yearly, 3 or 4 become superhits. 95% of the hits would be masala movies. and the 5% would be a good movie.

  5. Now that you mentioned Classmates, I belive James Alrbert deserves as much Kudos as LalJose. It was not a 1 man show from Lal Jose alone.

    Karthik. I dont think our 2 M’s would be off their minds to act as College boys. On second thoughts, one M, who wears designer clothers and considers himself younger than his son, may probably go for such roles

  6. In the early 80s there was a Haley’s Comet called Manjil Virinja Pookal. Look at the impact that had on the film industry. Hope the actors of Classmates are able to make successful career like that.

  7. Unni seems a representative of M&Ms. Ok it is right and we can understand that. I think it is this type of people who stand between better Malayalam Film culture and domination by so called super stars. How much effort these Super Starwalas are taking to market their movie is the talk of the town. My wife used to say wherever she sees Dileep wandering in every channel trying to lift his flop shows, “this guy doesn’t have confidence?”. If any one given a little such effort, Vargam, Mayoogam etc.would have been big hits.
    The so called olden Goldies don’t have the confidenec to release their movies without the support of a fesival season, execept Mohan Lal to an extend. It is a real pity. Stars don’t matter, but good script, good story and good acting. If movies like Thuruppugula ran with 100 odd people from second week onwards (In Ernakulam Saritha)and forcibly made as a hit, I think everyone should put that extra effort to market every movie so that most of the movies run and film Industry flurishes, which obviously a life line for at least one Lakh people in the State.
    It is a pity that such coherent and coordinated effort is not visible in this Industry, and I never read any so called super stars make a comment on the Biggest Block Buster of Mlayalam Industry CLASSMATES. In Tamil, Rajni, Kamal, Vikram, Vijay etc appreciate efforts of other movies. They know, very well that they will alos get their pie, unlike in Malayalam that each star thinks everyone should fail except me. That is the reason, why the people of Kerala suffer the antics of Directors Johny Antony, Joshy (Super star bug bitten etc and Actors like Suresh Gopi, Mani etc.

    God save this Industry.

  8. Raphel – Your commenys “Unni seems a representative of M&Ms. Ok it is right and we can understand that. I think it is this type of people who stand between better Malayalam Film culture and domination by so called super stars.”

    I am indeed thankful that you did not mention that I was paid by these people to write on their behalf.!! By the same yardstick by which you billed me to be a fanatic fan of these two people, I could say the samething about you wrt Prithviraj. However I shall not venture into that.

    Let me make this clear. Iam a BIG Fan of both M’s AND Their GOOD Movies. I am not the type who would watch Praja/Thandavam/Thuruppugulan 3 times First Day. However I respect them and adore them for their contribution to Malayalam cinema. And, I will continue to squirm in my seat when I see them dance with Katrina Kaif/Meera Jasmine.

    Still taking into their pluses and minuses, I will continue to support them. And I am not ashamed of it.

    Speaking of Dileep, If you read any of my posts in Varnachitram, I have never ever praised him and his acting skills – whom I dont even consider as a meteor, forget a star. We all
    know that he is insecure and promotes his movies in all channels.

    You rave and ranty about Classmates. How many “Gen-x” movies apart from “For the People”, can you say were hits. We had so many movies coming and going the last 6-7 years, when this “Generation X” stars came up. Innumerable forgettable movies – Campus, Vacation, Nammal Thammil, Valathottu Thirnjaal Naalamathe Veedu..Out of this you can mention just ONE Classmates. Oh! There was a movie by the name Pranayavarnangal and it had a super-star Suresh Gopi – but that doesnt count.

    Now that our topic of discussion is of good movies, I would like to bring one small point – Sathyan Anthikad/Sreenivasan is one director who has stamped his class on Malayalam Cinema. By your arguments, surely they also must be instrumental in not letting the Gen-X grow up, as they do their movies for super-stars
    [barring the odd Narendran makan..].

    So If what you are saying about us not encouraging good movies, then I think there’s something seriously wrong with us Malayalis.
    Basically the system is wrong and we ALL [well at least 90% of us] are hypocrites – in that we shout from the roof-tops saying that our superstars are aged and at the same time, we do not “support” the new kids on the block.

    “In Tamil, Rajni, Kamal, Vikram, Vijay etc appreciate efforts of other movies. ” – There are two reasons behind that. a) We dont have that many superstars in malayalam b) 90% of it is publicity gimmick. Surya invites Vikram for a preview. Vikram invites Dhanush for a preview and so on. Tamil Movie Industry is ruled by the producers. It is customary for any star acting in a producer’s movie to support another actor acting in the same producer’s movie.

    I dont have anything against the younger generation. I appreciate good cinema. I enjoyed Thanmathra/Kazcha/Achanurangaatha Veedu more for their story/direction than the superstars who made it happen. [I havent seen Classmates. So cannot comment on that. However from what my friends have said, It rocks].

    God need not save the industry, Raphel. He has enough on hand. A few good script-writers would do 🙂


  9. Unni, Recently I read the news that Rajni dropped in on the sets of Ajith’s new movie to see how things are progressing. Now I don’t think Rajni needs to please any producer in this world anymore. So this “customary encouragement” theory of yours can only be taken with a pinch of salt.

  10. Siji – The scenario in Tamil is very different from ours, OK. Look at their heros – Rajni, Kamal, Vikram, Ajith, Vijay, Surya, Srikanth, Simbu, Arya, Bharat, Dhanush, Jeeva, Jitten Ramesh, Sarat Kumar, Vijaykant. The list is endless. Each one of them have delivered hits on their own and they have their own share of the market. For ex: Vijaykant movies run in Madhurai. Each of them act in probably 2 movies a year. [People like Kamal/rajni act in 1]. Their schedule is much more relaxed and take part in Socio-Political events, Previews and have time even for campaigning. Also Tamil movies have a far bigger reach and the number of people who watch Tamil Movies are not just Tamilians and Telugus and even us Mallus. Rajni/Kamal are superstars in Telugu and Kannada also. Also they have lot of star marriages. Rajni’s daughter married dhanush. There are lot of star fathers and sons with whom the older generation have a relationship.

    Compare that to our Malluwood, market works in a slighly different way. Our producers dont have money. Our actors act in about 4-5 movies a year. Their schedule is jam-packed, which is why they dont get time for socialising even.
    We complete movies in about 1-2 months unlike most of the Tamil movies which take a lot of time to make. Also we dont hold Premier/Preview/Audio release shows of Malayalam movies as a big event [all which is a big event in Tamil], where people socialise and everyone says good about everyone. There is a high degree of psychophancy in all that.

    OK, now that you have mentioned about this topic, frankly do you expect Mammotty to attend all Premiers of Prithviraj movies and Mohan Lal to attend audio release of Jayasurya movies? Sorry is that how things should have been ? I am just curious as to if it will solve problems of our ailing Malayalam industry

  11. Mammotty and Mohanlal attending any previews will not save any movie. Right now, the attitude is “only my movies should run”. If senior actors encourage young actors and encourage producers to make films with them, the winner will be Malayalam Industry.

  12. “Right now, the attitude is “only my movies should run”.


    Have you noticed in Tamil, if any releases happen on the same day as Rajni movies ?
    Only a Kamal Hassan can take on Rajni. So only his movie will be the other movie relased at the same time. Last time it was Chandramukhi vs Mumbai Express. Next time it will be Shivaji vs Dasavatharam. The lesser stars make sure their release does not clash with the release of these titans.

    Why cannot we follow the same principle over here? Of course, all this works ONLY if its good movies.

    Speaking of younger directors, of late Mohan Lal worked with Blessy, Roshan Andrews, Shajun Karyal, Major Ravi, TS Janardan etc. Mammotty worked with Anwar Rashid, Blessy, Johnny Antony etc. These directors are not veterans like Joshiey or Sathyan anthikad. So opportunity is given to young directors also.

    Speaking of ‘encouraging producers’ – A producer will be willing to shell out money ONLY in case of bankable movies – which is why Kalabhavan Mani movies are released often as he comes cheap and also hes a minimum-guarantee star. Can you say the same about Jayasurya/Indrajith? Bottom line is nobody can ‘force’ a producer because most of them ending up losing money all the time.

    In Tamil, again situation is different. Director/Producer Shankar has lavish money and is willing to spent it on people in whom he sees talent. Ex: success of kathal and Imsai Arasan Pulikesi – one with a newcomer Bharat and the other with Vadivelu!!!

    In Malayalam, our producers are not rich enough to take risks on newcomers like that. You can just show a classmate as an example. But realistically, a producer cannot hope every campus movie to be a hit.

    So a lot of factors contribute to youngsters not coming up. Its easy to blame the superstars (M&M) saying that they are the cause of all problems in Malayalam. Its not true!!

    Unless they reduce singing like yesudas. But then singing and acting are two different propositions

  13. Superstars acting in  young directors movies – They are not doing it for charity but in the hope for a getting a hit movie. And with that they themselves are biggest beneficiaries.

  14. The only Rajni vs Kamal story is wrong. Last time Vijay movie also released along with Rajni. Ok lets forget about all that stories. In Tamil every actor thinks he gets enough space to play, so no foul play or underground works. The talk of gimmics is just a face saving stuff. In Kerala the filmwalas need to learn to market each film. The rules bring out are stupis like no Paper ad, no trailer in Prime time etc.This is to help Super Star movies.
    Pritvi and Narain also havelots of movies in Tamil and is going to continue like this. Narain has two and Pritvi got 3 apart from the remake of Albudadweep.Sify one mentioned that no other malayalam actor ever created such an impact in Tamil than Pritvi.
    Whatever tricks one does, Pritvi, Narain and the hardworking Indrajit are going to be there as future stars. Mammotty can continue to dance like elephants and Suresh Gopi can fight like Sumo wrestlers. If Suresh or that matter majority of public watched Vargam he will never be called an Action Hereo, which is the joke of the Centuary.
    The main problem here is not stars alone, but Directors, who are very poor in their pproach, especially Joshy, Johny Antony (the worst one you can ever see), Joemon, etc. They do not have confidence and banking on SSs to bail them out. Lack of new ideas confining in the framework or genral stiry line and poor scripts adds to teh problem. What we need is Good directors, Good actors and Good script directors.
    I advise Unni to see Classmates, Swapnakude, Vargam,Achu.., etc. Mentioned only Pritvi and Narain movies since none of other Youngsters movies worth mentioning. Pl do not compare with third rated movies of yother oung stars along with Pritvi or Narain. They are different and can very much take the burden of poor directors in future.Indrajit is another one deserves a special attention.


  15. @Unni,
    OK, now that you have mentioned about this topic, frankly do you expect Mammotty to attend all Premiers of Prithviraj movies and Mohan Lal to attend audio release of Jayasurya movies? Sorry is that how things should have been ? I am just curious as to if it will solve problems of our ailing Malayalam industry

    We dont need to exaggerate here. We were just discussing about need to reduce the selfishness prevailing here. There are many ways to promote healthy spirit in the industry. At least a pat for the youngsters by the superstars will do. As somebody mentioned earlier, I havent seen any article where our M&Ms or Dileep saying something about classmates.

    I would dream a M&M film with Pritviraj coming in support role. But giving the current malluwood scenario, it seems like a rare thing to happen.

  16. @ raphel – “The only Rajni vs Kamal story is wrong. Last time Vijay movie also released along with Rajni.” – Oh yes, Vijay had a movie called Sachin, released at the same time, which bombed big time.So also Mumbai Express

    Raphel, I have watched Swapnakoodu/Chakram/Vellithira/Vellinakshatram/Sathyam. To be frank, I was not impressed with Prithvi’s histrionics. I did watch Achuvinte Amma and I thought Sunil was more talented than Prithvi. And I havent watched classmates, but as I said above, from what I heard from Friends, its a great movie. And I watched Vesham and MeeshaMadhavan and I thought a robot could act better than Indrajit.

    Since you talked about action heros, Suresh Gopi and Mammotty have the best physiques in malayalm industry. I mean, look at Mammotty. At 55 he still rocks. In a recent poll conducted by Vanitha in colleges, he was voted ABOVE anyone else in terms of looks – and that incldues Mohan Lal, Prithvi etc.

    Also Mammotty and Suresh Gopi ALWAYS used to dance like elephants. Mammotty has in fact in many interviews confessed that he has two left feet and he cannot dance.

    Suresh Gopi is extremely good as an action hero. If you watched his recent Bharatchandran IPS, you will not say that. Jumping from flying jeeps is not the only criteria for an action hero.

    @ Maymon – As i said above, meerly patting on the back of youngsters will not help them. Its the producers who have to bail out youngsters like Prithviraj and Sunil. Unfortunately we dont have any Shankar’s/Oscar Ravichandran to pump that kind of money to the industry and take movies on an experimental basis. The stakes here are much higher. We all saw how Liberty Basheer/Varnachitra Subair who made Balramvs Taradas/udayon are reeling under the financial crisis caused by their movies.


    Now which producer forced Kamal to do this? Such lessons help make Surya a better actor. Will this ever happen in Malayalam?

  18. Kudos for the link Mr. Siji. It should be sent to Mammotty or Mohana Lal. We respect them. But not by destroying the Industry. Mammo should not have taken the Thommanum Makkalum from Prithvi and Jaysurya. They should know that down the line in a few years time the Industry will face a vaccum unless seniors support new faces or encourage them. But it will never happen in Malaylam. Kamal is sure he can remain greateven if 25 youngsters are there. But our own Old Guys don’t have the confidence and they do not want to repeat 2002 again. But how long?. I never heard any one of them telling good about the young actors or the recent movie Classmates. But at least they can stop working against them and tell Dileep as well to do the same. Dileep knows with his height and face he cannot be a star like the two Ms. That is the reason why before Prithvi comes strong, he does everything possible to cement his place. But all his actions so far booranged only.
    He even stepped in front of Shaji Kailsh who was thinking of movie with Prithvi. The result is aflop movie DON. They should cooperate and work together for the betterment of the Industry, than fight like crabs in a Bucket.

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