‘Soorarai Pottru’s OTT release to ‘Master’s theatrical release: What has changed in Tamil cinema in 2020?


How Tamil movies warmed as much as OTT in 2020, and what their future tryst with cinema halls can be like


The pandemic had a big effect on the movie trade throughout the nation. In keeping with a score company, the ₹23,600 crore-worth movie enterprise in India is prone to shrink to round ₹12,500 crore. Throughout lockdown, when theatres had been shut for months, audiences moved to streaming platforms, which meant a paradigm shift for the film enterprise. The Indian dream manufacturing facility the place stars dominated modified in 2020.

The most important gamers to realize had been OTT providers, which now nearly dictates phrases to the trade. Seventeen Tamil movies had a direct launch on streaming platforms, the most important of them being Suriya’s Soorarai Pottru.


Although theatres are open now, Kollywood remains to be dealing with a problem for the reason that total capability has been introduced all the way down to 50% of the 1,200-plus screens throughout the State, out of which solely 30-35% will get crammed up. The up-and-running cinema halls have restricted reveals and principally function solely through the weekend when occupancy barely manages to the touch double digits. All that may in all probability change on Pongal 2021, when Vijay’s Grasp arrives on the large display screen. As main theatre proprietor Tiruppur Subramaniam says, “There was an enormous scarcity of star-driven Tamil content material to feed the theatres. However, we’re certain Grasp will kickstart the revival.”

The place’s the cash, honey?

Caught in an unprecedented scenario, the Tamil movie trade tried its finest to salvage with the content material it had. Movie financiers, as soon as the spine of the trade, try arduous to recuperate dues. All of them had taken a mortgage when theatres had been operational, however at the moment are at wits’ finish with some sensible producers bypassing the route,heading to OTT platforms. Nearly all financiers have tentatively stopped funding new movies. Taking pictures is on for a few initiatives, with little readability over doable launch dates. In the meantime, over 40 to 50 movies, together with these with well-known stars, are prepared for theatrical launch, however their manner ahead appears blurry.


Disappearing distributors

As soon as upon a time, Tamil Nadu had the most effective movie distribution community in India. Nonetheless, that has been in decline prior to now few years. In 2020, producers are immediately participating with theatre homeowners to get screens. Gone are the times of Minimal Assure (MG) and even advances, which had been as soon as a norm. The one silver lining amongst all this setback was that producers managed to cut back the Digital Print Charge (VPF) by virtually 60% (theatres display screen movies through Digital Service Suppliers (DSP) who cost VPF). This charge has lengthy been a bone of competition between producers and exhibitors as to who would cough it up. Senthil Kumar of Qube Cinemas says, “2020 has been the worst for the movie trade, and now we’re on the street to restoration.”

HITS (Based mostly on theatrical collections pre-lockdown and streaming platforms)

  • Oh My Kadavule
  • Kannum Kannum Kollaiyadithaal
  • Draupathi
  • Soorarai Pottru
  • Mookuthi Amman

‘Adapt and reinvent’

Regardless of theatres re-opening, there have been little to no audiences and some cinema halls had been shut throughout weekdays. The most important irony was that mass movies like Soorarai Pottru and Mookuthi Amman had been launched on OTT platforms when theatres had re-opened. The longer term seems bleak, although single-screen homeowners really feel the best way ahead is to ‘adapt and reinvent’, and convert the theatre into two or three 100-seater screens. Coimbatore’s veteran exhibitor Balasubramaniam of Baba Complicated explains, “There may be lack of contemporary star-driven Tamil content material, so occupancy stays very low. I’m working it extra for status and for my workers’ sake. As soon as extra star movies launch, I’m certain audiences will begin coming for the large display screen expertise.”

The OTT storm

COVID-19 and the next lockdown has completely modified the best way a movie is consumed. In Tamil cinema, although solely 17 movies launched immediately on streaming platforms, the affect it created was a lot greater than the opposite 81 movies that launched in theatres. As SR Prabhu, main Tamil movie producer, says, “OTT is a recreation changer, and one other medium and a brand new income stream for Tamil cinema. The discharge of Suriya’s Soorarai Pottru immediately on OTT and changing into one of many high 5 hits of the 12 months amongst Indian language movies, is a transparent indication of which manner the wind is blowing. Nonetheless, you can’t get the sort of film expertise of the large display screen on OTT. I really feel each should co-exist with one another; theatrical viewing will nonetheless stay fashionable as outside leisure whereas OTT can be house watching-like tv.”


Within the pre-COVID world, the Tamil trade used to churn out almost 200 movies a 12 months, and all of them took the identical route: theatrical launch, digital and tv premiere. The present state of affairs has made issues sophisticated, as a result of the streaming platforms want to “cherry decide” their releases. Within the first quarter of 2021, theatres are closely relying on Grasp to revive their enterprise whereas OTTs have Bhoomi, Chakra, Teddy and doubtless Sultan.

Tremors within the star system

Streaming platforms are altering the best way creators are pondering. Earlier, A-list administrators would strive getting dates of the celebrities , however now, they’re doing initiatives for streaming majors. The response to the current Netflix anthology Paava Kadhaigal and earlier Amazon Prime’s Putham Pudhu Kaalai appears to have pushed filmmakers to think about newer topics. A spokesperson of a number one OTT platform, requesting anonymity, says, “We typically go for star movies due to the actor’s loyal fan base and the necessity to develop our subscriber base. 2021 goes to be a defining 12 months for streaming platforms in regional markets.”



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