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Kannada film industry's lockdown woes: Release of big-ticket movies postponed

Kannada film industry's lockdown woes: Release of big-ticket movies postponed

Bengaluru, The Kannada film industry has been badly hit after the state government's announcement of imposing a 50 per cent restriction on seating capacity in cinema theatres and multiplexes.

The release of big-budget movies including pan-India projects scheduled to be released in January and February has been stalled.

One among the most anticipated movies in Kannada film industry 'Ek Love Ya' directed by star director Prem was scheduled to be released on January 21. Kichcha Sudeep's pan-India project 'Vikranth Rona' was all set to release on February 24.

Darling Krishna and Milana-starrer 'Love Mocktail 2', sequel of super hit 'Love Mocktail', young actor-director Srini's 'Old Monk' and actor Sharan's 'Avatarapurusha' were all set to see a grand release in the coming days.

With the government's decision of imposing semi-lockdown along with night curfew and weekend curfews, the film industry has again gone back into the deep water situation.

Director Prem has already announced the postponement of the release of his movie 'Ek Love Ya'. Others are also likely to make an announcement regarding postponing their movie release dates soon.

The producers of the Kannada film industry, which has a smaller market compared to Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam industries, have taken a huge risk by investing in pan-India projects.

Sudhakar Bhandari, one of the producers of 'Vikranth Rona' which is being made in six languages says, "We are on a shaky ground to determine the release date. Next week there is a meeting and a decision will be taken. The team had planned an event on Jan 3 in Mumbai. Then suddenly there were curbs on the organization of events there," he explained.

As far as lockdown is concerned, there are two issues. There is fear of a pandemic. Because of the fear, the government takes the decision of imposing a lockdown. There should be an attempt to prevent theatres from being soft targets and action should be taken to make theatres infection-free with available technology, he opines.

"We are deprived of our right to work in the backdrop of lockdown. Including the film industry, all industry people should come together to devise action plans. Private hospital mafia should not control things, the things have to be dealt with scientific approach. The aftereffects of lockdown are also near fatal," he says.

During lockdown, people reconnected with entertainment. OTT is a positive point but OTT platforms alone cannot be relied upon. The films have been ready to be released for one year. There is no stability and a solution should be found for this impasse, he explains.

Producer Anil Bidhahas explained that the producers would have spent a lot of money during the release of the film and all that would go to waste now. "Politicians can do anything. There are no curbs for political rallies. If a producer steps out of industry, it is a loss for one generation of artistes and technicians," he says.

Big stars' movies will rake in moolah just after four days, later they will earn more with OTT and television rights. The newcomers won't get theatres, if the movie fails to make a mark, there won't be takers for OTT and television, he explains.

Before the imposition of lockdown, the movies which got wonderful beginning amid the fears of Covid third wave like 'Badava Rascal' and 'Rider', will now have to incur huge losses. The team of 'Badava Rascal' has already started touring across the state to mark the success and promote the movie is also now saddened.

Kannada film industry had received a big jolt after the death of superstar Puneeth Rajkumar but it managed to stay afloat as big movies 'Salaga' and 'Kotigobba 3' released later drew huge crowds to theatres. At a time when things seemed to settle down, the imposition of lockdown has once again dampened the spirits.

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