'The Outside Kerala Market' - Ranjith Sankar Column
Ranjith Sankar [ Fri, Nov 2, 2012 ]
- On Molly Aunty Rocks!'s 50th Day, director Ranjith Sankar writes about the significance of outside Kerala market for a Malayalam Movie.
Today is the 50th day since Molly Aunty Rocks(MAR) released in Kerala. And there is a cinema theater strike starting today. My film career had always had relations with strikes and harthals. Passenger was released on a harthal day with its first show starting at evening 6.There was a harthal on the next day of MAR release (15th Sep) for Diesel price hike. Many in the media struck similarities in the movie itself as MAR starts on a harthal day for a petrol price hike! There was another cinema bandh on the release week if I recollect right. May be you need to learn to live with this if u wants to make movies and do business in Kerala.
Analysing MAR collections of late made me realize one thing. The film had made almost equal amount of money from outside Kerala collections! Outside Kerala includes cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai and outside India. Well, we made a conscious effort to market it overseas since Molly Aunty is the story of an NRI. The figures for a very small movie like MAR make me realize the market that's out there and how we are not seeing it here.
Earlier this market used to be unorganized to capitalize on it. Monopolies still rule in some places, but broken in most areas thus making the release process more transparent. What has made the difference in this is the emergence of young professionals into the scene. Young guys who are working in different spheres like software, telecommunications in different parts of the world, who are hugely passionate about cinema.
They wanted to see the good cinema that's happening in their language. And the only way out for them to see it is to bring it themselves there. That sort of passion has indeed made a difference. It's truly heartening to see MAR playing close to 30 shows across a week in proper cinema halls in places like New Jersey, New York and repeating shows on popular demand!
I think this is a market that needs to flourish. We live in the times where even offbeat Bollywood releases make big money doing paid previews in places like UAE. UAE has the most number of expatriate Malayalees. And somehow we are unable to see the possibilities.
We are still trying our best to release MAR across UAE, which probably is a bigger market than USA for Malayalam cinema. It's strange that it's easy to do 200 odd shows in USA and unable to screen one show in UAE!
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Monopolies need to break! I dream of a scene where Malayalam cinemas release in the overseas market on a commission basis! Where producers/Distributors here can directly deal with the exhibitors overseas, the middlemen removed!
That I tell you would open up probably the biggest commercial arena for Malayalam cinema outside Kerala.