Comedies reaped gold for southern cinema (2013 In Retrospect)
Over 600 films were released in the last 12 months across the Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam movie worlds, marking it one of the busiest years. In this vast scape, comedy proved to be economically successful at the box office, with the exception of a few commercial outings in other genres.
The Tamil film industry saw nearly 200 releases this year, producing the maximum number of hit comedies including "Kanna Laddu Thinna Aasiya", "Kedi Billa Killadi Ranga", "Ethir Neechal", "Idharkuthane Aasaipattai Balakumara", "Varuthapadatha Valibar Sangam" and "Theeya Velai Seiyyanum Kumaru".
"The most profitable films have been those made on a budget of Rs.5 crore to Rs.8 crore. For instance, 'Kannu Laddu...' which was made on a budget of Rs.3 crore earned about Rs.12 crore, while 'Varuthapadatha...' earned a profit of Rs.23 crore on an investment of Rs.7 crore," trade analyst Trinath told IANS.
"If you were to calculate on return on investment, 'Varuthapadatha...' is undoubtedly the biggest Tamil hit of the year," he added.
Big-budget, star-studded films such as "Arrambam", "Vishwaroopam" and "Singam 2" also managed to rake in the moolah.
"While Kamal Haasan's magnum opus 'Vishwaroopam' may have minted over Rs.100 crore at the ticket window, it wasn't a big success. Suriya-starrer 'Singam 2' surprisingly managed to mint over Rs.50 crore in the first few weeks of its run," Trinath said.
"Fox Star Studios-produced and debutant Atlee Kumar-directed romantic-drama 'Raja Rani' was another surprising Tamil hit of the year. It managed to collect over Rs.50 crore during its lifetime at the box office," said Trinath.
Some big-budget duds in Tamil included "Thalaivaa", "Maryan" and "Alex Pandian".
The Telugu film industry, which produced around 100 films, fared better at the box office with its big-budget outings. Films featuring superstars such as "Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu", "Naayak" and "Mirchi" emerged victorious.
Producer Dil Raju says he was overwhelmed with the response to "Seethamma Vakitlo..." from the audiences. It collected approximately Rs.55 crore on an average investment.
Commercial entertainers such as Ram Charan Teja's "Naayak" and Prabhas-starrer "Mirchi", with a blend of action and comedy, impressed the masses too.
" 'Naayak' raked in close to Rs.60 crore worldwide on an investment of Rs.35 crore, while 'Mirchi', made on a budget of Rs.30 crore, collected approximately Rs.45 crore," said a distributor of both the films.
The biggest Telugu hit was Pawan Kalyan's "Attarintiki Daaredhi", which despite being leaked before its theatrical release, managed to collect a whopping Rs.120 crore at the box office.
"We produced the film under a budget of Rs.60 crore and it collected over Rs.100 crore. Although we were confident about the film, we were shaken from the inside after it was leaked online. Pawan Kalyan's fans made this film a blockbuster," the film's producer B.V.S.N Prasad told IANS.
In Tamil, low-budget comedies such as "Prema Katha Chitram" and "Swamy Ra Ra", laced with horror and crime respectively, struck gold too.
"They enjoyed a successful 100-day run at the box office. The former was made at a budget of Rs.2.5 crore and it minted about Rs.20 crore, while the latter, made on a budget of Rs.4 crore, collected above Rs.15 crore," said distributor Mohan Krishna.
Other notable hits coated heavily with comedy include "Balupu" and "Baadhshah", while some of the highly anticipated Telugu films that turned out to be disasters include "Shadow", "Ramayya Vasthavayya", and "Iddarammayilatho".
In Malayalam, comedies as well romantic films shone bright. Of the approximately 175 films produced, comedy-thriller "Romans" and romantic-drama "Annayum Rasoolum" were two notable hits.
"One of the first hits of the year was 'Annayum Rasoolum', which garnered about Rs.12 crore on an investment of Rs.4.5 crore while 'Romans' made on a budget of Rs.4 crore minted over Rs.15 crore," distributor Arvind Nambiar told IANS.
"Malayalam films heavily rely on the domestic market, and therefore, usually don't turn in big numbers. Since most of these films are made on a budget of Rs.5 crore to Rs.10 crore, the percentage of films breaking even is high vis-a-vis other industries," Nambiar added.
Other hits of Malayalam include "Kammath Kammath", "Celluloid" and "Sound Thoma".
"Mammootty-starrer 'Kammath Kammath', a medium-budget film collected Rs.10.34 crore while Prithviraj-starrer biographical-drama 'Celluloid' managed to rake in Rs.4.57 crore. Films such as 'Sound Thoma' and 'Immanuel' collected Rs.8 crore and Rs.6.5 crore respectively," he said.
Films such as "Mumbai Police", "Bharya Athra Pora" and "Honey Bee" were a few other hits.
Some Malayalam duds include "Hotel California", "3 Dots" and "Housefull".
The Kannada film industry, which churned out roughly 160 films this year, produced maximum hits in the action and romance genre.
Kiccha Sudeep-starrer "Varadhanayaka" and "Bachchan" emerged as the year's biggest hits, while films such as "Lucia", "Charminar" and "Myna" enjoyed commercially successful run at the ticket counters.
"Sudeep turned out to be most successful Kannada actor of the year. While 'Bachchan' collected Rs.20 crore on a budget of Rs.10.5 crore, 'Varadhanayaka' minted Rs.13 crore on an investment of a moderate budget," Trinath said.
"Low budget films 'Charminar' and 'Myna' ran for 100 days at the box office. While the former minted Rs.5.7 crore, the latter ended its lifetime run with a collection of Rs.7 crore," he added.
Crowd-funded Kannada indie film "Lucia", about lucid dreaming, was made on a budget of a mere Rs.90 lakh. It had a limited release via PVR, and managed to mint a handsome Rs.30 lakh in theatres. "But its satellite rights were bought for about Rs.1 crore," said Trinath.
Other Kannada hits include low-budget "Attahasa", which raked in about Rs.5 crore and Upendra-starrer "Topiwala", which collected Rs.11 crore on an investment of Rs.7 crore.
All in all, it could have been a better year.
In a nutshell:
- The Tamil film industry had nearly 200 releases this year, producing the maximum number of hit comedies.
- The Telugu film industry produced around 100 films. Big-budget outings fared better.
- Around 175 Malayalam films were released, of which comedies as well as romantic films shone bright.
- Action and romance were the much loved genres in the Kannada film industry, which churned out roughly 160 films in 2013.
(Haricharan Pudipeddi can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
(Posted on 17-12-2013)