The producer of Lingaa, Rockline Venkatesh met the press in Chennai on Friday to address questions surrounding the profitability of the movie. A group of distributors has alleged that the Superstar Rajinikanth film has failed to bring them profits, and that the producer intentionally sold Lingaa to them at exorbitant prices. A particularly vocal representative of this group has been Singaravelan, who distributed the movie in the Trichy-Tanjore region and has claimed that he got back only thirty percent of his investment.
The group of distributors stated that they had made repeated pleas for financial relief to the producer Rockline Venkatesh, the Tamil Nadu rights holder Vendhar movies and Rajinikanth to no avail. So they decided to engage in a fast in Chennai today to draw attention to their plight. They hoped that Rajinikanth would reimburse them for losss suffered, as he did for his earlier films Kuselan and Baba. The Tamil Nadu Film Actor’s council – Nadigar Sangham – expressed its solidarity with Rajinikanth and asked the distributors to approach the producers directly instead of drawing Rajinikanth into the controversy.
In the hastily put together press meet, Rockline Venkatesh said that the entire controversy was a bid to gain media attention and fame. “Singaravelan is doing this for publicity. But, it is wrong to do so at the expense of Rajinikanth sir. He is just the hero of the movie and had no role to play on the production side. I don’t understand why they are asking him to pay back their losses.” Venkatesh also expressed hurt that a section of the distributors had accused him of ‘conning’ them out of their money. “I request them to show me proof of how exactly I conned them. I will apologise to them and make amends if they can back up their claims with evidence.”
Singaravelan had also claimed that one of the reasons the film did not perform well at the box office was because it was released on December 12, the birthday of Rajinikanth. The distributor reasoned that since December 12 was not a festival or a holiday, people did not rush to watch the movie and that several shows ran empty on the first day of the film’s release. In response, Venkatesh said that the ‘stories’ of empty shows on the release day of a Superstar film are ludicrous and unbelievable. “Who will believe that a Rajini movie did not bring in crowds on the first day? We had announced the release date of Lingaa when we started shooting. These people stayed silent then, and they even stayed silent when they bought the film, fully aware of the release date Why is it an issue now? Rajini sir’s fans will go watch his movie any day. Past history has proven that!”
Rockline Venkatesh also said that he will try to solve this issue soon so that it does not sully the image of Rajinikanth. “The whole thing is getting out of hand. I have not done anything wrong and ideally would have ignored such publicity mongering tactics. But for the sake of Rajini sir, whom I admire, I will take the first step to solve this quickly.”