After much back and forth, Mohanlal-starrer Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham will first release in theatres on December 2, Kerala’s Culture Minister Saji Cherian confirmed on Thursday.
Addressing the media, Cherian said the decision was made after discussions at his office with the Kerala Film Chamber president G Suresh Kumar, KSFDC Chairman Shaji N Karun, and other stakeholders.
The makers of Marakkar had earlier decided to go with a direct-to-OTT release and this led to a tiff between them and theatre associations. In an earlier conversation with Silverscreen India, K Vijayakumar, President of the Film Exhibitors United Organisation of Kerala (FEUOK), had said the direct-OTT release was “the producer, actor, and director’s decision” and had added that the makers had gone back on their word by making that choice after collecting the advance from the theatres.
Antony Perumbarvoor, producer of Marakkar, on the other hand, had claimed that the theatre owners “weren’t even ready to discuss” the plans for the release of the Mohanlal-starrer with him.
Now, however, the issues seem to be sorted and the film is headed to theatres first.
Minister Cherian said on Thursday, “This film [Marakkar] will be released in all the theatres in Kerala without any conditions applied. Due to the amount invested, Antony Perumbavoor had earlier had discussions with OTT platforms for the release. However, considering the state of workers dependent on the Malayalam film industry and theatre associations, he has agreed to release the film in theatres. It is a big sacrifice by Antony and this initiative brings us a lot of happiness.”
The minister also noted that the producers’ association, Marakkar’s director Priyadarshan and actor Mohanlal all extended their support to this decision to release the film in theatres. “If prominent film producers and actors opt for direct-to-OTT release, that trend will affect the Malayalam film industry. So the government’s aim was to unite all the stakeholders and that approach has proved fruitful,” the minister added.
He said that the film associations’ demands were forwarded to the chief minister who, in turn, called for a meeting with various ministers to discuss the matter. As per the chief minister’s directions, a few decisions were made, he added. “Entertainment tax will be waived from April to December 31, 2021. Fixed charge on electricity has been cut by 50% and can be paid in six instalments. Building tax has been completely waived for the period when theatres were shut down in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. As for the 50% occupancy in theatres, that matter will be discussed later,” he said.
Following the announcement of the film’s theatrical release, producer Antony Perumbavoor took to Twitter and said that Marakkar was a dream come true for Mohanlal and Priyadarshan. “However, despite several attempts, due to the Covid-19 pandemic over the last two years, the film could not make it to theatres. Now, finally, the film will release on December 2. This decision is based on the belief and hope that Marakkar will become a film that will live up to your expectations and be a source of pride for Malayalam and Indian Cinema.”