Less than a week before one of the biggest films of her career is to release, Kangana Ranaut has taken to social media to reveal that theatre owners in India have refused to screen the upcoming ‘Thalaivi’, adding that she is heartbroken with the news.
The feisty Bollywood actress sent out an appeal to multiplexes across India to give screen space to the upcoming biopic, based on the life of late Indian Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and former actress, J. Jayalalithaa and is being counted as one of the most anticipated film releases of the year.
In a series of posts on Instagram, Ranaut revealed that three Indian cinema chains have declined to showcase her movie, which is scheduled to release on September 10, even as she requested the film community to work together in these trying times.
“This is heartbreaking,” posted Ranaut. “No films are choosing theatres, very few and very brave like my producers @vishnuinduri @shaaileshrsingh are compromising on huge profits and letting go off exclusive streaming options only for the love of cinema.”
“In these times we must support each other and not bully or arm twist; it’s our fundamental right to recover the cost of our film which we did, we may have two weeks window for Hindi version but for South we have four weeks window yet multiplexes ganging up on us and stopping our release there as well,” Ranaut further added, calling it “unfair and cruel.”
“In these testing times when major territories like Maharashtra are also shut, please let’s help each other in order to save theatres,” she continued.
Ranaut’s film, which she claims has been made on a budget of Rs900 million, would be the third film to release in cinemas in wake of the pandemic, with Akshay Kumar’s ‘Bell Bottom’ and Amitabh Bachchan’s ‘Chehre’ releasing in theatres last month. Ranaut further stated that cinemas appeared to have different rules for movies featuring “big heroes”.
“They just released ‘Radhe’ simultaneously on OTT and theatres. They have released ‘Master’ with 2 weeks window, releasing Hollywood movies with simultaneous OTT release in the US, but refusing to screen even the South of ‘Thalaivi’ which have a four-week window,” Ranaut stated.
Salman Khan’s ‘Radhe’ was released across India on a streaming platform, while releasing in the UAE and other international territories as a cinematic release. ‘Master’ also released in cinemas in the UAE, opening to brisk business at the box office.
Naming PVR Cinemas and Inox Movies, Ranaut further stated the system was biased against women. “…the system makes sure that no woman rises and then complains why don’t we have women superstars bringing audiences to theatre on her own like men do,” she stated, while calling them out for bullying and harassment.
In a video message on her Instagram, Ranaut named big Bollywood studios who she claimed have also ganged up and are simply not allowing multiplexes to screen films by small-time producers. The actress further said that their film had received offers to release on streaming platforms but they chose to support theatre owners instead, but that move appears to have blown up in their faces.
Theatres in India are currently allowed to operate with 50 per cent occupancy across the country as a strict guideline due to the COVID-19 outbreak. With the pandemic still very much a reality, several Indian film production houses have opted to release their film on a streaming platform instead, with recent projects such as ‘Shershaah’, ‘Mimi’ and ‘Toofan’ being examples.
‘Thalaivi’ is set to release in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu languages. The film narrates Jayalalithaa life story, tracing her journey as an actress at a young age to becoming the face of Tamil cinema as well as the rise of the revolutionary leader that changed the course of Tamil Nadu politics.