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Kangana Ranaut Image Credit: AFP

Kangana Ranaut was finally given a reprieve after she sent out an appeal yesterday to cinema owners across India to allow ‘Thalaivii’ to screen in theatres.

Multiplex juggernaut PVR Cinemas has agreed to screen the Tamil and Telugu versions of the film, while news is still awaited whether theatre owners will provide screen space for the Hindi version of ‘Thalaivii’.

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Kangana Ranaut in 'Thalaivii' Image Credit: Instagram.com/kanganaranaut

Ranaut put out a statement on her Instagram last evening thanking the multiplex, while reposting a message she received from PVR Cinemas. “PVR’s decision to screen the Tamil and Telugu versions of the film is a ray of hope for Team Thalaivii as well as all those cinegoers who are waiting to rush back to their favourite multiplex chain for a cinematic experience,” Ranaut wrote, adding: “I am personally moved by the kind words used for me and Team Thalaivii…”

The actress hadn’t lost hope in finding a screen for the Hindi version of the film also to release. “I hope with talks, and a passion for the theatrical experience, we can come together to find a solution so that the Hindi version can also find love and appreciation on the big screen @pvrcinemas_official,” she further added.

A day earlier, Ranaut had released a statement through her Instagram stories, which she followed up by a video message where she spoke about how the makers of ‘Thalaivii’ rejected offers to release the film on a streaming platform and chose to support cinemas during these stressful times by rolling out the film in theatres on September 10. However, she says she was heartbroken to learn that none of the multiplexes were willing to screen her movie, which is based on the life of the late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, J Jayalalitha.

Ranaut blamed bullying by big film studios that had struck deals with multiplexes in India, currently running at a 50 per cent capacity due to COVID-19 restrictions, to give space for their big-ticket releases and overlook the smaller films. The actress further added that ‘Thalaivii’ had been helmed on a budget of Rs900 million and was a story deserved to be seen on the big screen. Her appeal finally drew a positive response from PVR Cinemas to screen the regional language version of the film.

“‘Thalaivii’ is one of the most keenly awaited films. Also, Ms Kangana Ranaut’s acting prowess and exceptional box office pull are well-established facts. We are thankful to the Thalaivii team for offering a 4-week theatrical window for its Tamil and Telugu language versions. We are delighted to be able to play ‘Thalaivii’ in Tamil and Telugu language at our cinemas, however, we are disappointed that for the Hindi language version, the ‘Thalaivii’ team has decided to offer only a 2-week window. We would like to appeal to Ms Kangana Ranaut, Mr Vishnu Induri & Mr Shailesh Singh to keep a uniform window of 4 weeks across all language versions and therefore allow all cinemas across the country to showcase ‘Thalaivii’ to audiences, on the big screen,” the statement from PVR read.

Ranaut had earlier spoken about the difference in releasing the Hindi version over a shorter period. “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 said earlier, calling the move “unfair and cruel.”

Pankaj Tripathi, Kriti Sanon, Sai Tamhankar in 'Mimi'
Pankaj Tripathi, Kriti Sanon, Sai Tamhankar in 'Mimi' Image Credit: Netflix

With the pandemic still very much a reality in India, several production houses have opted to release their film on a streaming platform instead, with projects such as ‘Shershaah’, ‘Mimi’ and ‘Toofan’ being recent examples.

‘Thalaivii’ 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.