Mohanlal in Marakkar
Mohanlal in Marakkar Image Credit: IMDb

After weeks of negotiations with theatre owners, the 2020 National Award-winning Malayalam movie ‘Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham’ (Marakkar: Lion of the Arabian Sea), will be released on a streaming platform.

The Mohanlal-starrer’s producer Antony Perumbavur made the announcement on Friday following discussions with the Kerala Film Chamber and Producers Association to secure a theatrical release for the movie.

Speaking to media persons, Perumbavur said he was left with no option but to move ahead with a digital release for his film. “I have tried my best and conducted several rounds of negotiations. Nothing has resulted from them and I have no choice other than to release the movie on an OTT [over-the-top or streaming] platform.”

The film bagged three Indian National Awards for 2020 — Best Feature Film, Best Special Effects and Best Costume.

The movie, it is reliably learnt, will premiere on Amazon Prime Video around Christmas. Perumbavur added that Mohanlal’s five upcoming movies produced by him will also be released on streaming platforms.

The Film Exhibitors United Organisation of Kerala (FEUOK) office-bearers, however, had a different version to offer.

“We had guaranteed 500 screens and Rs15 crore [Rs150 million] as the minimum guarantee. When the producer still backs out, it means he has entered into some sort of a deal with certain OTT platforms,” FEOUK President Anchal Vijayakumar told media.

Perumbavur countered this version of the story by pointing out that only 89 theatres had agreed to the demands put forth by him. He also denied that he had taken Rs40 crore [Rs400m] as advance from theatre owners.

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Mohanlal in 'Marakkar' Image Credit: GN Archives

Made on a bugdet of Rs1 billion, the most expensive Malayalam film ever produced, features Mohanlal in the title role and its star cast includes Suniel Shetty, Arjun Serja, Manju Warrier, Keerthy Suresh, Kalyani Priyadarshan, Pranav Mohanlal, Innocent, Siddik, the late Nedumudi Venu, and several other prominent names of the South Indian film industry.

The historical film, which is directed by Priyadarshan, is set in the 16th century and recounts the adventures of Kunjali Marakkar IV, naval commander of the then ruler of Kozhikode (Calicut), known to the world as the Zamorin. Marakkar and his men defended the Malabar coast against Portuguese forces who had followed in the wake of Vasco Da Gama.

Shooting for the film started in December 2018 and was completed in March 2019. It was mostly shot in the Ramoji Film Studios, Hyderabad.