2018 Malayalam MOVIE
A still from the Malayalam movie '2018'. Image Credit: Supplied

To celebrate the blockbuster success of Malayalam film ‘2018’, its principal cast and crew including Malayalam actors Tovino Thomas, Asif Ali, Kunchacko Boban, Vineeth Sreenivasan and Aparna Balamurali will be in the UAE on June 4 to interact with their fans.

The interaction, meant for fans at the Dalma Mall in Abu Dhabi on Sunday starting 5pm, will also see its director Jude Anthany Joseph, and actors Tanvi Ram, Narain, Lal mingle with their regional fan base.

A day before, the actors will also be at the Sharjah Expo in the evening to interact with their army of admirers. 

‘2018’, a dramatised version of the Kerala floods that rocked the South Indian state that year and its real-life heroes who sprang into action to save lives, did stupendous box-office business in the UAE.

2018 Malayalam MOVIE
Actor Asif Ali in '2018' Image Credit: Phars Films

According to Ahmad Golchin, the Founder & Chairman of the Phars Film Group, the company that has distributed this film in this region, the Tovino Thomas-led disaster epic collected over Dh19.5 million across the Middle East.

“I didn’t expect this film to set the box-office on fire, but it surpassed all our calculations making it a money-spinner among Malayalam films,” said Golchin in an interview with Gulf News over the phone. The film’s success reminds him of how the iconic Hollywood classic ‘Titanic’ was received at the box-office in 1997.

“Just like how the Hollywood epic ‘Titanic’ went onto become a mammoth hit worldwide, this film shows a similar pattern. This is India’s Titanic. I remember how I bought ‘Titanic’ for $14,000 (Dh51,420.6) and it went on to do over $2 million (Dh7.34 million) business in this region. ‘2018’ is going to follow a similar success trajectory at the box-office,” added Golchin.

Godfather of UAE cinemas: The legacy of Ahmad Golchin
Ahmad Golchin Image Credit: Supplied

Chuffed by ‘2018’ box-office success, Golchin also revealed that he intends to release the Hindi version of the Malayalam hit next week in this region.

“We want the film to be watched by non-Malayalis too. The Hindi version which will be released will have a two-hour running time and is slightly shorter than the original,” said Golchin.

The Malayalam-language version, ‘2018’, which released in the UAE cinemas on May 5 continues to enjoy a bullish run at the box-office injecting hope for Malayalam films and their commercial success.

Abu Dhabi’s Dalma Mall isn’t their only pit-stop.

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On June 3, the same cast and crew of ‘2018’ will also be at the Sharjah Expo in the evening.

“All the main talents from the film will meet around 6,000 fans at the Sharjah Expo. This is free-to-attend event and will see more than 60 cast and crew members of ‘2018’ interact with their fans,” said Nissar Syed, Managing Director of Asiavision, and organiser of the event. He added that arrangements have been made to welcome at least 6,000 fans at that venue.

In an earlier interview with Gulf News during the release of the film, actor Tovino Thomas called it his career’s most challenging projects.

2018 Malayalam MOVIE
Malayalam actor Tovino Thomas. Image Credit: Supplied

“This was a very challenging film to shoot. It’s not one of those films where I am sitting in a room and conversing, and a tale is drawn around characters. We were all aware that this film ‘2018’ had to be visually stunning... Recreating those heavy rains and submerged homes wasn’t easy, and you also need to remember our budget constraints,” said Tovino. This self-made actor, who is known for his blockbusters ‘Mayanadhi’ and ‘Minnal Murali’, also pointed out that Malayalam films are legendary for making stirring and powerful films on limited budgets. Unlike Bollywood and Hollywood films where budget allocation begins on a steep and wider berth, Malayalam filmmakers rely on sturdy storylines and talented actors to do the heavy lifting.

“For instance, a Hollywood disaster film like ‘2012’ was a visual spectacle with a budget [of millions of dollars]. We are making ‘2018’ for the infinitesimal fraction of the cost but having said that the budget is modest when you compare it to other Malayalam films. Yet the truth is that we had to battle many constraints,” said Thomas.

But his struggle seems to have paid off.

Both events are free.