WunderBar Films has filed a case in Karnataka HC seeking a direction to allow and also provide security for the screening of Kaala
Banning of films is not new to the Indian film industry and the latest victim of this censorship is Rajinikanth’s Kaala, which is due for release on June 7.
While the film is creating a lot of buzz overseas with Kaala releasing in as many as 322 locations in US, the highest for a Tamil movie, the film will not see the light of day in Karnataka.
And why is that?
After the results of Karnataka assembly elections were announced last month, Rajinikanth reportedly said whichever government comes to power should work towards releasing Cauvery waters. This comment didn’t go down well with pro-Kannada activists, which resulted in banning of the film in the state.
Film production and distribution company WunderBar Films, which was established by actor Dhanush and his wife Aishwarya, has filed a case in Karnataka High Court, seeking a direction to allow as well as provide security for screening of Kaala in the state.
According to petitioners, the movie is made on a budget of Rs 140 crore and they are expecting gross revenue of Rs 15 -20 crore from Karnataka alone.
Rajinikanth has a huge fan base in Karnataka, especially in Bengaluru and Kolar, where there is a considerable Tamil population. But the 67-year-old actor's comments on the Cauvery issue have often made him the target of pro-Kannada organisations. This time, his film suffers too.
Kaala is the second movie this year to witness a ban after Sanjay Leela Bhansali directorial Padmaavat was banned in four states. Although Padmaavat went on to become the highest grossing film of 2018 as of now, the makers and those involved with the movie bore the brunt of protests by members of fringe group, Karni Sena.
The film did not release in as many as 300 screens and Inox alone lost out on 140 screens due to the ban.
But when a film faces ban, it is the industry that suffers. In case of Padmaavat, the delay in the film’s release resulted in a lot of reshuffling of film schedules, which in turn impacted the business of those films.
Kaala is considered to be one of the biggest Tamil releases this year and any kind of roadblock will not only impact the film’s business but also affect the contribution of the Tamil industry in overall collection of the Indian film industry.
The Tamil film industry already showed de-growth last year with net domestic collections falling by 5 percent, from Rs 996 crore in 2016 to Rs 946 crore in 2017, according to an EY report.For Tamil cinema, footfalls also dropped from 14 crore in 2016 to 12.6 crore in 2017.