Kangana Ranaut's Thalaivi will be released in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu.
The trailer has been launched and the countdown for one of the most awaited films of this year has begun. Kangana Ranaut's Thalaivi is said for a theatre release on April 23 and if all goes to plan, it could be a watershed moment for the Indian box office.
Some big releases are also lined up around the same time. Akshay Kumar's Sooryavanshi is slated for release on April 30. Salman Khan and John Abraham will slug it out on Eid (May 13) with Radhe and Satyameva Jayate 2, respectively. But it is Kangana’s Thalaivi, a biopic on late Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa, which would be watched with great interest when the trilingual sees the most spread out release since Master.
There are two reasons why AL Vijay-directed political drama can do what not many films have managed to do so far.
First, the trailer indicates that the film written by KV Vijayendra Prasad (Baahubali series, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Manikarnika), Madhan Karky (Baahubali, Enthiran, 2.0) and Rajat Arora (Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai, The Dirty Picture, Kick, Gabbar Is Back) would have a healthy dose of drama, dialogues and clap-worthy moments that go down well with the theatre-going public. The film looks to be high on cinematic quotient and designed to work best when seen with a crowd.
Second, the film is the only big-budget film since Master that is aimed at a pan-India market, with releases in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu.
When Master was released, theatres were operating at only half the capacity but still, the film went on to do a business of more than Rs 150 crore in theatres and primarily in the south. Even though the north market didn't contribute much, it was Vijay's stardom coupled with the film's mass appeal that made it possible.
Though Kangana is a Bollywood actor, what works for the film’s release in Tamil and Telugu is that it is based on the life of Jayalalithaa, an actor-turned-politician who was hugely popular. Affectionately referred to as Amma (mother), Jayalalithaa was also Puratchi Thalaiv (revolutionary leader) for her supporters and the film should get a good audience in the south as well.
The north, however, could be a problem. The second wave of coronavirus is hammering India, especially Maharashtra, which is one of the biggest cinema markets, with daily infections rising at a record pace. Mumbai is particularly hit hard. The film releases in a month and it is expected that by then infections will begin to decline.
As the audience in the southern parts of the country doesn’t seem to mind going to cinema halls, Thalaivi should be able to attract considerable footfalls.
This is something that the film’s makers—Zee Studios, Vishnu Vardhan Induri and Shailesh R Singh—are well aware of. Thalaivi is the only film to be released that week, which means screens would be readily available.
In the Hindi segment, Thalaivi will come two weeks after the release of Amitabh Bachchan and Emraan Hashmi's Chehre, which comes out on April 9. So screens and show timings won't be a problem.
So far, things seem nicely lined up for Thalaivi and there is enough ammunition for the promotion and marketing of the film. The promo has done the trick and the four times National Award winner Kangana has shown once again that she can elevate a film with her presence. With a little help from the south, Thalavi could well be Bollywood’s comeback film.