The Hindi rendition (Vishwaroop) of Kamal Haasan‘s ambitious tri-lingual would just have to wait for the imbroglio with the cinema exhibitors in North India to end.
Kamal Haasan has sorted out the matter in the South and the film is all set for a January 25 release in the South. The Hindi version, we hear, won’t be released until the film’s Mumbai distributors Balaji Films find a correct release date. January 25 is unsuitable for the Hindi release, as Abbas-Mustan’s multi-starrer Race 2, also an adventure thriller like Vishwaroop releases the same day.
Confirming these developments Kamal Haasan says, “We’re going ahead with the release of the Tamil and Telugu versions on January 25, much in the same way as it was to be released on January 11. The release of the Hindi edition would have to be done in collusion with my Mumbai distributors Balaji Films.”
The South Indian distributors and exhibitors have agreed to go by Kamal Haasan’s decision on the DTH telecast. But the time separating the DTH telecast from the theatrical release would now have to be narrowed further.
Says Kamal Haasan, “DTH would no longer be the preferred platform of viewing the film. It should be an alternative platform. So the time margin between the DTH telecast and theatrical release would be less than before. The Southern distributors and exhibitors have left it to me. They came to my office in Chennai and said they regret their earlier defiant stand. They have come around fully.”
The Northern distributors and exhibitors, however, remain unmoved.
Says Kamal Haasan, “We have to sort it out. Certain multiplex chains are tough nuts to crack. I am just a poor squirrel which doesn’t know how to crack these nuts. I have no time to feel pressurized. There’s much work ahead before the Tamil-Telugu release.”
Responding to the angry fans and viewers who felt cheated at the film’s postponement at the last minute, Kamal Haasan says, “I apologize to them. But I am also suffering. I’ve been spending sleepless nights. And this isn’t the first time that a film has been postponed at the last minute. Films of mine in the past have been announced and pulled out due to technical reasons. And by the way, those who are raising objections may not really be fans of my cinema. They may be using the DTH issue to settle scores.”
Kamal Haasan’s DTH partners are also upset. “My DTH partners are saying if we push the theatrical release too close to the DTH premiere they’d suffer losses. We would have to take them into confidence about the time lag between the DTH and theatrical release. I want to perceive the DTH move as a step forward in the movie-viewing experience. When we went digital no one asked the exhibitors, distributors about it. The laboratory cartel didn’t stop it. When I introduced the Avid camera into Tamil cinema the entire industry said we were doomed. But I insisted. Technological advancement, whether the Avid camera or the DTH movie-viewing experience, can’t be stopped. Movies are my life. How come that’s taken as a blemish in me? When a farmer says farming is his life no one frowns at him.”
Henceforth the DTH facility would apply to all his starrers. “Any monetization from me would never be a one-off effort. Not just my own films, I hope the films of all my colleagues would take the DTH route. The statutory warning needn’t be, ‘Innovation Is Injurious to Health.'”