Chennai: There’s a great deal of money riding on Superstar Rajinikanth’s Kochadaiiyaan, the first ever Indian film made in motion capture photorealistic 3D animated technology that’s finally hitting the marquee on May 23.
Featuring Rajinikanth in a dual role with Bollywood hottie Deepika Padukone romancing him, the movie is touted to be made at a whopping budget of Rs 130 crores and the 3D flick will be released in a large number of languages, including Tamil, Telugu (Vikramasimha), Hindi, Marathi, Bhojpuri, Bengali, Punjabi and foreign languages, such as Italian, Spanish and Japanese.
To put it in the debutant director and Rajini’s daughter Soundarya Ashwin’s words, “My ambition has always been to immortalise my father and bring the legendary Rajinikanth that audiences around the world adore in an ‘avatar’ he hasn’t been seen or experienced in ever before.” The magnum opus is being released in 2D as well as 3D on 6,000 screens worldwide.
Apparently, sources say, the makers have offered theatre owners a chance to convert their screens to 3D through UFO movies for a subsidised cost of Rs 2.5 lakh. It is expected that the film will release in 3D on 140 screens and 2D on 300 screens in Tamil Nadu. Though it does cost theatre owners the extra buck, all said and done, they are confident of recovering their money since it is not an ordinary superstar movie. KC is something special.
“3D is the future of Tamil cinema. Initially, we had prints and then the cube system came. Now it is 3D. So, the exhibitors or theatre owners don’t mind adapting themselves to changing technologies. Even a theatre like Duraisamy in the rural area of Usilampatti is game for 3D conversion, hoping the Rajini film will get their cash registers ringing,” says Madurai distributor Saravana Kumar of Sruthi Combines.
Apart from the regular audio rights for KC, which Sony grabbed for a huge sum, ‘Brand Rajini’ is yet another proposition where merchandising of film properties, a new area for Tamil cinema, has seen a great deal of money having been invested. For example, Karbonn mobiles launched a smartphone series and mobile applications.
The producers have also tied up with certain net service providers where a series of games, based on Kochadaiiyaan and comic books, are to be unveiled post the film’s release so that the audiences can connect with the characters.
“We are exploring all marketing avenues as KC is not a run-of-the-mill film,” says Dr Murali Manohar, one of the producers. Considering the fact that the film has been made in various languages and is releasing as a straight film, be it in Hindi or Bhojpuri, it is learnt that the satellite rights have been sold separately for each language, including Tamil, to Jaya TV. Apart from what Jaya TV has paid for KC for grabbing the satellite rights, the film is expected to garner a sizeable income from these sources.
Kochadaiiyaan has yet another first to its business strategies. A film is usually sold to a particular distributor for foreign distribution (FMS), who, in turn, redistributes it in countries like Malaysia, Singapore, US, Canada etc. KC’s makers have departed from the normal course here too.
Reportedly, they have sold the distribution rights directly to different countries, including Japan, France and Indonesia, apart from the aforementioned countries whereby an additional income of Rs 30 to 40 crores is expected to go into the filmmakers’ pockets. Eros International also owns theatres abroad where the movie is being pitched.
Fans know no bounds
With the release of Superstar Rajinikanth’s most awaited movie just hours away, the excitement of the superstar’s fans is sky high and is eagerly waiting for the first-day-first-show. Sampath, the fans association manager who had just come back to Chennai from a Kochadaiiyaan green marathon across nine districts says, “The Green Marathon is all about spreading the happy news. But, that’s not the only thing here,” he says and adds, “we started the green marathon from Thirunelveli districts and covered nine districts along the way to reach Chennai. All along the way, we planted saplings — an indication of prosperity. We were supposed to continue the marathon within the city as well, but since it is the peak hour in the evening, we were not given the permission as we might jam the traffic. So we are going to stop the marathon at Vandaloor and will take a procession in a van and via Jyothi theatre, we will reach Udhayam theatre late in the evening where Latha Rajinikanth will be taking the flag and the jyothi from us. The Udhayam theatre is all decorated with huge cutouts of our Superstar and this time we have a cutout that is decked with laser lights.”
Rajini’s fans from Japan
Kayoko Furukawa, the consul of culture at the Japanese consulate in the city, is excited about the release of Kochadaiiyaan. “We have been waiting for a long time to watch this film. My husband Toyota was up till early morning booking tickets. Now, we shall be able to watch the film on the first weekend itself,” beams a clearly excited Kayoko.
Superstar Rajinikanth enjoys a massive fan following in Japan. This diplomat concurs. She vividly remembers the launch of yet another Rajini film back in Japan. “I think I was in college when Muthu release in Japan way back then. It was one of the very few Indian movies to release back home. There were advertisements on the television. Though I couldn’t watch the film in the cinemas, I managed to watch it on DVD. I still remember how we were very excited when we saw Rajini dance,” she says.
So, will any of her other colleagues be watching the film? “There are many who want to watch but getting the tickets, especially for the first weekend, is very difficult,” she signs off....