American studios are now seeking fresh territories to produce and distribute cinema. And they have in recent years realised that to make inroads into countries like India, English language films are not quite the answer. Even versions dubbed in Hindi or Bengali or Tamil or Telugu have not fared well in the past. The movies which make the greatest box-office impact are those made in Indian languages. And we have been seeing that: multiplexes in urban India are full of regional (Hindi, Tamil, Telugu) cinema.
Fox Star Studios has now begun to expand, and this quest is happily taking it beyond Bollywood. It has just signed a two-film deal with Tamil producer C.V. Kumar’s Thirukumaran Entertainment. Titled Mundasupatti and V. Chitram, they are scheduled for 2014 release.
In recent times, Kumar hit the headlines with his Tamil work, Pizza (2012), a horror story wheeled on crime and the supernatural. Two years before that, he entered the cinema scene with the low-budget Attakathi. His 2013 Soodhu Kavvum, also a horror work though with a liberal dose of comedy, had some critics giving it a thumbs-up. Kumar is now working on Pizza 2 in an era of increasing sequels. (Kahaani 2, and maybe Special 26- 2).
A Madurai boy -- who came to Chennai (not Mumbai) to try his luck in cinema, learning animation, sound design and script writing before his family’s travel business took him to Los Angeles where he fell in love with Matrix and The Lord of the Rings – Kumar made up his mind then, on American soil, to produce motion pictures.
“Kumar has proven himself as one of the market leaders who is high-concept driven with budget conscious — qualities that resonate well with our brand” said Vijay Singh, CEO of Fox Star Studios on Tuesday.
“We are focused on increasing our presence in the Tamil movie industry, as we have done in the Hindi industry,” averred Singh. “While we have extended our successful association in Tamil (with A.R. Murugadoss) to Hindi as well, we are also increasing our footprint in the Tamil industry by partnering with C.V. Kumar’s Thirukumaran Entertainment.
Fox will have Murugadoss’ “Raja Rani,” and debutant Rajumurugan’s Cuckoo popping out of the Tamil basket in the coming months.
Fox’s foray into Tamil cinema has not been fantastic. It has only had moderate success with “Engeyum Epothom” and “Vathikuchi.”