Cinemas in Tamil Nadu may well see a battle of the box-office this week as three major films open today. Two of these are in Tamil.
The Karthi-starrer Biriyani, helmed by Venkat Prabhu, is a thrilling black comedy - similar to some of the movies we have seen in recent months, like Moodar Kootam and Soodhu Kavvum. These were critically acclaimed.
Unlike Moodar Kootum and Soodhu Kavvum, Biriyani has a well-known cast - Karthi (essaying a playboy) and Hansika Motwani (as a journalist). Biriyani, which, according to the promos, is all about how the life of a man changes after he tucks in a plate of biriyani, is set to hit 1000 screens worldwide, and will also be released in a Telugu version.
Actor Jiva's Endrendrum Punnagai, also in Tamil, has an impressive lineup of stars as well -- Trisha, Andrea and Santhanam. Directed by Ahmed (Vaamanan), the film is supposedly a comic romance, also dealing with father-son relationship. To open in 260 screens in Tamil Nadu, Endrendrum Punnagai comes with a U/A certificate and has been set to music by Harris Jayaraj.
A still from Endrendrum Punnagai.
Pitted against these two Tamil movies is Aamir Khan's Dhoom 3.
Made by Vijay Krishna Acharya, the revenge and robbery thriller also stars Abhishek Bachchan and Katrina Kaif -- with Khan playing a negative character in the third installment of the franchise. In Tamil alone, the movie is opening with 150 prints.
In a State like Tamil Nadu - where Hindi cinema has never been a competitor of consequence to the home-grown fare, Dhoom 3 appears to have taken this market dynamics into consideration by coming out with a Tamil and Telugu version as well, dubbed of course.
One is not sure how Tamil audiences will welcome an Aamir or an Abhishek or a Katrina lisping Tamil. It may well look odd, as Hollywood found to its dismay in the past; it did not quite work when a Tom Cruise or an Angelina Jolie was speaking Hindi or Tamil.
I have been wondering why production houses do not think of subtitling their films - to begin with in English. Today, most movies make their money in the first or sometimes in the second weekend, and usually in urban multiplexes. Gone are the days when a film ran for weeks on end in a big city before travelling to smaller cities and towns. Now, multiplex audiences are adept in the English language, and are perfectly capable of reading subtitles, which do not cost much these days. Surely, producers can make a few English subtitled prints for city viewers, and this way one can sit in Delhi and watch a Tamil movie or a Bengali work in Thiruvananthapuram or Chennai in the original language.