2011 was troublesome for Malayalam films

New Delhi: Bring in novel themes and reap success will be the mantra of the filmmakers when it comes to celebrating the new year, as 2011 is an eye-opener for many of them. Most of the films, including those with superstars in the lead roles and that of hitmakers, failed to attract huge crowds to cinema halls.

According to the details provided by the Producers’ Association, this year 95 films had a theatrical release in Kerala. This includes six movies dubbed from other languages. All the films have collectively raked in a meager Rs 120 crore and the loss that the industry incurred in 2011 is roughly estimated at Rs 300 crore.

According to trade analysts, Rs 120 crore is not just from net collection alone, but mainly from the satellite rights which is the major source of revenue. And interestingly, the lion’s share of the net collection came from 15 to 20 movies and the rest vanished without a whimper.

2011 was troublesome for Malayalam films

The Producers’ Association has not crowned any film with the mega hit tag in 2011. Two movies – ‘Salt’n’Pepper’, directed by Ashiq Abu, and ‘Seniors’ directed by Vysakh – are in the super hit category. Five movies were declared hits – ‘Traffic’, directed by Rajesh Pillai, ‘Makeup Man’ by Shafi, T K Rajeevkumar’s ‘Rathinirvedam’, Joshiy’s ‘Christian Brothers’ and ‘China Town’ by Rafi Mecartin. ‘Seniors’ fetched a distributor’s share of Rs 4.20 crore.

Meanwhile, ‘Salt’n’Pepper’ bagged Rs 3.5 crore as distributor’s share. The production cost, including print and publicity, of ‘Salt’n’pepper’ was Rs 2.5 crore and the movie reached the safe zone from theatre collection alone.

‘Traffic’ made a business of more than Rs 4 crore from theatre collection and satellite rights. The production cost of the movie was Rs 2.75 crore. The surprise package of 2011 was ‘Rathinirvedam’. The film bagged a distribution share of Rs 2.5 crore and satellite right of Rs 1.75 crore. Completed on a budget of Rs 1.40 crore (excluding print and publicity), it is one of the top grossers of 2011.

‘Makeup Man’ produced by Rajaputra Renjith attained the hit status by collecting Rs 3.04 crore as the distributor’s share. It also got Rs 2.25 crore as satellite right. The production cost of the movie is estimated at Rs 4.5 crore. The multi-starrers ‘China Town’ and ‘Christian Brothers’ have got nearly Rs 5.5 crore as distributors’ share.

According to the association, the production cost of both movies is estimated at Rs 8 crore and with the satellite and overseas rights, these movies are expected to reach the breakeven level.

August Cinema’s ‘Urumi’ also got a decent theatre run and reportedly fetched over Rs 5 crore from theatres as distributor’s share. ‘Indian Rupee’ reportedly bagged Rs 2.5 crore as distributor’s share so far. However, the collection figures for both films are not available with the association.

Sameer Thahir’s debut movie ‘Chappa Kurissu’ also reached the break-even level, courtesy the comparatively low-production cost. V K Prakash’s ‘Beautiful’ is another movie that is expected to reach the break-even level. However, the superstar movies ‘Venicele Vyapari’ and ‘Arabiyum Ottakom P Madhavan Nairum’, released in December, are evoking mixed response and fetching average collections. “It is small budget movies that worked this year. Most of the big budget movies released in 2011 went for a toss. Some movies even failed to recover the cost that was spent for printing the posters. The only way for the industry to survive is to control the production cost and come up with novel themes,” says KSFDC chairman and producer Sabu Cheriyan.

Singer of the Year (male): Vijay Yesudas

Vijay Yesudas’ soothing voice and the emotions he rendered to the song ‘Ee puzhayum, sandhyakalum neela mizhi ithalukalum’ in the movie ‘Indian Rupee’ makes him the singer of the year. He has another major hit in the retro mix of ‘Oru madhurakkinavin lahariyiletho’ in the movie ‘Theja Bhai and Family.’

Singer of the Year (female): Shreya Ghoshal

With more than half a dozen notable songs in her kitty, Shreya Ghoshal is the female playback singer of 2011. Her hits include Vidooramee yathra (‘Khaddama’), Kannoram chinkaram (‘Rathinirvedam’), Kaanamullaal (‘Salt’n’Pepper’), Kannodu kannoram (‘Veeraputhran’), Paattil ee paattil (‘Pranayam’) and Avanithumbi (‘Snehaveedu’).

Movie of the year: Traffic

A bold attempt, breaking the barriers of stardom, ‘Traffic’ (released in January) is undoubtedly the ‘Movie of the Year’. The film, told in a non-linear way, is about the attempt by a police constable under suspension to successfully transport a heart to another city for transplantation. Scripted by Bobby-Sanjay team and directed by Rajesh Pillai, the movie also saw the birth of a new producer Listin Stephen and a cinematographer Shyju Khalid. The success of ‘Traffic’ not only prompted the majority of the directors in Malayalam cinema to come up with novel themes, but also gave them the courage to experiment new subjects.

Actor of the year: Prithviraj

With nine films to his credit, including three extended cameo roles, Prithviraj had a good run this year. When the majority of the superstars failed to deliver, the young actor succeeded in coming out with some class performances. While acting in commercial flicks like ‘Indian Rupee’ and ‘Urumi’, he found time to be part of ‘Veettilekkulla Vazhi’, a good art-house production.

Actress of the year: Shwetha Menon

After winning the State Award in 2009, Shwetha Menon started to be more selective. The year 2011 saw five films of her hitting the screens. Her movies – the new version of ‘Rathinirvedam’ and ‘Salt ‘n’ Pepper’ turned to be super hits. She also did notable roles in ‘August 15’ and ‘City of God’.

Director of the year: Rajesh Pillai

Rajesh Pillai made a strong comeback through his ‘pathbreaker’ movie ‘Traffic’, after his maiden venture ‘Hridayathil Sookshikkan’ (2005) bombed at the box office. He scripted a success story without the help of any superstars and proved that subject is the real hero.

Villain of the year: Jagathy Sreekumar

Once applauded for his comedy roles, Jagathy Sreekumar is now on an image makeover.

Chenichery Kurup, portrayed by Jagathy in ‘Urumi’, reveals the range of his acting skill. The experienced actor in Jagathy portrays the muti-faceted villainous character with elan, thereby making it one of the notable characters of 2011.

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