Floods leave the Malayalam film industry reeling
New Delhi: The thriving Malayalam film industry has also been affected by what has been referred to as the worst floods in the history of Kerala in the last 94 years. The unusually high rains that lasted most of August saw movie theatres shut for eight days, shootings cancelled and technical equipment disrupted. Losses for the movie industry stand somewhere close to ₹30 crore with major film releases stalled for a month.
“For the first time in the history of the Malayalam film industry, there were no releases for the biggest festival weekend, Onam,” said independent trade analyst Sreedhar Pillai. “For Kerala, Onam is as big as Diwali is for north India.”
Nivin Pauly’s epic period drama Kayamkulam Kochunni, Mammootty’s comedy Oru Kuttanadan Blog, director Amal Neerad’s horror thriller Varathan and Biju Menon’s comedy Padayottam were some of the big-ticket films slated for release between 15 and 24 August. Industry experts say they together had the potential to earn anywhere between ₹150 -200 crore had festivities gone on as usual. Nearly ₹75 crore rides on these films as of now with interest cost mounting at 10% a month.
Meanwhile, the Hindi and Hollywood films that did release in the state because they had already hit screens elsewhere in the country, registered dismal occupancy for obvious reasons. Akshay Kumar’s Gold, an Independence Day release, has made about ₹1.62 crore from the Tamil Nadu/Kerala region. John Abraham’s Satyameva Jayate has earned ₹63 lakh. Even Tamil movies have seen a beating. A film that would have ideally made ₹20 lakh in Kerela has ended up with ₹5-6 lakh.
Kerala is the fastest growing film market in south India, with a hit film making anywhere between ₹20-25 crore from around 400 screens. The situation, in this case, is grave for exhibitors, especially single screens that abound in the state and are owned by individuals.
Experts emphasise that nobody in Kerala has had business on their mind for a while and the only priority has been to get life back on track. Movie releases resume this Friday.