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NEW DELHI : Even as the Hindi-speaking market battles covid restrictions and delay in films, south Indian film industries are going ahead with plans. Malayalam film Super Sharanya will release in cinemas on 7 January. Directed by Girish A.D., it stars Anaswara Rajan, Arjun Ashokan, Mamitha Baiju and Nalseen K. Gafoor in lead roles.

The Malayalam film industry is seeing a slight recovery post reopening of cinemas late last year with titles such as Kurup starring Dulquer Salmaan, whose next project Salute has been scheduled for 14 January.

Kerala has been one of the worst affected by the covid-19 pandemic and the film exhibition industry in the state is estimated to have lost 500 crore in revenue. Kerala releases roughly 100-120 movies in theatres.

The state is home to about 545 theatres, including single screens and multiplexes. While several stars of the region such as Fahadh Faasil have found a ready audience on OTT (over-the-top) streaming platforms, many other films remain stuck, unable to find buyers with no clarity on whether they will find space in theatres that may not be able to accommodate and play the backlog of films that has accumulated.

While several theatres have shut shop for good, converting into automobile show rooms, many have been waiting for real estate prices to go up to be able to announce closures. While many audiences have discovered the charm of Malayalam cinema on video streaming platforms, trade experts say these titles were primarily being snapped up by three major players—Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ Hotstar.

A film starring Fahadh Faasil or Mohanlal may be paid even close to 20 crore today, depending on the appeal of the content and an average Malayalam film, too, will be picked up for 4 crore- 5 crore, making good money for the producer. But for every one film that an OTT platform chooses, it rejects five, industry executives say.

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