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New Delhi: Tamil film Valimai will arrive in theatres for Pongal in January 2022, the makers have confirmed. The action thriller has been directed by H. Vinoth and co-produced by Zee Studios and Boney Kapoor. It stars Ajith Kumar, Huma Qureshi, and Kartikeya Gummakonda in lead roles.

As things stand today, regional language cinema, driven by Telugu and Tamil films, could make up nearly 50% of overall box office collections, a drastic jump from the 25-30% it would bring in before the pandemic, said trade experts. The rest will be divided equally between Hindi and Hollywood (including dubbed versions) films that are yet to find their bearings after the first and second covid waves. Before the pandemic, Hindi films made up 50-60% of overall box office revenues.

After the first wave, Telugu cinema was quick to churn out money-spinners like Vakeel Saab, Jathi Ratnalu and Uppena and managed three profitable releases in the past month alone when theatres reopened after the second wave. These include SR Kalyanamandapam, Thimmarasu and Raja Raja Chopra. The industry has been most aggressive among all languages in locking dates for new star-studded titles such as Allu Arjun’s Pushpa, Prabhas’s Radhe Shyam, Mahesh Babu’s Sarkaru Vaari Paata and Pawan Kalyan’s Bheemla Nayak. Baahubali director SS Rajamouli’s next RRR is also slated for the first week of January. The Tamil industry is not too far behind with Rajinikanth-starrer Annatthe slated for Diwali.

With production budgets of more than Rs. 200 crore, several south Indian films have had to push dates to wait for all of India to reopen cinemas. These are costly projects dubbed in different languages and will require a pan-India release to recover investments. Launch of titles like SS Rajamouli’s RRR, Allu Arjun’s Pushpa, Ajith’s Valimai, Prabhas’ Radhe Shyam and Kannada period action drama KGF: Chapter 2 was delayed several times over the past few months in the wait to capture the north Indian market.

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