Rajinikanth’s long awaited 2.0, 2018 may be a golden year for Tamil cinema

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2018 is going to be the most exciting year for Kollywood. All major stars, including veterans like Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan, will have releases. Both did not have a 2017 release, despite being under the spotlight for their anticipated political plunge.

One of the biggest trends that emerged in 2017 was non star films with good content and offbeat subjects finding an audience. Films like Aruvi, Aramm, Maanagaram, Pa Paandi, Taramani and a few others which were not conventional commercial entertainers worked to a large extent.

The business of cinema too changed. Good content found a new market with their internet rights as they premiered on OTT’s like Amazon Prime Video within days of theatrical release.

However, Tamil commercial cinema runs on star power and its ageing superstars still have a huge market not only in Tamil Nadu but also in the growing overseas market. Today, a top star film’s business is in the range of Rs 100 to 150 crore worldwide, including all the rights. And there are enough producers to bankroll these films even though it is highly risky. 

 Rajinikanth’s 2.0 is the most eagerly awaited of the lot. The sci-fi entertainer made on a budget of Rs 450 crores is said to be India’s most expensive film. The S Shankar directed extravaganza, which also has Akshay Kumar playing the antagonist, is slated for an April 13, Tamil New Year day release in three languages – Tamil, Hindi and Telugu.

Rajiikanth, at his ongoing fan meet, said, “ I don’t think there will be another big budget movie like 2.0. It is going to be the ultimate and will be a fresh and interesting subject. Of course there will be even more expensive films in the future but I’m sure this one will be remembered for its grandeur and treatment as much as SS Vasan’s Chandralekha (1948) was for the older generation. The release of the film got delayed because of the CG work and (AR) Rahman can do the re-recording only after the final mix is ready.”

And after many years, Rajinikanh will have back to back releases. Fifty days after the release of 2.0, it will be followed by the superstar’s last venture before he joins politics — Kaala. The film directed by Pa Ranjit, who helmed the superstar’s last release Kabali (2016), is rumoured to have a storyline and dialogues which will pave Rajini’s entry into politics.  Rajinikanth said at his fan meeting, “Kaala is something totally different from my normal films. Pa Ranjith has given me an all new look.”

Meanwhile, Kamal Haasan is in the USA, completing the post-production work of his long delayed Viswaroopam 2. Kamal has said that his first priority is to complete it and get it censored. He has told his distributors that Vishwaroopam 2 will release in the first quarter of 2018 though the trade says film is mired in financial issues. It is likely to be the only Kamal Haasan film of 2018. Kamal is planning to start his next film Indian 2 with Shankar by April.

Vijay, after the stupendous success of Mersal, will start shoot for his next untitled film with AR Murgadoss from January 2018. The film is said to be a social thriller and is produced by south India’s leading television network Sun TV’s production company Sun Pictures. It is slated for a Diwali release, as the rest of the star cast is being finalised.

Ajith has announced his next film Viswasam with his favourite director Siva. The combo is once again coming together for the fourth time in what is rumoured to be a rural mass entertainer.  The shoot of the film starts in January and it is slated for a Diwali release as well.

For Suriya, 2018 is an important year. After his last two films delivered average performances at the box-office, the actor needs a big hit. The Vignesh Sivan directed Thanna Serandha Kootam a heist comedy entertainer and is slotted for a Pongal release on 12 January. A lot is riding on this film for Suriya, produced by his cousin KE Gnanavelraja of Studio Green.  Suriya also starts shooting in January end for his new film with ace director Selvaraghavan, which has Sai Pallavi and Rakul Preet Singh as his heroines. The film has been announced as a Diwali release by its producer SR Prabhu.

There are also interesting films like Dhanush’s Gautham Menon directed Ennai Noki Payyum Thotta and his Vetrimaran directed Vaada Chennai due for release in 2018. Sivakarthikeyan has Ponram directed untitled mass comedy film coming up for release in summer. Vikram has his Sketch ready for release on Pongal and his Gautham Menon film Dhruva Natchitharam for summer and Hari directed Saamy Squarecoming up on the Independence Day.

It will be a crucial year for Tamil cinema as nearly 200 big and small films are slated for release this year.