On the face of it, Malayalam film industry seems to be booming with a record number of 90 releases, out of which 12 are dubbed from other languages. It means there have been 78 straight releases, 18 more than last year’s 60 releases. But out of 78 films, only 10 films will either recover their costs or make profits. The hit ratio has come down this year to approximately 12 percent against 2008’s 15 percent, which clearly means more number of releases, higher the flop ratio!
Though the big budget epic Pazhassi Raja is the years highest grossing film (Rs 18 crore till December 24), it has been small films made on a shoe string budget that has worked big time at the box-office. Films like 2 Harihar Nagar, Makante Achan, Ivar Vivahatirayal, Neelathamara, Gulumaal feature in the hit list.
Most shocking aspect has been the failure of M & M films. Mohanlal had a nightmare year at the Kerala box-office as all his six releases could not recover their investments from theatrical collections! Though two of them Sagar alias Jacky & Ividam Swargamanu will break even if other revenue streams like television, DVD and Overseas rights are taken into consideration.
Mammootty had a far better year. Among his eight releases, Pazhassi Raja is the years biggest grosser, while Chattambinadu released at the fag end of the year has taken a good opening and may turn out to be a hit. According to a distributor: “ M & M are on the decline. Just because they act in a film it does not mean it will take an opening. Those days are over as today even their fans are not supporting their film if the content is bad.”
“Small is beautiful” is the message emanating from Kerala box-office. Films made at a cost of Rs 1.50 to Rs 2.25 crore are the real winners of the year, while big budget films above Rs 3.50 crore have all bombed! There have also been good films with different content like Brahmaram, Paleri Manikam, Kerala Café, Vairam etc which has been critically acclaimed but has not been able to click due to bad marketing and lack of multiplexes in Kerala.
HIT LIST- 2009*
1. Highest Grossing Film of the year- Pazhassi Raja- Super Hit
2. 2 Harihar Nagar- Super Hit
3. Makante Achan- Super Hit
4. Puthiya Mugham- Super Hit
5. Bhagyadevatha- Super Hit
6. Ivar Vivahitarayal- Hit
7. Gulumaal- Hit
8. Passenger- Hit
9. Neela Thamara- Hit
10. Chattambinadu*- Good Opening
* The hit list has been compiled only on the basis of theatrical collections in Kerala. The other rights like Television, Audio, DVD, and Overseas has not been taken into consideration.
* Chattambinadu which released on December 24, is in the list due to its opening. But early days to determine how big the film turns out to be in the final analysis.
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