Actor-director Kamal Haasan on Friday said he had initiated talks with the direct-to-home (DTH) companies he had partnered to premier his new film, Vishwaroopam, on when the movie would be broadcast. On the contrary, an official from a DTH firm said the company was yet to hear from Haasan on the release. At a joint press meet in Chennai, theatre owners and distributors said they would provide more than 500 screens for Vishwaroopam in Tamil Nadu on January 25.
The movie will be released in Tamil and Telugu on January 25, while the date for the release of the Hindi version, Vishwaroop, has not been decided, said Haasan. He was speaking at a joint press meet with the Tamil Nadu Theatre Owners Association and exhibitors’ associations who had protested earlier.
Commeting on the DTH release, he said, “I am not saying that it will be a premier. I have changed my mind about having a premier for now. I can only discuss with my DTH partners and tell you when the next DTH, which should be close to the release and how close, how far is a decision we have to take.”
He added that he has started discussion with the DTH players from yesterday evening, and a decision would be taken with “Me taking the side of the film industry and thinking and they (DTH companies) taking their side and letting me know what will be suitable, we will come to an amicable conclusion and I am very sure, since I am also a partner in your distribution, will take care of both our interest while I talk to them.”
Kamal Haasan also said that he would not be able to commit whether DTH release and theatre release would be on the same day, without discussing with the DTH partners. An announcement in this regard can be expected in another around 4-5 days. “I have not said that both will be together. I said I am looking at it,” he added.
Meanwhile, he reiterated his stand on the benefits of airing the movie on DTH, saying that he will go forth with his DTH operations. “DTH is a good vision and it seems to be working. The advanced bookings in the theatres inspite of the audience knowing that there will be DTH in the previous night, has been good,” he said.
However, some of the DTH companies has started paying back the booking amount they collected from customers, for the premier which was planned to be aired on January 10, a day prior to the actual release date of the movie announced earlier.
“In line with the postponement of the DTH premiere of the movie Vishwaroopam/Vishwaroop, we have credited back the booking amount to our customers. We are awaiting confirmation from Rajkamal Films on the release date of the film on the DTH platform and will communicate the details soon,” said Shashi Arora, CEO-DTH/Media, Bharti Airtel.
R Panneerselvam, general secretary of Tamil Nadu Theatre Owners Association said that the theatre owners would release the movie in more screens than what Kamal Haasan has expected. The movie is expected to get between 500-600 theatres in Tamil Nadu, while the State has a total of around 1,200 theatres at present.
“He has made us happy, we are making him happy,” said Abhirami Ramanathan, president of theatre owners association in Chennai.
It may be noted that Kamal Haasan, in the beginning of last month, has announced that his new movie would have a DTH premier and has later announced that all the six private DTH companies – Tata Sky, Sun Direct, Airtel Digital TV, Reliance Big TV, Dish TV and Videocon d2h, which raised protest from theatre owners organisations and film distributors.