MUMBAI: With World Health Organisation declaring COVID-19 a pandemic, cinema, OTT and television production the world over have been adversely hit, and the thriving south Indian film industry is no exception. The Tamil and Telugu film industries, which account for a sizeable chunk of box-office revenues annually, have witnessed the postponing of film releases and shooting, with artistes, filmmakers and technicians ensuring caution over commerce.
Theatres are shut, and films will release only after the situation is calmer. Among films that have been directly hit is Mohan Krishna Indraganti's film "V", starring Nani, Sudheer Babu, Nivetha Thomas and Aditi Rao Hydari, which was set to hit the screens on March 25. The makers will now announce have to announce a new release date.
Hemanth Madhukar's "Nishabdham", starring Anushka Shetty and Madhavan is another film that has been pushed. Rana Daggubati's ambitious jungle adventure, which was to release as "Kaadan" in Tamil and "Aranya" in Telugu was scheduled to open on April 2. The film, which also had a Hindi version titled "Haathi Mere SaathI", now stands postponed indefinitely.
Shooting schedules have been badly hit, too. Naga Chaitanya's "Love Story" as well as his father Nagarjuna's "Wild Dogs" are both said to be put on hold.
A major shoot that has been cancelled for now is the "Baahubali" franchise director SS Rajamouli's next biggie, "RRR". The ambitious film stars Ram Charan and Jr. NTR with Bollywood stars Alia Bhatt and Ajay Devgn. Irish actors Ray Stevenson and Alison Doody also feature in prominent roles in the film. The film might not release in January 2021, as was being said.
Films that were already released have also suffered. In Tamil Nadu, Harish Kalyan's "Dharala Prabhu", which released last Friday, will be re-released when the theatres reopen. The actor took to social media to pen an emotional note thanking audience for the love and support given to his film, which managed to get a theatrical run of only a few days.
The Tamil industry is indeed concerned because the weeks ahead had a big line-up for the fans featuring several superstars. These include Vijay's "Master", Suriya's "Soorarai Pottru", Dhanush's "Jagame Thandhiram", which were set to release in April. These films will now have to settle for fresh release date.
The Tamil Nadu government on Monday declared complete shutdown of educational institutions, malls, theatres, bars, swimming pools, museums and zoos across the in order to contain the spread of COVID-19.