Good times appear to be back for the Malayalam film industry after it had hit rough weather following the COVID-19 pandemic.
The revival of fortunes occurred after the Kerala government permitted 100% occupancy from February-end onwards. As per the estimates of the Film Exhibitors’ United Organisation of Kerala (FEUOK), Amal Neerad’s Bheeshma Parvam, Dijo Jose Antony’s Jana Gana Mana, and K. Madhu’s CBI 5: The Brain have set the cash registers ringing at the box office.
“The crowds and cheers have returned to the cinema theatres. Actor Mammootty’s Bheeshma Parvam had a gross collection of around ₹60 crore to ₹65 crore in Kerala alone. Prithviraj’s Jana Gana Mana is going strong, with a gross collection of ₹30 crore in the State so far, while CBI 5: The Brain has earned a State gross collection of ₹20 crore,” said K. Vijayakumar, president, FEUOK.
The box-office run is not limited to Malayalam movies as distributors of films in other languages dubbed into Malayalam are also laughing all the way to the bank. M. Renjith, president of the Kerala Film Producers Association (KFPA), pointed out that Prashanth Neel’s Yash-starrer KGF: Chapter 2 has already earned a distributor share of about ₹25 crore from cinema theatres across the State. The post-pandemic situation seems favourable for all the stakeholders in the industry,” he said.
On the renewed momentum on the production front, Mr. Renjith said an average 20 to 25 new movies are being registered with the KFPA every month. “Moreover, there is a steady line up of new releases scheduled for theatre release. The yearly average count of films releasing in Malayalam is around 200. People still consider watching movies in cinema halls as perhaps the cheapest form of entertainment even amidst the rising inflation,” he said.
Content is king
Trade bodies claimed that there has been a drop in the digital-first release of Malayalam movies compared to the pandemic times. G. Sureshkumar, president of the Kerala Film Chamber of Commerce, said that the majority of the producers is opting for theatrical releases instead of direct premiere on OTT platforms.