The Priyadarshan directorial, which was initially set for a theatrical release, was later announced to be a direct-to-OTT release after discussions with theatre owners failed last week
Mohanlal’s Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham will release directly in theatres on December 2 and not on OTT as its producer Antony Perumbavoor had earlier announced.
Talking to OTTplay, Kerala Film Chamber of Commerce president Anil V Thomas says that the preview of Mohanlal’s Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham in Chennai on December 9 coupled with Kerala government’s pressure and the massive bookings of Dulquer Salmaan’s Kurup seem to have changed the mind of producer Antony Perumbavoor to opt back for a theatrical release for Priyadarshan’s magnum opus.
“After the preview, everyone was unanimous in saying that the film must be released in theatres and not on OTTs,” he says. “While the modalities of the release will be announced soon, it’s confirmed that the film will hit theatres either on December 2 or December 3.”
The change in decision to screen the movie in theatres will come as a huge relief for theatre owners. Film Exhibitors United Organisation of Kerala (FEUOK) president K Vijayakumar tells us, "The movie will release on December 2. Antony has not asked for any special request, but the Kerala Film Chamber and producers will be trying to push other releases by two weeks so Marakkar gets a good run."
Ask him if what must have prompted Antony's change of heart and Vijayakumar, who along with other members of FEUOK had earlier rejected the producer's request to guarantee minimum run of 21 days, says, "It could have been many reasons including the response for Kurup. But above all, it could also have been our prayers for a big movie like Marakkar to release in theatres."
Last week, several big OTT platforms including Amazon Prime Video were in discussions to release Marakkar on their platform. Kerala Film Producers Association official G Suresh Kumar tells us, "There was a huge pressure from a lot of people and both Priyadarshan and Mohanlal too decided to push for a theatrical release. Antony was hesitant at first because he wasn't sure whether people could come back to theatres at 50% capacity. But Kurup's phenomenal response seems to have influenced this decision. The discussions with the Cultural Minister today also helped in making the right decision."
The movie, which has Mohanlal playing Kunjali Marakkar IV, is the most expensive Malayalam film and had won this year's National Award for Best Feature Film. It also stars Manju Warrier, Suniel Shetty, Arjun Sarja, Prabhu, Keerthy Suresh, Pranav Mohanlal and Kalyani Priyadarshan.