Dulquer Salmaan’s King of Kotha is among the most-anticipated Malayalam movies of 2023 and is the frontrunner to overtake Jailer and 2018’s box office records
For a lot of reasons, Dulquer Salmaan’s King of Kotha is among the most-anticipated Malayalam movies of 2023. The movie, which is touted to be the most expensive film in the Malayalam superstar’s career, is all the Malayalam industry can talk about these days – especially with its production team leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the people across India know that such a movie is arriving.
It also helps that Dulquer had a big release, albeit on OTT, with Netflix’s Guns and Gulaabs the past week and this has also only served to ensure that there has been a sustained hype that has been necessary for films that are mounted on a massive scale to hit it out of the park at the box office.
A release date fit for a ‘king’
This Onam, apart from the arrival of King Mahabali, Malayali audiences will also be cheering for Dulquer Salmaan’s King of Kotha. The movie, produced by the superstar’s Wayfarer Films, is billed as the one to take home the box office crown among this year’s Onam release that also include Nivin Pauly’s Ramachandra Boss and Co as well as Shane Nigam, Antony Varghese and Neeraj Madhav’s RDX. While the latter two will release a day later on August 25, King of Kotha will be the sole theatrical release in Malayalam on August 24. The movie will also be released in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi.
Trailer of Dulquer’s gangster actioner packs surprises
The team had been teasing great things about King of Kotha even before it went on production in September 2022. The first glimpses of the film hinted that it would be a period film, but it wasn’t until that makers decided to reveal the trailer in early August 2023 that the audiences could truly realise the scale at which the film was mounted.
The trailer was packed with amazing visuals and also promised action, romance and reve nge along with several characters going up against each other in the fictional town of Kotha.
King of Kotha is not just another gangster story
While the trailer of the film revealed that it’s about the rise, fall and the revenge of a gangster named Raju, the makers have been keen to emphasize that not all the story is about. The movie revolves around the town of Kotha and its people, and how Raju makes it to top as a gangster. But with the rise come the fall, with his own people apparently behind the betrayal. What forces Raju back to Kotha forms the rest of the plot.
The movie isn’t an all-out ‘mass’ action entertainer as its director Abhilash Joshiy tells us that it has emotions and strong characters – all of whom have shades of grey. “The mass sequences are married to the pivotal plot points that drive King of Kotha,” he told OTTplay.
An ensemble cast featuring actors across South
Apart from having Dulquer do his first action-oriented film in a decade, the movie also has some of the best talents across the South industries. Tamil actors Prasanna and Shabeer Kalarakkal are part of the film, which also has Gokul Suresh, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Nyla Usha, Chemban Vinod Jose, Shanthi Krishna, Anikha Surendran, Shammi Thilakan, TG Ravi and Sudhi Koppa. Reportedly, a top actor will also be playing a cameo in the film. This is yet to be officially confirmed by the makers.
King of Kotha OTT release date and partner
The movie is also co-produced by ZEE Studios. While it’s not officially confirmed, the movie, when it does get a digital release, could stream on two platforms – ZEE5 as well as another leading OTT streamer. The makers are yet to reveal which other platform will be streaming the film, or which languages will be available on each of the platforms. As per reports, King of Kotha had bagged a good deal for its OTT rights.
The film’s OTT release date will also depend on its box office performance. But it’s safe to say that King of Kotha will not be released on any OTT platform till October 2023.
An unprecedented advance booking for a Dulquer-starrer
Ever since the booking of the film, which had cleared the CBFC with an U/A certificate, the movie has witnessed unprecedented advance ticket sales, not just in Kerala, but in UAE as well. By August 21, the film had already sold over 51k tickets, grossing over 83 lakh. Trade analysts predict this to cross Rs 1 Crore a day before the film’s release on August 24. In UAE alone, around 4000 tickets have already been sold, accounting for 43 lakh from the sales. Ticket sales have also opened in Europe, which is another major overseas market for Malayalam movies.
Will King of Kotha topple Jailer and 2018’s box office records?
In 2023, the highest opening-day grosser in Kerala was Rajinikanth’s Jailer that fetched Rs 5.5 Cr. King of Kotha, with its advance ticket sales and special shows being added every day, is expected to surpass this record.
If the film’s content also matches its pre-marketing buzz, it could also be the front-runner to break Tovino Thomas and Asif Ali-starrer 2018: Everyone is A Hero’s record of being the highest grossing Malayalam movie. 2018 collected close to Rs 180 crore from worldwide box office and did business of Rs 200 crore, as per reports. Dulquer’s King of Kotha will have its sights set on that throne.