The Kerala theatre owners’ body talked about drawing up restrictions against actors who are consistently releasing their movies on OTT platforms
After revoking the ‘ban’ enforced on Dulquer Salmaan last month for releasing Salute directly on OTT, Federation of Exhibitors United Organisation of Kerala (FEUOK) took a shot at Tovino Thomas and Suriya, whose Minnal Murali, Jai Bhim and Soorari Pottru released on OTTs.
All three films had won widespread acclaim not just across from the Indian audience but also globally, with Tovino’s Minnal Murali trending in several countries including in Latin America and Africa when it released on Netflix in December 2021. This, however, seems to be lost on FEUOK officials, who in their general body meeting, said that they would be imposing restrictions against actors who would be opting for OTT releases.
“It’s the right of the producers to decide which platform to release their movies on. But stars have also faced the ill effects of opting for OTT releases,” said FEUOK president G Vijayakumar, at a press meet in Kochi on Thursday. “Stars, whose movies haven’t given the theatrical experience to the viewers, don’t have a place in the minds of the audience. Suriya is the biggest example. His recent movie (Etharkkum Thunindhavan) was one of his best but people didn’t come to the theatres.”
The official also brought up Tovino’s name and cited the example of his latest film Naradan, which was directed by Aashiq Abu and hit theatres on March 3. “Tovino Thomas worked the hardest in his career for Minnal Murali. But do you think he got any benefit from releasing it on OTT?” asked Vijayakumar. “The reason Naradan didn’t run well in theatres in Kerala was because of Minnal Murali’s OTT release. If Naradan had released after Minnal Murali hit theatres, it wouldn’t have met this ill fate.”
It would be a stretch to say that Tovino and the makers of Minnal Murali didn’t benefit from its OTT release, with the movie already having a huge following among the young audience, not just in Kerala but across India. The actor was also praised by several top celebrities across the industry.
Incidentally, the makers of Minnal Murali were also planning a theatrical release, but the delay due to the pandemic coupled with the uncertainty of theatres reopening at 100% occupancy had prompted the producers to enter into an agreement with Netflix in 2021. Meanwhile, Naradan, which is a thriller that has Tovino playing a role with gray shades, is set to drop on Amazon Prime Video on April 8.