Chennai: The Tamil film industry, the second largest in the South, is now moving away from the trend of private production houses funding films for corporate houses like Adlabs and UTV are now moving down South to produce films.
Perhaps the first Tamil production to get organised is Ajit-starrer Kireedam. It's producers, G V Films have gone in for a tie-up with Adlabs.
Also Adlabs and Soundarya, Rajnikanth's Ocher Studio, are said to be jointly producing Sultan - The Warrior. The film will feature Rajnikanth in an animated version.
More recently, local production houses like Radhika Sarat Kumar's Radaan Mediaworks and Prakash Raj's Duet Films too went in for corporate tie-ups with UTV and Moser Baer respectively.
Says Prakash Raj, "What happens with corporatisation is the whole distribution changes as does the entire marketing strategy. Corporate houses are trying to earn more and I think cinema's never a losing proposition. We have been losing because of our infrastructure of selling and marketing and this is a welcome change."
Even traditional production houses like Mani Ratnam's Madras Talkies-AVM, and K Balachandar's Kavithalaya have already adopted the corporate method of film-making, marketing and distributing.
The trend changed after alarming figures in 2006 showed that though 587 south Indian films were certified, only 456 films released. The release rate in Tamil was just 72 per cent — mostly due to financial constraints and lack of demand at the distributor level.
Corporatising the film industry just might offer a solution to not only distribution but will encourage content quality control. However, star value still counts for a lot.
Says Chairman Radaan Mediaworks, Radhika Sarat Kumar, "We give 100 per cent to content but of course, it's good to bank on a star. It makes things a little easier. However, we have not looked into an easy way out for everything. Even for smalled stars or other types of films, tying up with corporate houses is a good idea."
Adds COO, Moser Baer Entertainment Division, G Dhananjayan, "We are looking to ensure that quality films are made, that they are commercially viable and successful. Also the budget should be appropriate to the script."
A tie-up with media houses and theatre chain owners like Pyramid Syamira would bring about drastic changes in the distribution pattern. The South Indian Film chamber estimates a 30 per cent increase in annual industry turn over.
Also the Tamil film industry's annual turnover of Rs 1,200 crore is estimated to go up to at least Rs 2,500 crore in the next year.
However, there is a flip side. Producers of films with low or moderate budgets would lose out to the corporates in a big way.
There are plus points too though. Actors not sticking to call sheets and the release date getting postponed will all change very soon down south.
Also the audience can look forward to some intelligent films with better quality content.