The Kannada film industry has gone into a silent mode with no big-budget or A-lister movies hitting the screens for some time due to the elections to the Karnataka Legislative Assembly.
While the influence of the film industry, popularly known as Sandalwood, on state politics is far lesser than in neighbouring states like Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, it has had its share of celebrities as either candidates or camapigners.
Star actors and other prominent personalities from the film industry, including Dr Shiva Rajkumar, Kichcha Sudeep, Darshan, Upendra, Duniya Vijay and others were busy campaigning for the candidates contesting in the elections.
Now, with the elections over, the industry will return to normalcy, with several films lined up for release.
“Despite several movies including big and most anticipated films being ready to hit the screens, the producers had kept them on hold for obvious reasons,” says Ba Ma Harish, president of Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce.
He goes on to share that the producers were not keen to release their movies following the audiences’ poor response to the films released ever since the elections were announced in Karnataka.
“Now that the election process is almost complete with a decisive majority for a party, things will soon return to normalcy.”
Though only a few connected with the film industry were in the fray for the elections, star actors including Dr Shiva Rajkumar, Kichcha Sudeep, Darshan and others were busy campaigning for the candidates contesting in the elections.
“It is like a chain reaction. When big stars get busy with election campaigns, shooting and other activities tend to go slow. All it takes is one big movie to release and hope it does make an impact so that the industry gets back on track after the humongous success of Kantara,” says Jagadeesh from the Exhibitors’ Association.
Since April, around 10 Kannada movies have hit the screens with Raghavendra Stores being the only one from a big banner such as Hombale Films.
While Raghavendra Stores did average business, Vijay Raghavendra’s Raaghu failed to impress at the box office despite getting a good response for its making.
Films like English Manja, Ramzan, Maavu Bevu, and Chandini Bar did release, but none were sustained at the box office.
While no Kannada film was released in the first week of May, only two were released in the second week, again with no success.
Clear mandate helps
Filmmakers were sceptical of releasing their movies for other reasons such as an expected “fractured mandate” and resultant delays in government formation.
“If there was a fractured mandate in the state, the exercise of forming a coalition government would have further created problems. It is never clear when the government will be formed. Now that there is a clear majority for a political party, there will be some stability and the industry will run as usual,” says Ba Ma Harish.
What’s in the pipeline?
Directed by Shashank Soghal, Daredevil Musthafa is based on a short story picked from a compilation of short stories titled Abachoorina Post Office penned by one of Kannada’s prominent writers, Poornachandra Tejaswi.
Jersey Number 10 is a sports drama revolving around hockey. Adyah Thimmaiah not only plays the lead, but he has also produced and directed the film. To top it all, he has also written the story of along with his mother, Chondakki Thimmaiah.
Suman is a run-of-the-mill romantic drama.
Insofar as the biggies are concerned, the ones most likely to hit the screens in the coming weeks include Bad Manners starring Abhishek Ambareesh.
Directed by Duniya Suri, the film is dubbed as a relaunch venture of Abhishek.
Also, Rakshit Shetty’s most awaited film Sapta Sagarada Aache, and Ra JB Shetty’s Swathi Mutthina Male Haniye, produced by actor-politician Ramya, are in the pipeline for release.
Though there are big-budget or anticipated releases in the next month, several films starring newcomers are lined up for release as well.