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Bets on low-budget films
August, 07th 2009

It is well-known economist Schumacher's 'small is beautiful' mantra at work for corporates in Kollywood. Notwithstanding lavish first attempts and big exits, the current lot is treading cautiously in the Tamil film territory. Working on small-to-medium budget films or working with people who have a proven track record seems to be the chosen path for now.

Moser Baer and Ayngaran International, the only two corporates currently shooting films in Tamil, have a slew of movies under production, all with sub-Rs 10-crore budgets.

After big flops in its multi-crore star projects like Aegan (Ajith-Nayanthara ), Villu (Vijay-Nayanthara ) and Sarvam (directed by Vishnivardhan), Ayngaran is now concentrating on smaller film projects. While the Mysskin-starring Nandalala and Angaadi Theru, starring newcomer Magesh and Anjali, both have budgets of around Rs 5 crore each, Peranmai(Jeyam Ravi in the lead role) is higher at about 12 crore.

In the past couple of years, corporates had signed multi-film deals with directors or co-production deals with local production houses. But the lacklustre performance of Kollywood movies in the past few quarters and the slowdown seems to have scared them away.

UTV Movies, for example, had signed a three-film co-production deal with Selvaraghavans Double Zero, a film with director Mysskin starring Suriya and another one with Vikram. All of these have fallen through, apparently due to a lukewarm response to its Kannamoochi Yenada (co-produced with Radaan Mediaworks and Pyramid Saimira) and the Madhavan-starrer Yaavarum Nalam.

"Corporates work systematically and schedules are fixed in advance. They have backed out probably because of the dismal strike rate here and Kollywood's haphazard production culture," observes director Selvaraghavan, whose Aayirathil Oruvan is due for release this October.

Moser Baer has openly said it is looking at moving slowly from small to mid-budget films, before graduating to big productions.

"We are not comfortable signing big projects unless we are able to justify the time and money spent. We first want to understand the revenue mechanism here," Moser Baer Entertainment COO G Dhananjayan toldET.

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