Rajinikanth’s performance and unique styles in movies have been quiet in question with his latest flick, Lingaa going for a toss at the box office and several distributors demanding money from him for all the losses incurred.
The great Thalaiva might turn out to be a big-time box office failure with two of his consecutive flicks going for a toss at the cash register.
Yes, after Kochadaiyaan, now it is his Lingaa that has sparked the buzz with huge losses for the Tamil Nadu distributors who bought the movie for a considerably high amount and are now asking for the refund from superstar Rajinikanth!
Well, even some theatre owners have joined the queue.
Eros International had reportedly bought the film’s theatrical rights for rupees 100 crores, which in turn were sold to Tamil Nadu’s distributor, Vendhar Films and later to some small-scale distributors in the state.
The film could not ring the money bell even after almost a month since the movie’s official release date (December 12) and may even be counted among Rajinikanth’s greatest flop films in the near future. Reports are fresh on the meeting of the distributors with the superstar in Chennai where the distributors openly demanded a reimbursement for their loss, following a press release by Vendhar movies claiming the poor performance of the film at the box office owing to its release during the half-yearly exams and its screening at about 600 theatre screens in Tamil Nadu.
Madras High Court has become hugely related to the Lingaa-loss and plagiarism saga since even before the movie was set to release. A prominent Tamil film director, Balaji Sakthivel had claimed in a petition that Lingaa is based on a storyline of Pennyquick, a story that he had planned to direct a film on and had talked to many directors since, who were hesitant on the high budget issues. He had sought a stay order on the release of the film which the Madras High Court had dismissed. Later another case of plagiarism surged up against Lingaa in a civil court in December, 2014.
Now the Madras High Court has again come into picture with four more film distributors apart from Vendhar movies from different parts of Tamil Nadu claiming that they too have incurred gregarious losses from the movie and have sought for permission to hold a fast in Chennai. Marina Pictures is the most prominent and the first out of these four distributors to have moved the court following the Chennai police’s inaction on the matter. The court had asked the police to decide whether or not the distributors of Lingaa can go for a hunger strike and the matter is to be sorted today at the court.
Meanwhile, a Youtube video also claims that one of the distributors is unhappy about the release date that happened to fall on the superstar’s birthday as this was the time for school examinations and hence the film could not manage to procure even 20 percent of the investment. He also regretted that the movie was subjected to great buzz among the audience and was hyped excessively much before the release, since the movie did not stand up to the expectations of neither the masses nor the distributors and theatre owners.
The tradition of returning cash to distributors began with Rajini as he refunded the loss when his movies did not fare well with the audience in the past. He did the same for his movies, Baba (2002) and Kuselan (2008) and he could retrieve the amount with his later movies. But now at 64, if he fails consecutively, does he stand the same chance of refund and retrieve?
When his Kochadaiyaan could not become a complete blockbuster entertainer and only made the mark as an animation film with hefty budgets, Rajini apparently decided to recoup the loss of time and money and regain his fan following with Lingaa for director KS Ravi Kumar. But did the fact that he was not in his pink of health and yet acted, danced and performed in his benchmark style affected the overall flick’s look and appearance, in turn affecting its results at the box office?
Do Rajini flicks fail to bond and connect with the masses now or are they not enough imaginative, creative and innovative as much as the other commercial narratives?
Well, though Lingaa did perform well in the opening weekend as many people are hooked on to Rajini’s unique style and panache and had made advanced booking for the flick, and apparently earned approximately a 100-crore rupees in India alone, the movie could not have the same impact on its audience throughout the month of December and now January.
Some suggest that the reason might be Aamir Khan-starrer PK’s release on December 19 which was another over-hyped movie and overshadowed the glimpse of success that this live action film ever had!
Well, now as even the Christmas holidays could not make the movie taste success, the superstar will face much trouble ahead as the list of distributors would increase by the day, thus increasing the amount of reported loss.
The question is will Rajini keep to his tradition and fame of benevolence or perform in a successive flick to repay the distributors of Lingaa, the performance of which at the box office is again a matter of doubt and concern!