Tamil superstar ‘Thalapathy’ Vijay’s much-awaited film, Master, is set to hit the screens across the country on Wednesday (January 13). Master is not just important for the film’s producers but for the entire film fraternity across the country, which bore the brunt of the COVID pandemic and is still reeling under its after-effects.
“Master is the first big movie that is releasing after the COVID lockdown. The success of this movie will encourage other producers to start releasing big films. So it won’t be wrong to say the entire entertainment industry of the country wants Master to do exceptionally well,” film exhibitor Akshaye Rathi told The Indian Express.
Film distributors in south India are upbeat because the film is coming during Pongal, the harvest festival.
Advance booking numbers show that Master has managed to generate a lot of excitement among audiences. Thousands of Vijay fans lined up, at places jumped on each other, in Chennai to buy tickets in advance. Social distancing norms were hardly followed with most fans not caring to wear masks. It did not look like pandemic ever existed for Vijay fans.
While the initial rush is encouraging, the film distributors are pinning their hopes on family audience, which will come in only after the crowds subside. Therefore, trade experts would like to judge the success of the film basis its box office collections next Monday.
Trade analysts believe that if the film is good, people will come, COVID scare notwithstanding.
‘Thalapathy’ Vijay is not just popular in Tamil Nadu but also has a huge fan base in Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra and Telangana. Master will be shown in about 900 screens in Tamil Nadu. In Kerala, 3/4th of the screens will show the potential blockbuster. Master has got a good display in Karnataka, Andhra and Telangana as well.
“The response to the advance booking has been extraordinary. There are demands for extra shows. It will be the biggest opening for Vijay in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. The collection will be massive in the first four days, and all the distributors will make a profit in no time,” Vamsi Kaka, PRO of Master (Telugu) told indianexress.com.
Vijay’s last three films — Mersal, Sarkar and Bigil — were big hits in the two Telugu speaking states.
Master, however, hasn’t generated much excitement in theatres in northern states of India. The success of Master (Hindi dubbed version) will greatly depend on word of mouth publicity. The success in Hindi belt will still be limited because not enough money has been pumped into publicity.
“Across India, theatres are opening with 50 per cent occupancy. Why would the publicist spend on advertising then?” said a film distributor based in Mumbai.
Just about 50 per cent of total screens in north India have reopened after the lockdown. Approximately 80 per cent of them will screen Master from January 14.