Why the Deepavali buzz is fizzling out in Kollywood

Once upon a time in Kollywood, high profile face-offs was the norm during Deepavalis that included clashes between MGR and Sivaji Ganesan, and Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan. Illustration - Prathap Ravishankar

Till a few years back, a Deepavali morning for a quintessential Tamilian would start with an oil bath as early as four in the morning, before going to bursting crackers. For the film buff, a trip to the nearby theatre to catch the 'Deepavali release' was a must.

From planning for the big day around movies to queuing up outside cinemas for tickets to doing their bit to prop up their star’s fortunes at the box office — an ardent Tamil fan had his or her hands full. After all, their beloved star was competing with another.

Cinema theatres would be decked like a wedding hall, with colourful lights and balloons adorning the entrance, enlivening the locality, in addition to the large cutouts of the stars which would be washed with milk and venerated with rituals, as a sea of fans descended on the hall. Inside, whistles and shouts in praise of the star would drown out the dialogues and scenes during the movie. One would emerge gratified from the hall, having caught the favourite star’s movie and having witnessed the euphoria and fanfare, especially on a Deepavali, making it doubly special. For a die-hard fan, the celebration would only be complete when he or she had seen back-to-back shows or hopped theatres and revelled in the euphoria.

Back in those days, high-profile clashes were the norm of the day on Deepavali. Face-offs included films of MGR and Sivaji Ganesan, Rajinikanth-Kamal Haasan and more recently Ajith and Vishal alongside Karthi in 2013. Filmmakers banked on the euphoria and released a host of films, primarily to rake in the moolah as the festival is considered the most important for the trade, apart from Pongal.

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