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Rajini’s Kabali at the crossroads

Rajini’s Kabali at the crossroads
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It seems the disastrous fate of Kochadaiyan (Vikramasimha in Telugu) is still haunting Tamil superstar Rajinikanth. The losses that the movie...

Hyderabad: It seems the disastrous fate of Kochadaiyan (Vikramasimha in Telugu) is still haunting Tamil superstar Rajinikanth. The losses that the movie inflicted upon a T-town producer, an exhibitor and the distributors are now seems affecting the release of his next big-ticket film Kabali.

Those who invested in the motion-capture film and incurred heavy losses are now demanding compensation from either Rajinikanth or the Kochadaiyan producer Murali Manohar. According to an industry source, the producer owes Rs 7.4 crore and its interest to a T-town producer, an exhibitor and distributors.

As part of their bid to recover the dues, some producers and distributors have held a meeting here on Friday. In case of lack of response, they have threatened to stall the release of Kabali in AP and TS.

“It’s a kind of Catch-22 situation for producers who want to release Telugu version of Kabali as it will cost them a bomb. Apart from buying the rights for Rs 25 crore, they also have to clear old dues of Rajini’s previous film which work out around Rs 8 to Rs 9 crore.

So many producers are backing out because of this situation,” explains a leading producer, on the condition of anonymity. Actually, Rajinikanth’s market is expanding rapidly in T-town and his fan following among Telugus has grown manifold.

His phenomenal rise began with meagre Rs 20 lakh collection for his film Baasha, his Chandamukhi broke records with the collection of Rs 8 crore. His further movies Sivaji and Robot grossed Rs 13 crore and Rs 23 crore, respectively.

Now Kabali is pegged around Rs 25 crore. However, C Kalyan, a Telugu producer and vice-president of Telugu Film Chamber of Commerce is dismissive of such a possibility. “Rajinikanth charisma is intact and his following his growing among Telugus and he is going to rock box office once again with Kabali” he says.

“I know there is a meeting among distributors regarding old dues; but nobody has filed a formal complaint with Telugu Film Chamber of Commerce so far to stall the release. And I don’t think it will affect the release of Kabali since personally Rajinikanth doesn’t owe money to anybody in T-town. Still if there is anything, we will sit and sort it out,” he says.

Unmindful of the additional burden of Rs 8 to Rs 9 crore, Kalyan was one of the contenders to buy Rajini’s action adventure. “In fact, Tamil producer Dhanu and I are like partners, so I don’t rule out releasing the film in Telugu, but nothing is finalized yet. If I get the rights, I’ll ensure that it is released on a large-scale befitting his stature” he concludes.

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