What happened today morning could be termed as the biggest marketing gimmick of the past decade in Indian cinema. Fans had thronged theatres in Mumbai and likewise in other metros and interior towns to catch a glimpse of what’s being termed as the next ‘Baahubali’ from South India, ‘Puli’ starring Ilayathalapathy Vijay, Sridevi, Hansika Motwani and Shruti Hassan under the helm of Chimbu Deven.
The release of superstar Vijay’s movie hit a major roadblock after as early as 4:00 am and 5:00 am morning shows and overseas premiere of the film being cancelled for reasons unknown.
“Even we are not sure why we have been asked to cancel the special shows. We are waiting for go ahead from Scrabble Entertainment, a subsidiary of UFO Moviez India to release the film. We haven’t heard anything from their end and await the KDM to come in,” a theatre representative of CineMax: Infinity Malad informed TheGraphicSlate.com.
There is also the rumour of the producers of ‘Puli’ not having cleared dues to Qube, a major digital distributor of the film. As soon as it is settled, theatres are expected to get the green signal to screen the movie. Even the Income Tax raid on the producers and financier of “Puli” recently, have led to people believing that there is a major financial hurdle for the film’s clearance.
In Mumbai, theatres that had planned to screen the film at 8:00 am and 9:00 am have also cancelled the shows.
“We hear that we may get clearance to screen the film from noon onwards. But we still are not sure about the same,” the theatre representative added.
The film’s overseas distributor Atmus Entertainment posted on their Twitter page on Thursday that all the premiere shows were cancelled in Canada and the US. The release of the film in its dubbed Hindi and Telugu versions also remain doubtful.
“Puli’s local distributors will not allow overseas release without local clearance. Money from Telugu distributor pending to close financier. There are very slim chances of KDMs arriving with the producer waiting on money from Hyderabad! So EST and CST premieres stand cancelled. Slight hope on PST only, ” ATMUS Entertaiment said.
And TheGraphicSlate.com has just learnt that a leading theatre chain in Chennai, Vettri Theatres has confirmed that they have received a clearance from Qube to commence shows of ‘Puli’ from 11:30 am today.
— Rakesh Gowthaman (@VettriTheatres) October 1, 2015
‘Puli’ had a fantastic advance booking and with this chaos around the movie it will certainly drive more audiences to get a view of Vijay’s movie just to quench their thirst of curiosity.
This is also not the first time where a Vijay movie has landed in trouble close to its release. Many movies including “Kaavalan” and “Thalaivaa” had faced similar situations. In fact, “Thaalivaa” was unofficially banned in Tamil Nadu for two weeks.
‘Puli’ has been drawing a lot of attention for its VFX, which is also being compared to India’s biggest motion picture release till date in Baahubali. The latter proved that language need not be a barrier as it earned substantial grosses in the traditional Hindi strongholds of North India. Puli will be aiming to repeat that success with simultaneously releases in Tamil and in dubbed versions in Hindi and Telugu.
One key difference between the two films is their story lines, because though brimming with romance and adventure, Baahubali was essentially a war film, with its final 40 or so minutes comprising a single, bloody battle sequence. Puli, on the other hand, is more a straight fantasy, about a young man (played by Vijay in a dual role) who travels back in time via a time machine to a fantasy kingdom to save its queen from a tyrant commander.
Also appearing in the ensemble cast are Shruti Haasan and Hansika Motwani, and the English Vinglish actress Sridevi, appearing in her first Tamil language film in 29 years.
Puli’s production budget was said to be Rs 118 crore ($18 million), a very high figure for South India and roughly 60 per cent of what Baahubali cost to produce.
RC Kamalakannan from Makuta VFX is the VFX supervisor on the project, who has worked in many films including: Sye, Yamadonga, Naan Ee and Magadheera. He won two national awards for his work in Magadheera and Naan Ee. The master supervisor has also worked with the ace director SS Rajamouli earlier and has exponentially progressed using more and more VFX with each film where they collaborated.
Apparently among all the films Kamalakannan has worked, Puli has the highest number of CG shots. Puli has nearly 2,200 VFX shots which is highest in his career. Chimbu Devan gave nearly 2,700 shots for VFX but later fixed at 2,200 shots. Apparently, Naan Ee had 1,200 VFX shots and Magadheera had 1,700 shots.
The VFX work of Puli was carried out in seven different places including Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Sweden, Chennai, Bangalore and Netherlands. Nearly 150 VFX artists have worked for Puli’s CG work.
According to Kamalakannan, among all the VFX experts in different countries, the work done by Russians is the best and hence some of the most difficult scenes had been handed over to them. He believes that today’s standard of CG must be on a different level and audience should not find out where we have incorporated visual effects.