Kochi: Following failed talks between producer Antony Perumbavoor and Minister for Cultural Affairs Saji Cherian on Friday, the much-anticipated Malayalam movie Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham is eventually set for a digital release.
According to sources, the movie, directed by ace filmmaker Priyadarshan, will premiere on Amazon Prime as Christmas release.An official announcement in this regard is expected soon.
The Mohanlal-starrer had hit many roadblocks as its makers considered options for a digital release despite strong resistance from film exhibitors and even the Kerala Culture Minister. The movie's release which was initially slated for March 26, 2020 was postponed due to lockdown over COVID-19.
Earlier, Marakkar's producer Antony Perumbavoor had resigned from FEUOK, the Film Exhibitors United Organisation of Kerala. Antony, who was serving as its Vice President, decided to quit after a fallout with various theatre owners regarding the film's release. According to sources, Antony, in his resignation letter mentioned that none from FEUOK had discussed with him about the release of Marakkar though he was in constant touch with Mohanlal regarding the film's release.
Antony Perumbavoor first broke the news that the makers are exploring all options including a possible OTT release and they have now practically closed the deal for releasing it on Prime Video. This decision has irked the theatre owners in the state who are passing through bad times and they fear if a likely blockbuster film like Marakkar goes on OTT, then they will be in trouble.
Antony Perumbavoor, a close associate of Mohanlal, owns one of the most successful production houses – Aashirvad Cinemas. Marakkar has cost Antony Perumbavoor a staggering Rs 85 crore.
On October 25, movie halls in Kerala finally started screening films after a gap of six months and with stringent COVID-19 guidelines allowing only 50 percent of the total seating capacity, which is a dampener for producers and theatre owners.
Kerala Minister for Films Saji Cherian insisted that films should be released in theatres. Cherian said that the OTT aspect was thought of when the movie halls were closed and the government is of the firm view that films should first be released in theatres and he expected the same with Marakkar.
At the 67th National Film Awards, which was held in New Delhi on October 25, "Marakkar, the Lion of Arabian Sea" got three awards – Best Feature Film, Best Special Effects and Best Costume.
The film is centred around the life and times of Kunhali Marakkar, the famous naval chieftain of the Zamorin of Calicut, who is credited with organising the first naval defence of the Indian coast. Superstar Mohanlal plays the title role of Marakkar.
The star cast includes the thespian Madhu and Manju Warrier, besides Bollywood actor Suniel Shetty, and a host of British and Chinese actors.