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OTT release of Mohanlal’s ‘Marakkar’ runs into rough weather

The OTT release of Malayalam superstar Mohanlal’s blockbuster film ‘Marakkar: Lion of the Arabian Sea’, directed by ace filmmaker Priyadarshan, has hit a roadblock as 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 expects the same with ‘Marakkar’.

On Wednesday movie halls in Kerala finally started screening films after a gap of six months and with stringent Covid guidelines allowing only 50 per cent of the total seating capacity, which is a dampener for producers and theatre owners.

‘Marakkar’ producer 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 blockbuster film like ‘Marakkar’ goes on OTT, then they will be in trouble.

According to a source, Perumbavoor wanted a minimum guarantee from theatre owners but the amount that Perumbavoor is asking is very high.

This film has cost Perumbavoor a staggering Rs 85 crore and hence he is unwilling to come down and with now Cherian also batting for a theatrical release, it remains to be seen, what’s in store.

At the recent National Film Awards, ‘Marakkar’ was selected as the Best Feature Film for 2019.

The film tells the tale of Kunhali Marakkar, the famous naval chief of the Zamorin of Calicut, often known for organising the first naval defence of the Indian coast.

Mohanlal, known for his flexibility and adaptability to any character, plays the key role of Marakkar.

The star cast includes thespian Madhu, Manju Warrier, actors from south India and Bollywood besides four British actors and one Chinese actor.

A top producer said there are 90 Malayalam films and an additional 50 English, Tamil and Hindi films all waiting for release and with a few films that were released through the OTT platforms during the Covid period fetching reasonable profits, all eyes are on how the government is going to tackle the issue as many families are dependent on movie halls for their livelihood.

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