Tamil cinema has been witnessing a steady flow of big ticket releases over the past four months. July saw Ajith’s ‘Billa 2’; August saw the superhero ‘Mugamoodi’, September witnessed a blind Vikram in ‘Thaandavam’ while Suriya’s conjoined twins in ‘Maattrraan’ just opened in October.
All the four films had big hype, generated gargantuan opening weekend collections but the response from the audience to these movies was mixed at best. The response from the audience even forced the makers of these films to chop off or add on some scenes and songs to satiate the expectations of the audience.
In the case of Thaandavam, Amy Jackson’s ‘Will you be there’ number in which she dreams of being a good partner to Kenny (Vikram), was edited from the first half while the melodious ‘Uyirin Uyire’, which was a major blooper prior to the climax, also saw the scissors. About 9 minutes of the running time were removed after the first day, paying heed to the early reviews from fans. But did the cropping help the box-office fortunes in a big way is debatable.
UTV’s other big release Mugamoodi also had some negative feedback about its length and pace, but the makers still decided to include the ‘Maayavi’ song in the movie from the second week onwards. This song was on air in music channels on TV prior to release itself and the makers felt that the song would boost the theatrical business of the movie as well from the second week. Did it really boost Mugamoodi’s business? All of us know the answer.
In Maattrraan’s case, another really long movie, close to a whopping 20 minutes (1 min 23 sec of the first half and 19 minutes 30 sec of the second half, to be precise) of the movie’s running time had to be cropped as fans complained about the movie’s length and slow pace after the first day. Now, we will have to wait and see whether the edited version of the movie will boost the movie’s box-office fortunes or not?
With respect to Billa 2, which was a short movie at just over two hours, the makers still felt that the melodious number ‘Idhayam’ (picturized on Parvathy Omanakuttan running in a beach) would be a potential speed breaker in the film and decided to use this song only for TV promotional purposes. The theater release prints in India didn’t have this song while overseas prints had this song. But, despite this decision, there were complaints galore about the movie not being gripping.
Ultimately one feels that all this editing, addition and deletion of scenes to a movie post its release, is just a futile exercise. Once the audience decides that the movie is not interesting and is not worth the time at the theater, then no amount of last minute promotional gimmicks such as this can save a movie. What the makers couldn’t achieve after months of toil, blood and sweat can’t be achieved by editing few scenes here and there.
With reviews and opinions spreading so fast thanks to the proliferation of social media, all it takes is a few minutes of button tapping to decide the fate of a movie and the audience is always correct in their verdicts.
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