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A worrying trend in the Tamil industry is currently in progress. This is regarding the release of a clutter of small films every other week. The lull in the releases in July (due to a big solo release in the form of Billa 2 on July 13) has led to this sudden avalanche of releases in August but ultimately no one is even bothering about these films. Completing even a week at the box-office would be a big deal for these films.

Such films are being released with scant regard to their ultimate box-office fate as invariably they are biting the dust. No star value, no proper screens, no marketing save a few posters here and there, disengaging content and sometimes people don’t even know if such films have hit the screens.

If you are an avid cinema buff following all cinema portals, you might know the films released on August 2 and 3. Save one movie, the rest have been total washouts. The public hasn’t even bothered about such releases. When the producers themselves don’t seem to care about a proper release date, then no wonder. Or did they lose hopes on their project half way through the project and just gave up on their film’s release date, seeing the creative inputs that have gone into the film.

To compete with these small Tamil films we also have Tamil dubbed versions of Hollywood films. There was also a Telugu dub movie starring Kajal and Taapsee, titled Veeraiah that was lapped up for the two glamour girls. Titillating posters were all over the city distracting the riders on the roads. Not to mention straight Hindi, Telugu and English releases also offer stiff competition to these small films.

The remaining weeks aren’t any different as the stream of lesser known Tamil films just keeps flowing one after another. Three more Tamil films are lined up for August 15th along with a Hindi biggie and added to the already released films last weekend; we will be having countless Tamil releases in the time frame from August 2 to 15, which is just appalling. This number might just increase at the last moment. Ultimately it is the home grown small Tamil film industry that is suffering the most in its core business area, as other language films cater to a niche and are generally well-received.

There are rumored to be just 900 functional screens in the state and any sane mind would tell you that accommodating so many new releases with the already running movies, is very tough for the exhibitors. Theaters in small towns won’t even wish to screen some of these small films and would opt for earlier hits or older films. In cities, at the most, these films might get a show or two in the popular multiplexes.

Where are the screens to accommodate so many small films with zero star value? Where are the audiences for such films? Even if their content is good, will audiences go to the theater and pay for such films? Are they lining up any interesting marketing campaigns other than just putting up ads and posters?

We are in no way demeaning the efforts that have gone into the making of all these films but getting a proper release date is of utmost importance. Exhibition of a film at an appropriate date is paramount to a film’s success. But, the makers of these films don’t seem to care. There is no regulation from any of the concerned councils as well. Looks like just to show a film against their name, these producers are making such films. Where are the passion and the desire to reach their film to the audience?

What we are seeing is just a mass suicide of all these small films. Things ought to change.  A way out would be proper regulation of release dates and talks about this have been doing the rounds for many years now. The authorities even proclaimed that big hero movies would release only on festival days but that hasn’t been happening as Karthi and Ajith films released on normal weekends.

If big hero movies occupy festival slots, then smaller films can atleast compete for the remaining weekends. But now with big films also releasing on normal weekends as solo features for two weeks, smaller films then get jammed up and release together weekend after weekend and then what we get is just mass suicide as said before.

But, there are so many issues that affect release dates like shooting delays, weather delays, issues over the title, censorship issues, date issues to name a few. So, there is no guarantee that big films will release on the exact date planned.

Somehow, Bollywood has achieved a balance and nowadays we see first look of movies being announced with their release date as well, like the recent Himmatwala, which will release on March 29, 2013. In the same way, Dabangg 2 was planned as a Christmas release long back and the movie will meet that deadline comfortably. Same with Ek Tha Tiger which is releasing on August 15th.

Perfect streamlining of the processes and corporatization of activities has resulted in this scenario in Bollywood. Atleast, if big films in Tamil follow the same process and announce their release dates well in advance, other smaller films can plan their releases accordingly. With the entry of corporate giants like UTV, Eros and Fox Star, we can expect a semblance of discipline here too.

Then, we should have the authorities take a strict stand when it comes to regulating the release of small films. Not more than two films every weekend should be followed as a policy.  On paper it all sounds easy. But it is tough to say the least. Recently a big Tamil release which was managed by a corporate, had its release date postponed multiple times before settling for Friday the 13th. Censor issues were also a reason for this. That is another issue altogether and censor rules are much stricter for Tamil films compared to Hindi releases where A rated films have pretty explicit content.

Ultimately, fixing on a proper release date is a science in itself and we just hope producers get that discipline and take proper care about releasing their movies. Regarding quality of movies being made, one can’t prevent people from making and releasing movies as it is a democratic country and people with money generally produce films. Just a wish, that they enter the industry with the intention of making good films.

Then, if they plan their releases properly, the audiences would ensure the victory of their films as good content is half the battle won and word of mouth would ensure complete victory.

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