The volatality of Mercury
Reliable sources from the film industry clear the confusion surrounding the release of Karthik Subbaraj's Mercury
With the TFPC strike still going strong, the Tamil audiences are still not quite in the know over the release of Karthik Subbaraj’s Mercury, which was scheduled to hit the screens this Friday across the country. Acknowledging the strike, the makers even postponed the trailer release, but were still keen that the film get released globally as planned. The director later tweeted that the ‘Tamil version’ of the film would not be released in Tamil Nadu in deference to the strike, which complicated the issue even more given that it’s a silent film.
Clearing the air, the film’s producer Kaarthekeyen Santhanam says, “We support the TFPC strike. The release in Tamil Nadu has nothing to do with the different versions. For now, I can assure that the film will be released everywhere else except in Tamil Nadu, on the scheduled date: April 13.”
Mariappan, manager of Albert Cinemas, sees the film not releasing in the State as a sign of respect to the protest. “Even though it’s a silent film, considering that the entire industry is on strike, the producer has decided not to release the film in Tamil Nadu. Instead of creating more issues by having it released, the priority is to first get done with the strike. It’s been more than a month since the strike commenced and it’s a loss for the producers as well as the theatre owners, not to mention the daily-wage workers,” says Mariappan. However, he adds that having Mercury release on different dates in different regions isn’t healthy for the producers at all. “If the film is good, then, sure, that may increase the hype, but if it’s not that good, then it will surely affect the run here, when the film eventually gets released. The reviews too will be out soon. From a business perspective, it’s advisable to release the film everywhere simultaneously.”
Nikilesh Surya, the Executive Director of Rohini Cinemas, feels that the producers are left with no choice but to ride with the strike wave. “Initially, the producer announced that the film will get released in Tamil Nadu also on April 13. But suddenly, we are hearing nothing about the Tamil Nadu release. It’s very disappointing to have a single body arm-twisting everyone from carrying on business. The strike is causing great losses to everybody in the industry,” says Nikilesh, who believes that a film not releasing simultaneously in two regions can cause lots of issues. “More than reviews, piracy is a bigger concern. Even Hollywood films which used to get released one month after getting releasing abroad are now being released simultaneously. On account of piracy, reviews and digital media, the shelf life of films has come down. So, when it gets released later in Tamil Nadu, it won’t collect more than 20 per cent of what it would’ve collected had they stuck to the original release date.”
The film, starring Prabhudheva in the lead, will have its world premiere in The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles tomorrow.