Kamal revises release plans, but says DTH future of cinema

Mumbai, Jan 18 (IANS) Kamal Haasan may have had to drop the idea of premiering his bilingual "Vishwaroop" on Direct To Home at the behest of distributors but still feels "DTH is the future of cinema".

Initially, Kamal had decided to premiere his Tamil film "Vishwaroopam", its dubbed Telugu version and the Hindi "Vishwaroop" on DTH a day before the scheduled theatrical release. But distributors were unhappy with the move and Kamal had to shelve that plan.

"The Hindi version is being released on Feb 1. It cannot be released on Jan 25 along with the Tamil and Telugu versions because 'Race 2' is releasing the same day," the actor-director-producer said on the new revised release plans.

"I feel the Hindi version 'Vishwaroop' would gather more box office strength from the week-long release advantage that its Tamil and Telugu versions would have."

The film stars Shekhar Kapur, Rahul Bose and Kamal who has also directed the film.

But he is as confident of the DTH premiere strategy as he was before he was compelled to bow down.

"Look at the success through the DTH of the new Richard Gere film 'Arbitrage'. It has collected double its theatre collections on DTH. DTH is the future of cinema. The postponement of my film's release gave me an opportunity to convince my film fraternity of the feasibility of DTH.

"Unfortunately, the advance bookings had already opened when we postponed. We had to say sorry to the disappointed patrons. But I have to tell you, the advance bookings were unprecedented. No one refrained from going to the theatres because of the DTH. The panic regarding DTH is prevalent all over the world."

As far as the DTH telecast is concerned, Kamal said: "The south Indian distributors and exhibitors have requested a four-day headstart for the theatrical release. I made it easier for them. The DTH telecast would now be on Saturday, February 2 following the theatrical release on Friday Jan 25."

In the Hindi belt, the distributors won't relent over the DTH issue.

"In South, I've already won over the distributors. I guess the South chamber is more sensible than its Northern counterpart. So the Hindi DTH telecast would be as stipulated by the North Indian multiplexes. They don't want DTH before four weeks after the theatrical release . We have to go by their stipulation."

Regarding the e-mail that Kamal has sent to his all-India distributors Balaji Films, he clarified, "I never said we'll wait for six weeks. I said we'll wait for as long as the North Indian theatres stipulate."

The Los Angeles premiere of the film is now scheduled for Jan 24.

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