Another biggie falls prey to coronavirus, Mohanlal-starrer postponed in Gulf

Updated: Mar 14, 2020, 08:53 IST | Upala KBR | Mumbai

Another biggie falls prey to coronavirus as makers of Mohanlal and Suniel Shetty starrer, Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham (Marakkar: Lion of the Arabian Sea), defer release at Gulf exhibitor' behest.

Mohanlal in Marakkar
Mohanlal in Marakkar

It was exactly a week ago that South megastar Mohanlal released the trailer of the epic war film — Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham (Marakkar: Lion of the Arabian Sea), sealing a March 26 date with the audience. However, considering the coronavirus outbreak in India, the Mohanlal and Suniel Shetty starrer has become the latest big-ticket project to defer its release. While the shutdown of theatres in Mumbai, Kerala and Delhi forced the decision, filmmaker Priyadarshan says the makers did a rethink at the behest of the exhibitors in the Gulf, particularly those across Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. It would be fair to assume that returns from the overseas market would be crucial to the success of the war film, which is reportedly mounted on Rs 100 crore budget and has been dubbed in Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, and Hindi.

"Theatres in Kerala will remain shut till March 31, so effectively there would have been no cinema halls to screen the movie, had we released the film on March 26. So, we decided to defer it. Moreover, another major territory for us is the Gulf region. The exhibitors there and some of our overseas distributors requested us to not release it now," says the director, pointing out that cinemas in the Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, have been closed until further notice. He adds that Malayalam movies have takers in Malaysia too. "They have shut down cinema halls there too."

Suneil Shetty and PriyadarshanSuneil Shetty and Priyadarshan

While the team hadn't begun their promotions, a grand premiere in Dubai on March 24 was on the cards. "We have cancelled that. Nor are we doing any media events or promotions." Quiz him on the new release date, and Priyadarshan says the team is adopting a wait-and-watch strategy. "We will see how things work out this week and decide."

  • This week's offering, Angrezi Medium will be released again in regions where cinema halls will remain shut till March 31 due to the coronavirus outbreak, including Kerala, Delhi, and Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Zee Cine Awards 2020, which took place yesterday, was cancelled for the general public in a bid to avoid mass gatherings. It was shot only for television.
  • Hollywood biggies, Mulan and The New Mutants, which were slated to hit theatres on March 27 and April 3 respectively, have been postponed. The new release dates have yet to be announced.

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