Four distributors who released Lingaa in Trichy, Thanjavur, South Arcot and North Arcot, held a press meet this morning to announce the losses they have sustained because of the movie. Singaravelan, who distributed Lingaa in Trichy and Thanjavur, said that Tamil Nadu distributors suffered a heavy loss as the film failed to do well at the box office.
Singaravelan revealed that Lingaa was made on a budget of Rs 45 crores (excluding Rajinikanth’s salary), and the movie was sold for Rs 220 crores. He said that Vendhar Movies, who sold Lingaa, assured the distributors that the film had shaped up well. “We didn’t watch the film before buying because Vendhar Movies told us, ‘Indha padam 10 Padayappa, anju Enthiran.’ Rajini sir has always given hits. So, we believed that Lingaa would do well too.”
He added that Enthiran was bought for Rs 7 crores in his area, and as Lingaa was said to be bigger than Enthiran, Vendhar Movies demanded Rs 9 crores. However, the film was finally sold for Rs 8 crores to Singaravelan. “Even the agreement looked different. The Rs 8 crores I paid was just deposit. Whatever the film collected was to go to Vendhar Movies, and we were told that we would get 10% of it as commission. Lingaa caused a loss of Rs 45 crores for the distributors in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.”
Singaravelan also said that the distributors had agreed to the different proposition because they ‘trusted the KS Ravikumar-Rajinikanth combination.’
From the day of release, Singaravelan declared that Lingaa collected only Rs 2.65 crores in his area, lesser than that of Kochadaiiyaan. “Although Kochadaiiyaan was an animation film, it collected Rs 2.70 crores.” The distributors had tried contacting Vendhar Movies to request them to return a portion of their deposit, but they were told that Madhan, who runs the production house, had gone to the Himalayas. Vendhar Movies had then asked the distributors and theatre owners to contact Eros International, who had acquired the film. “Eros couldn’t help us too,” said Singaravelan.
When the production houses continued to pass the buck, the distributors decided to contact Rajinikanth, who appeared to be their last resort. Sigaravelan said, “We met his assistant Sathyanarayana at Raghavendra Kalyana Mandapam. He advised us to give him a letter explaining the sequence of events. We wrote a letter and handed it to him. But we haven’t heard anything from them again.”
Requesting Rajinikanth to help them resolve the issue, Singaravelan clarified, “We are not acting against Rajinikanth. But we would benefit if he helped us. Rajini sir padam-nu nambi thaan vaanginom.”
On January 10, the distributors and theatre owners plan to go on a hunger strike ‘to urge the concerned parties to solve the problem.’
When Silverscreen tried contacting Vendhar Movies’ T Siva, a staff member who answered our call, told us that he was not in town, and won’t receive calls on his cell phone.