Leading producer and distributor Kanakapura Srinivas is set to release Kaala in Karnataka despite facing threats from pro-Kannada groups, which have called for a ban on the film over Rajinikanth's pro-Tamil Nadu stand in the Cauvery issue.
"Yes, I am releasing Kaala in Karnataka. The screen count is not finalised yet and I cannot give exact numbers at this stage, given the threats from the Kannada groups. It might release in 10 or 100 screens in Karnataka as it depends on how theatres owners will respond to my request for screening the film."
On asking whether he is taking a chance, "It is quite common in film industry. I am hopeful of releasing the film and in the process of talking to the protestors to solve the issue. But the release of Kaala in Karnataka is confirmed, " he adds.
Kanakapura Srinivas, who distributed many successful movies like Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Baahubali, claims that if he had made a Kannada movie he would not have hesitated to release the film in 300 screens.
However, Goldie Films was supposed to release Kaala in Karnataka and backed out later following the opposition from pro-Kannada groups.
Lyca Productions owns the theatrical rights and it had approached many distributors to release the flick. There were rumours doing the rounds that Rockline Venkatesh had come forward to release the flick following Rajinikanth's request.
Nonetheless, none was ready to take a chance. Now, Kanakapura Srinivas will be releasing the movie on the profit-sharing basis in a limited number of screens.
However, the exhibitors are concerned about the safety if screened Kaala. Many theatres in Bengaluru are happy to screen the movie but fear that they might face the wrath of the fringe groups. "Even if they provide security, we are not willing to screen the film. How many days can the government provide security?" a spokesperson of a leading single-screen theatre told us on the condition of anonymity.
We got in touch with popular cinema hall Urvashi and the spokesperson stated that they have backed out from releasing Kaala. "We will screen Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom from tomorrow, (June 7)"
The movie had landed in trouble following the opposition from the pro-Kannada groups, which wanted the movie to be banned over Rajinikanth's pro-Tamil Nadu stand in the Cauvery issue.
The Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce was not in favour of the film's release in the state but later clarified that it had not banned the Rajinikanth film and was willing to negotiate between both the parties to solve the issue.
HD Kumaraswamy, the newly-elected Chief Minister of Karnataka, too stated that the situation for release is not favourable. "As head of the Karnataka government, it's my responsibility to implement the judgements and directions of the High Court. But according to my observation as an individual, in this kind of atmosphere, it's not good on part of the producer, distributor to release the movie", said Mr Kumaraswamy.
From his experience of a film distributor and producer, HD Kumaraswamy felt that the movie will not be a successful venture if released at this point of time and ideally it should hit the screens once the issue around Cauvery is resolved.