February 29 2020
Kannada films set new record with 224 releases, but that’s where the good news ends
11 December 2018

So far, only five films have been hits at the box office

Setting a new record, Kannada film industry has so far seen 224 releases this year, and the numbers will go up, considering that three weeks are left for the year to end. Industry sources say the number might cross 230.

Kannada cinema crossed the 100 mark in 2008, and took exactly a decade to cross the 200 mark.

Considering that multi-starrer big budget films, including Kurukshetrastarring Darshan and KGF starring Yash are set for release while Villain starring Shivarajkumar and Sudeep is doing well, the annual turnover is likely to cross ₹500 crore. The combined investment in these three multi-lingual films, according to trade sources, is over ₹150 crore.

Numbers vs Growth

While the numbers paint a happy picture, Kannada film industry insiders say that increase in numbers is not necessarily an indicator of ‘growth’. According to trade experts, there is a total mismatch between releases and the success of films at the box office.

Success rate, according to exhibitor-actor-producer Umesh Banakar, is about 10% in terms of recovery of investment, which means that only 20 of 200-plus films released succeeded in recovering their investment. “Of the 225 films, only five could make an impressive profit. The rest struggled to recover their investment,” he said.

Of the films released, the ones that did well were Tagaru starring Shivarajkumar, Sarkari Hiriya Prathamika Shale Kasaragodu, Koduge Ramanna Rai by Rakshit Shetty, Ayogya starring Ninasam Satish, Rambo-2 by Sharan, and Gultoo of Janardhan Chikkanna. As many as 15 films, including Ambi Ning Vayassayto starring Ambareesh, only recovered their investment.

Digitalisation has instilled confidence among filmmakers, pushing up numbers, said Mansore, whose Nathicharami has been screened in various international film festivals. B.M. Harish, secretary, Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC), underlined the need for filmmakers to pay more attention to the success rate at the box office.

‘Need to focus on quality’

KFCC president Chinne Gowda S.A. said, “Unless filmmakers focus on the quality of films, the industry will not benefit from mere numbers.” He appealed to filmmakers to do their homework before taking up production, as only discipline helps. “It looks like the future of the Kannada film industry is in the hands of the top 10 stars who can pull the audience to theatres. The market for Kannada films is limited, unlike Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam. Kannada films are mostly released in Karnataka,” he said.

He appealed to the stars to do at least three films in a year, so that producers, exhibitors and distributors ‘survive, and to keep the film industry going’.



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