Finally a year after the film was launched, Rajnikanth's Shankar directed AVM produced Sivaji theatrical rights for the state of Kerala has been sold ! It is the first "official" reported sale of the most eagerly awaited film of the year.
The buyer is Palakkad Govindan of GSR combines a veteran distributor of Tamil films in Kerala. And the price is an unheard and whopping Rs 3.10 Crore!
Govindan had to register the distribution sale of the film with the powerful Kerala Film Distributors Association (KFDA) in Kochi. KFDA had put forth a new rule from Jan 1, 2007 that Tamil films cannot release simultaneously with Tamilnadu in Kerala.
This rule was made to curb the growing popularity of Tamil films. Though officially KFDA had put the blame on the habit of prints reaching late in Kerala due to financial problems faced by Tamil producers who postpones releases in the last minute!
Anyway KFDA had exempted distributors of Tamil films seeking simultaneous release mainly Pongal films from the new rule. Along with distributors of Pokiri and Aalwar, Govindan too applied for a simultaneous release of Sivaji and the release date he has given to KFDA is May 11 or June 8!
Govindan also produced a sale letter from producers of Sivaji that he has the rights for the film for the state of Kerala. Hence KFDA has allowed the film to have a simultaneous release in Kerala along with its Tamilnadu release.
Meanwhile Sivaji sales for Rs 3.10 Crore has created a tremor in the trade. The films of Mammootty and Mohanlal, the superstars of Kerala are made for less than 3 Crore! In fact Antony Perumbavoor the producer of Mohanlal's Christmas hit Baba Kalyani had made it at a cost of Rs 2.75 Crore!
The highest ever paid for a Tamil film distribution rights for Kerala was for Vikram's Anniyan which was sold for Rs 1.40 Crore. And it was the highest collecting Tamil film in Kerala that made a distributors share of Rs 2 Crore.
According to sources close to Palakkad Govindan, the hype and hoopla surrounding the film, plus the Rajni-Shankar combo has made him buy the distribution rights.
Added to that Govindan a big fan of Rajnikanth and Shankar has distributed many of their hits in the past. Even Boys was purchased by Govindan for Rs 80 Lakhs and it went on to get a distributors share of Rs 1.40 Crore!