It’s a strong line-up of regional movies — from Vijay's Master and Silambarasan's Eeswaran to Ravi Teja’s Krack and Rana Daggubati’s Aranya — that will hopefully light up cinema theatres in the new year.

While there is an equally strong line-up of ready-to-release Bollywood films such as Akshay Kumar's Sooryavanshi , Ranvir Singh’s 83 , Ranbir Kapoor-Alia Bhatt starrer Brahmastra and a dozen other small-budget films, none of these has announced release dates, yet.

Ramprasad ki Tehrvi , a family drama with Naseeruddin Shah as the lead, is the only Hindi movie that will hit the big screen starting on January 1.

Meanwhile, the makers of Vijay's much-hyped Master have announced that the movie will hit the theatres on January 13 in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi, to coincide with Pongal and Sankranti.

The movie, which was originally scheduled for release in April 2020 but postponed due to the Covid pandemic, has already created a buzz among fans.

Film exhibitors believe the release of movies with heavy star power will pull audiences back to theatres and the box-office success of such movies could prompt more releases.

Southern push

Master is fabulous content for the big screen, with big stars like Vijay and Vijay Sethupathi. This will undoubtedly be the biggest regional blockbuster post reopening,” said Devang Sampat, CEO, Cinépolis India.

Regional content like this has performed really well at Cinépolis in the past and, with the film being dubbed in Hindi, this will provide access to a new audience which is fast developing a taste for South Indian cinema, he added.

Despite the pandemic year, Cinépolis expanded its presence in India by adding 26 new screens, including an 11-screen multiplex in Navi Mumbai an eight-screen multiplex in Chennai, and a seven-screener at Millennium City in Delhi-NCR in the last few weeks of 2020.

In addition to Master , Kollywood has major titles such as Dhanush's Jagame Thanthiram , Vikram's Cobra and Karthi's Sultan, among others, lined up for release.

“While we have movies like Sooryavanshi, 83, Bell Bottom, Pathan, Prithiviraj, Radhe, and Laal Singh Chaddha on the Hindi cinema front, movies like Master and KGF Chapter 2 , releasing in multiple Indian languages, will ensure that 2021 begins with a bang,” said Inox Leisure CEO Alok Tandon in a statement. He added that big titles like RRR, Valimai, Cobra and Annaatthee will keep the excitement high.

While Vijay’s movies are typically known for releasing in over a thousand screens and turning big grossers, seating restrictions in theatres, and absence of overseas release could affect collections this time.

Seating issues

Currently, movie theatres are allowed to operate only at 50 per cent capacity in Tamil Nadu. On Sunday, Vijay met Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisami at the latter's residence.

Media reports suggest that the actor has requested the Chief Minister to help with the release of his upcoming film and relax the restrictions on seating capacity.