Aascar Ravichandran talks about Billa 2 and ... [Interview]

Today Aascar Films is the biggest banner in Kollywood in the field of production, distribution and exhibition. The man behind it is V Ravichandran, who two decades back was running his father's film distribution company in Vellore.

Ravi, the ambitious young man was a pathbreaker in film business. His claim to fame is the way he distributed and popularised Jackie Chan movies in south India in the early 90's.

Later, Ravichandran forayed into Tamil film production and distribution and struck gold through films like Vanathe Pole, Ramanna, Anniyan, Dasavatharam Velayudham and has also distributed over 200 films. He controls nearly 25 screens in NSC area. Ravi knows Tamil Nadu film market like the back of his hand and they say he can smell a hit.

The elusive Ravichandran is one producer who refuses to come under the limelight. As a policy he does not attend any function including his own film audio launch or other celebrations! He believes that the film he takes should do the talking at the box-office and also refuses to be photographed.

Sitting in his posh office at Ashok Nagar in Chennai, Aascar Ravichandran in an exclusive interview to Sreedhar Pillai opens up on Billa 2 and lot more.

Why has Billa 2 release been delayed?
The film was technically ready and handed over to me only on July 2, and then we announced the release date as July 13. I cannot be blamed for the delay in release.

Is there any difference of opinion between you and Billa 2 producer Sunir Kheterpal over the pricing of the film?
I have been in film business for the last 33 years and done so many big films as producer and distributor. So far there has not been any complaint against me or my company.  Once I sign a deal it will be honoured at any cost.
Aascar Films has purchased the Tamil Nadu theatrical rights of Billa 2 from Sunir Kheterpal for Rs 24.11 Crore plus Rs 2 Crore publicity. I have paid him the entire amount before release, and we are good friends.

How confident are you about recovering your money and making a profit from Billa 2, which has got an 'A' certificate?
I'm 100% confident that I will make money on Billa 2, which will be released wide on July 13.  I'm distributing the film for entire Tamil Nadu and have not sold any areas to sub-distributors. The number of screens is increasing by the day, the exact screen count will be known only by Thursday (July 12).  At the last count it was around 550 screens in TN , plus another 100 odd in Ceded area of Andhra and north India through PVR. My estimate is that I will recover my investment in the first week itself. The film has potential to collect Rs 55 to Rs 60 Crore in the first week.

Did you watch the film?
Yes, I saw the first copy and I' simply loved it. Ajith sir is extraordinary. I don't want to talk anything further about it, as too much hype gives over expectation.

Do you feel star power sells the best at box-office?
I think star power enables an opening and if content is good sky is the limit. In Tamil cinema the first of the superstars were Thyagaraja Bhagavathar and NS Krishnan, then it was MGR and Sivaji followed by Kamal and Rajini and today it is Ajith and Vijay.  Today's superstars have a minimum guarantee and they are safe bets.

Tell us something about Ajith's opening?
Ajith sir has a phenomenal opening. The kind of response to Billa 2 advance booking all over TN is proof of that.

What next?
I have four films in various stages of production-  Shankar’s I, Boologam, Mariyaan and Vallinam. Next year I will be starting a film with Kamal Haasan and later with Jackie Chan.


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