Director Alphonse Puthren has put himself under tremendous pressure with his latest movie Gold. The film has been making headlines for all the missed released dates and seemingly the aloof attitude of its primary star cast.
Gold is led by Prithviraj Sukumaran and Nayanthara. Prithviraj is known for running exhaustive promotional campaigns for his films. For example, when he wanted to travel abroad for a shoot closer to the release of Jana Gana Mana, he gave several interviews promoting the film. As a leading star and producer, Prithviraj understands the importance of promotions in the current market conditions. But, he remained conspicuous by his absence during the promotions of Gold.
Besides playing the lead role, Prithviraj has also co-produced Gold along with Listin Stephen and Justin Stephen. There is a lot more at stake for Prithviraj in the film than in his previous ones, yet he has been nonchalant about its promotions. Except for a couple of tweets about the movie’s release date, Prithviraj has refrained from talking about it in all mediums.
Is Prithviraj miffed with Alphonse Puthren? Does he think Gold is beyond saving and decided to distance himself from the film, so it won’t hurt him much, should it fail? It’s all gloomy. And the makers are accountable for causing such speculations. There is so much ambiguity around Gold that it is open to myriad interpretations.
The makers of Gold began promoting it in a very conventional manner. In March this year, a teaser was released introducing key characters of the film. The teaser opens with Prithviraj noticing a gang of men doing something shady. We get close-up shots of all men doing the shady thing. Prithviraj’s Joshi calls out JJ (Justin John), Baby Kunju (MA Shiyas) and Faiz (Faisal Muhammed), and walks towards them in slow motion. We get another round of headshots of all the characters before Joshi jumps in the air and delivers a kick to Faiz’s chest. The promo also introduces us to Nayanthara as Sumangali Unnikrishnan.
A slow-motion walk and a thumping background score are just Alphonse Puthren’s things. And he knows that the audience will dig these things and he’s right. Even though it won’t feature in 2022’s best cut teasers list, Gold’s promo accomplished its job. It got us, those who have followed Alphonse’s career, excited. But, after that everything fell quiet for a long time. The fans, who waited in anticipation for further communication from the makers, were left disappointed. There were no further promos, theatrical trailers, songs, or interviews of the star cast. What happened? Fans couldn’t make sense of what was going on with the film like the last moments in the teaser, which shows an ant, a squirrel and a butterfly going about their business. What’s the play here?
Now, it’s easy to imagine that Prithviraj had a fallout with Alphonse over creative differences. Maybe the film didn’t turn out the way the makers first envisioned. Maybe Alphonse’s idiosyncrasies were too difficult for Prithviraj to accommodate. Maybe, this or maybe that. There are plenty of scenarios one could imagine that could have happened behind closed doors leading to such poor planning of the promotions.
Alphonse Puthren is also unenthusiastic about Gold’s release. The film’s production banner, Magic Frames, announced the release date on its Instagram page. But, Alphonse has not shared any release updates or expressed his happiness about his film finally seeing the light of day. What could be more exciting for a filmmaker than his or her movie getting a big release?
Again, it causes one to speculate whether the producers forced Alphonse’s hand in completing the editing before he could achieve the vision he had for Gold. The film was earlier announced as an Onam festival release. Alphonse had said then he was not ready to serve Gold yet as it was still “uncooked.”
Is Alphonse Puthren satisfied with the final cut? Or post its release, will there be a fan-led social media campaign for #AlphonsesCut?
We don’t need to wait for too long to find out. Gold is due in cinemas tomorrow.