But how many of them are successful? And how many actually
manage to make a quick buck that they are intended to
do? If you do not count the critically acclaimed indie
movies, there are almost no movies that could be termed
as successful in the trade lingo. The movies that stood
the test of time and managed to garner critical praise
include Thamizh Padam, Aval Peyar Thamizharasi, Mundhinam
Paartheney, Angaadi Theru, Irumbu Kottai Murattu Singham,
Kola Kolaya Mundrikka, Kattradhu Kalavu, Ambasamuthram
Ambani and Kalavani. Commercial success, however, has
eluded most of these movies but for Thamizh Padam. A full
fledged spoof, Thamizh Padam, thanks to the viral marketing
campaign unleashed by its producers and the unapologetic
spoof it made of clichés in Tamil films, stood
If most of the small movies don’t
seem to make business at the box office, why is there
an upsurge of such movies in Tamil? There is a reason.
Subramaniapuram seems to have started off the trend
inadvertently. Small time actors, a riveting story,
sentiments thrown in for liberal measures and good music:
the movie made it big. And it didn’t stop there.
That Sasi team’s subsequent Nadodigal was a super
success fuelled the ambitions of many aspiring producers.
As a result, we get to see stencilled copies of wannabe
Subramaniapuram and Nadodigal descendants. This year
so far, the number of movies set in Madurai and its
vicinity is astonishingly high. And it can’t be
just coincidence that so many movies have striking resemblance
to the above mentioned blockbusters.
On the other hand, it would be quite unfair to term
all the small budget movies to be wannabes. There were
some genuinely interesting movies that slipped the attention
of the box office this year. Like Porkkalam that had
awesome cinematography, Kathai and its heart rendering
climax, Yathumagi’s appealing romantic angle and
Magane En Marumagane’s attempts to bring the good
old Visu days back. But these seem just exceptions.
So don’t the aspirants (the small budget movies)
make any money at all? They seem to have their deal.
A week or two weekends at the box office is enough to
make profits for these ventures, given their shoe string
budget. And the satellite rights also make money equating
the balance sheet of the producers or adding up to the
profit column. For lack of entertaining content, our
television channels end up buying the rights of every
single movie released and force feed the same to every
As long as the producers don’t realise that the
stencilled versions hold good only for a quick buck
or two, there is no respite for the small budget Tamil
movies from being branded as typecasts and written down.
With almost half of the year still left, there are
still around 50 movies to be released. At least half
of them will be small budget ventures. So is there hope
for betterment? All said and done, at the end of the
day hope is a precious thing to hold and behold!
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