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By Behindwoods Visitor Vishnu Sarma
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In Endhiran there is a scene immediately after Chitti and Ash dance to the brilliantly composed Chitti dance showcase, in which Vaseegaran develops a jealousy towards the Android. In that scene, Vasi lets out human emotions in the form of anger, irritation and jealousy forgetting the fact that he is dealing with an Android which he himself has created. It is the moments like these that we as an audience feel that Chitti is very much part of the whole plot of the film and not just be there to be a part of only the special effects in the climax scenes. So if a film is made with well defined characters , no matter what the budget is, which can support the flow of the story, then there is a seldom chance that the film will fail. Shankar has been proving this point all these years since Gentlemen and yet again in Endhiran he sticks to his basics inspite of the big names, record production cost and above all the most important
thing, living upto the hype and expectations. That is going to be my whole point of this article. In the sense, the question is what does the success of Endhiran mean to Indian cinema especially Tamil cinema?

After coming out of the cinema hall watching Endhiran especially after experiencing the breathtaking special effects in the last 40 minutes of the film, audiences might have felt that there is going to be no other film made in the future to match the quality of Endhiran . But I feel Endhiran should be looked at as an opportunity or a license to shatter all the production cost notions in Indian cinema. Production houses should now be able to think beyond the 60-70 crores margin to increase the quality of the film. But if that has to happen there is a huge responsibility on the filmmakers. Unless they come up with an exciting script and well defined characters there is absolutely no point for a production house to invest 100+ crores in a film. Because production houses want to play safe and that isn’t a sin because they are in a business. For example, factors such as star value, songs, exotic locations, director’s or producer’s reputation in the film industry will be significant enough to contribute to atleast the grand opening of the film but if the script of the film isn’t well knit then the film’s BO performance slowly dies out after the first week craze. Those way Hindi films play safe even with a wafer thin story/script in their films. All they need to do is get any of the top 3 Khans/Akshay kumar, with trademark ‘dhinchak’ music, directed by a renowed name in the industry, produced by a renowed production house, a 60-70 crore for the film is a safe bet. The film gets a worldwide opening and it gets back 75-80% of the investment in the first week because the big names sell. Nothing wrong in it because after all filmmaking is a business and every producer wants to see his films make more money than that invested.

But how long are we going to play safe? Filmmaking has 24 crafts and each craft has no limits to try new things. Playing safe will only restrict the scope of filmmaking. Endhiran could have well been made on a 60-70 crores budget margin because the name ‘Rajnikanth’ is enough to sell. But it would have been just another run of the mill film. This is where Shankar comes in to contribute a decent story, script, well defined characters, which meant that the film will hold the audiences interest for more than a week. This also means that a production house can safely invest more than the safe margin. If ‘Chitti’ becomes a cult character in the future it will be because it had a well defined role in the film, very much a part of the plot and not just because it turns into a giant ball/python/demonic robot during the climax.

Since we have this inferior feeling of comparing everything to Hollywood, I rate Endhiran’s success on par with Rahman’s Oscar wins. So filmmakers, get busy working on script and compel the production houses to increase the safe margin from 60-70 crores to 150+ crores.

Vishnu Sarma
Tags : Endhiran, Rajinikanth, AR Rahman, Shankar, Aishwarya Rai

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