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365 days and beyond: Films that ran for more than a year and their success stories!!
There are films and then more films made with each passing year. Along comes one movie which rewrites all rules of box office performance. It acts as the benchmark which everyone aspires to emulate but rarely equals. The key players in such a film are placed in a rarified realm in the minds of the audience. The affection showed by the audience is just overwhelming. The fact that the film has crossed the golden milestone of having a continuous run for a year – yes, 365 days and still counting – just stupefies us. Ladies and gentlemen, please raise a toast for Chandramukhi, which has achieved this unique record.
Let us see the evolution behind this achievement. When Chandramukhi was launched last year, there were several doomsayers who thought that it would be a wasted effort. Superstar Rajinikanth was licking the wounds of failure in Baba while P. Vasu was also in the red. Sivaji Productions had not had significant success and were in a limbo after the patriarch’s death. The three decided to get together and prove that their combined experience would charter a new course for all of them. They chose a fantasy theme as the plot and created an almost flawless screenplay. For a change, Rajini’s persona was realistically tailored and he seemed so much the man-next-door trying to help his friend. Rajini performed his role with subtle underplaying and he received excellent support from other members of the cast.
Tuneful music, meaningful lyrics and song sequences, excellent technical work and above all the commitment of every artiste right from Superstar helped in shaping the final product. Savvy marketing ensured that the film received adequate media coverage(not that being a Rajini film was reason enough). Chandramukhi was released on Tamil New Year’s Day last year and today, a year later is still grossing good collections in theatres in Tamil nadu. So, folks put your hands together once again and congratulate thalaivar and wish him many more years of such crowning glories.
Kamal & Sridevi
If we trace similar films which enjoyed such success over the years the underlying reason for their success has three main ingredients. They have a humanistic element in their central plot namely, romance, friendship, patriotism, betrayal and so on. Second is that the protagonists did not have extra-human, larger-than-life powers. Instead they were simple human beings like you and me. The period of social churning contributed a lot to the zeitgeist of these films. Love was portrayed in a bold and ahead of time manner. Similarly, new thoughts about screen romance and how and why a man and woman fall in love or separate led to fresh thinking on these topics.
These films brought about an awakening and questioning attitude towards social mores on love, courtship and marriage. Similarly, friendship, betrayal, patriotism and triumphing over odds were dealt with in a realistic manner. The packaging of all the elements of storytelling, like dialogues, music and lyrics was near perfect in these films and that is why there is no single discordant note and these films are evergreen hits.
Chandramukhi has satisfied these ingredients and yet its achievement is unique because it has stood its ground in this era of DVDs, pool games and amusement parks. Audiences those days did not have such options and hence turned to movies for repeat viewings as well. Having compelled families to come back to theatres especially for repeat viewings in this ultramodern age is a singular record of Chandramukhi. A careful plot, a neat screenplay, absence of blood and gore, Vadivelu-Rajini duo’s comedy, excellent songs by Vidhya Sagar, a total package which attracted family audiences with their children – everything paved the way. The climax was the high point in which Rajini and Jothika tried to outperform each other.
Let us go back in time and see other films, which have achieved this special milestone of running non-stop for a year.
Baasha - 1995

If you ask any Rajini fan which movie of his thalaivar he likes the most, the answer mostly would be Baasha. It’s the overall choice of the fans. Suresh Krishna portrayed Rajini in two opposite characters - as a calm auto driver and a don who was the terror in Mumbai. Baasha used his unlimited powers for the welfare of the poor and downtrodden and gave up his kingdom when he had to protect and nurture his family. The two figures of Manickam and Baasha were portrayed excellently by Rajini. The film’s strength is the gripping screenplay without a hint of boredom setting in. So, any time you watch it, you are glued to it. Deva’s super hit songs and Raja’s stunts also helped the movie become a super hit.
Karagaattakaaran - 1989

This movie had a late pick up. The initial buyers were not able to spot the gold mine it held inside and those who second released and shifted this movie benefited a lot. Gangai Amaran’s classy direction, a simple and neat story, good performance of Ramarajan and Kanaga, believable stunt scenes, Ilayaraja’s excellent songs and finally Goundamani Senthil’s comedy made this movie a block buster. Though, the story resembled Chevalier Sivaji Ganesan – Padmini’s Thillana Mohanambal, people didn’t care that and made this movie to run a full year. The movie was also showed in Russian cinema houses to a packed audiencel.
Payanangal Mudivadhillai - 1982

And then in 1983, the Mohan – Poornima Jayaram starrer Payanangal Mudivadhillai also showed for a year. Classy songs by Ilayaraja and Silver Jubilee hero Mike Mohan’s simple but great performance made this movie a super hit. S Ve Sekhar’s comedy also helped a lot. R Sundararajan the Silver Jubilee director directed this. It almost ran for 65 weeks. A record of its kind.

Nenjatthai Killaadhae - 1980

This is also a Mohan film but the heroine is Suhasini. It is a Lovely film, with very good camera work and mind blowing music by Raja. It was about a young modern girl, struggling to live with her crude sister in law, despite having a loving brother. She falls in love with a guy who ditches her. She marries another man but is not able to reconcile herself. The husband goes through emotional upheavals himself and the film ends with how both of them find their true love for each other. A very different film from Mahendran, probably a trendsetter for later films like mouna ragam. All the actors/actress(s) in the film did a good job, though sharat babu deserved special mention.
Oru Thalai Raagam – 1980

Oru Thalai Raagam re-defined romance in Tamil cinema. Shankar-Rupa were the lead pair. T Rajendar’s direction and music helped very much. This movie is also a late pick up. It was the songs that helped this movie to pick up. Even if you listen TMS voice in this film’s songs, you will forget yourself.
Sudhakar & Rathika
Kizhakae Poghum Rail– 1978

After Padhinaaru Vayadhinilae, Bharathiraaja, Ilayaraja duo made everyone sit and up and take notice of them in this film. Radhika made her debut as the simple village girl. S A Rajkannu of Sri Amman Creations produced this film. The songs of the movie were super hits and an excellent climax gave it good support.

Some movies like Kilinjalgal, Moondram Pirai, Munthanai Mudichu also had an excellent run but just missed the 365 days mark.

Way back, the biggest hit of them all was the Thyagaraja Bagavathar film Haridas. It ran for three years continuously. For three Deepavalis it was a mega hit. But then, those were bygone days and a bygone milieu
Our own Kamal Hassan has a unique record in this regard as well. He has also offered a film which ran for 365 days. But the unusual thing about it is that it was in another language – Telugu, Marocharitra – and it ran for full house here in Tamilnadu. You can always look up to Kamal to come up with something spectacular.

Will Shankar’s Rajini starrer Sivaji set another record for the superstar? The fans hope so and so does the industry. For the industry it would be a victory over pirated CDs and DVDs.
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