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An angry young fan reports on Sivaji
July 16, 2007
The views expressed below are that of the person mentioned below.

Dear Behindwoods,

It's official -- Sivaji at this time of writing is the highest grossing Tamil movie in Malaysia's history with $7 million Malaysian Ringgit. It also has been holding top positions in the country's top 10 box office -- not an easy feat in Malaysia where there are lots of movies screened in different languages -- from the latest Hollywood blockbusters to Chinese movies, Thai movies, Malay movies etc.

What is also remarkable is that Malaysia's English papers which normally do not report on any Tamil films expect for reviews of Tamil films etc for its Tamil audience who read English papers have begun carrying reports on Sivaji. Malaysia's English papers tend to report more on Hindi films. There was a major write-up about Sivaji by one of the country's best columnist, Amir Muhammad, that appears in New Straits Times, one of the country's largest English newspapers, and the oldest English newspaper in the region (it is over 150 years old).

It has taken Shankar, Rajiniknath and AR Rahman to finally convince Bollywood and the rest of the world that Bollywood is not India and India is not Bollywood. That regional films especially Tamil film industry is not a subtext of Bollywood but they are an industry to be reckoned with, on their own. The fact that Sivaji has had wide publicity all over the world (even the Independent newspaper in London carried an article on Sivaji) and especially in North India should alert the South Indian film makers, especially Tamil film makers of the potential to tap into the Northern market for Tamil films. As one of the writers to this site had mentioned, the producers should spent a little bit extra money to put in subtitles (most of the Tamil movies in Malaysia do not have subtitles) and use English medium to market their films to non- Tamil speaking audience - which is what Hindi films have been doing very successfully. If non-Hindi speaking people can accept Hindi films, there is no reason why they can't accept other Indian films like Tamil films as well.

Bravo to you Shankar! You have proved that you don't have to make a Hindi film -- unlike other Tamil directors to have defected to Hindi like Mani Ratnam -- to have a national audience. Good films in Tamil can also have a national audience. But I must say, I am saddened to hear that Shankar's next venture is a Hindi film. Darn! there goes another Tamil director over to Hindi.

I think it is about time that South Indian film makers take a stand and shout to the world that Bollywood is not India and India is not Bollywood. Hopefully it will get the people who organize the laughable IIFA awards -- International Indian Film Awards -- to realize the error of their ways and correct the award name to what it should be - International Bollywood Film Awards. I think the Southern film fraternity has been too quiet and has not made enough noise to protest Bollywood's marketing itself as the sole representative of all things Indian.

Sharmila Valli Narayanan handsomest

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