Home > Columns

dhanush ravi


From national awards to experimental genres, Tamil cinema has come a long way in 2011. As we stand in the middle of the year, the progress Tamil films have made is spectacular and it’s evident. Unlike any other year, 2011 has been the year of prolific experimentation. While on the one hand, we had the commercially uncompromising - yet (in)credible in its storyline and plot structure – Aadukalam and on the other, there was Aaranya Kaandam that seemed to sternly elbow out the commercial inevitabilities but still blew our minds. And in between, there were dark subjects that are often frowned upon because we, as an audience, are yet to be matured to receive them. Not to mention, there were no dearth of commercial potboilers such as Ko and Siruthai.

A cursory look at the trade results over the past 6 months reveals that Tamil movies have, overall, made respectable collections. This despite being the year of experimentation, it’s also heartening to note that business has not fallen into bad times. Of the 65 (or so) movies released so far this year, movies like Aadukalam, Siruthai, Avan Ivan, Kaavalan and Ko mad brisk business. Avan Ivan and Ko are still running in a few release centers and might be able to cross the collection mark set by other movies released during the initial months.

Other than the trade, movies that gained place in the good books of critics and fans include Mysskin’s family thriller drama Yuddham Sei, debutant Gaurav’s Thoonga Nagaram, Radha Mohan’s hijack thriller Payanam, Gautham Menon’s psycho-thriller Nadunisi Naaygal, Subramaniya Siva’s Seedan, Thyagarajan’s Ponnar Shankar, Krish’s Vaanam, Suseenthiran’s Azhagarsamiyin Kudhirai, Kuzhandai Velappan’s Aanmai Thavarel and Thiagarajan Kumararaja’s Aaranya Kaandam.

What with experimentation ruling the roost, this year has also seen an influx of talents (debut or little known erstwhile) in Tamil cinema. Ranging from directors (who presented a platter of gritty to feel-good movies) to actors who dared to take up unconventional roles (Veera Bahu of Nadunisi Naaygal is a good example) Tamil movies were replete with gifted talents who are ready to push the proverbial envelope. Characters such as Aaranya Kaandam’s Sappai and Subbu and the title character of Azhagarsamiyin Kudhirai, Azhagarsami will remain etched in our memories for a long time to come. 

In an another interesting turn of events the number of remake movies has drastically come down what with only a handful of movies namely Siruthai and Kaavalan making a mark at the remake scene. Which is good for indigenous Tamil movies. Besides, a new trend of remaking old films (the dampener of a movie Maapillai, for instance) is catching up slowly. And dubbed Telugu releases are fast becoming more common now (Maaveeran, Vambu, Rakki... etc.) probably sending chill down the spines of the likes of Jeyam Ravi. And, as much as bollywood might want to feign ignorance about the topic, more and more Tamil movies are being made into Hindi (the recent case being Ko).

Rather than relying on narrow sources for stories, it’s interesting to note that our directors are expanding their sources. Best example being Suseenthiran, who adapted noted writer Bhaskar Sakthi’s short story into an endearing little movie. Vasanthabalan’s upcoming movie Aravaan is based on Su. Venkatesan's novel Kaaval Kottam. It reportedly took Su. Venkatesan about nine years to finish his novel and it remains to be seen how Vasanthabalan adapts it for the big screen.

Now that I have painted a rosy picture of a seemingly ‘all is well’ Kollywood, it’s time to peep into the release schedule of the rest of the year. Other than the regular commercial fare in offer, Murugadoss's 7aam Arivu, Hari’s Vengai and Thyagarajan’s Mambattiyan there are a few interesting movies that catches one’s eyes on the list. Venkat Prabhu’s Mankatha will be an interesting watch what with VP threatening to expose the underbelly of cricket betting. A L Vijay’s Deiva Thirumagal is promising to be family-legal drama.

Perhaps the most interesting ones on the release list would be director Anjana’s Veppam and acclaimed director Vasanthabalan’s Aravaan. Anjana hails from the Gautham Menon stable and Veppam has been in the news for a long time. After dillydallying for a long time with release dates, Photon Kathas set the release date as July 29. Set in the backdrop of a Chennai slum, Veppam follows a group of slum dwellers and traces their lives and struggles. Vasanthabalan’s Aravaan is a period film that traces the history of Madurai. In the course of the struggle, the movie touches upon many ambitious empires, including the British, and Madurai’s attempts to wriggle free of these conquests. 

So fasten your seat belts and grab a cup of popcorn while our movies take you on a ride. One Tour de Force after another.

Respond to
Behindwoods is not responsible for the views of columnists.

About this page

This page hosts the views of the authors of the column. The views are generally about films, movie reviews, movie news, songs, music, film actors and actresses, directors, producers, cinematographers, music directors, and all others that contribute for the success or failure of a film. People looking for movies online, movie reviews, movie analysis, public response for a movie, will find this page useful.