Fantasy - A genre that remains a fantasy in Tamil Cinema

Fantasy - A genre that remains a fantasy in Tamil Cinema

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Few days ago, a much awaited, star studded and highly anticipated FANTASY movie released. Puli, starring the industry's most dynamic and marketable hero - Ilayathalapathy Vijay, the returning Kollywood queen of the 80s - Sridevi, Superstar of Sandalwood - Sudeep, gorgeously attractive Shruti Hassan and Hansika, with the best possible supporting crew of artists like Prabhu, Thambi Ramaiah, Robo Shankar, Iman annachi, Vidyu among many others, and in addition, a couple of guest appearances too (Woof!!). The film belonged to Tamil Cinema's arguably the most cursed genre... The Fantasy genre.

A perfect fantasy movie remains a fantasy in Kollywood. Though few people can presume Baahubali to be one, the reality is that, though Baahubali was set in a mildly fantasied land with imaginary backdrops and practices, it is a period movie and not an out and out fantasy movie. But Puli has everything that comes to your mind when you think fantasy - A chosen hero, talking creatures, magic potions, cursed men, epic sized tortoise, one eyed giant, and lilliputs and flying villains. Still, Puli cannot bring out the essence of a perfect fantasy movie, which is evident from the trolls that are being circulated online much to the concern of a Tamil Cinema lover.

Fantasy is surely not an unexplored territory in Tamil Cinema. In fact, it is more like a haunted territory as once fantasy movies prospered here and bore unimaginable fruits to the makers, but not anymore. I could remember a period where, Director - Producer Ramanarayanan would dish up an "amman movie" or a "bootham movie" every month and get away with hits. So, what has gone wrong now as computer graphics and technology have actually improved a lot these days? 

Taking Puli, one had the feeling that, it was neither here nor there. Neither mass enough nor class enough. Having cast a mass hero as the lead, Chimbudevan had to incorporate several elements that you associate with Vijay movies but he did not. As a result, Puli received mixed reviews from fans and critics indicating that one should never compromise while making a movie, and surely not while experimenting one.

So the right proportion of class and mass in a fantasy movie has to be figured out sooner or later. Why don't directors take a leaf out of Shankar's Enthiran? Though it did not belong to the fantasy genre, the Science Fiction (A much needed new genre to Tamil audience) had our Superstar in three totally varied avatars - A comic yet sensational Chitti the Robot, A class Scientist in Vaseegaran and a mass Villain in Chitti V2.0. Hence, experimenting needs such proper thought process in movie making and a clear vision of what ought to be done.

Another reason can be that, the audience expects certain ingredients while going to watch a reputed film maker's flick. They get disappointed if the movie lacks the director's usual touches. This happened to Director Selvaraghavan when he decided to give the viewers Irandam Ulagam. The movie, unlike Selva's previous outings, was less intense and more jovial in portraying fantasized love. Puli too did miss Chimbudevan's usual naughty inferences and mischievous details, barring very few moments. 

Fantasy movies require a lot of background work, from immense sets to intricate graphical details. As the movies of yesteryear did not have high expectations when it came to technology, they did score well with the audience. But, now people expect a lot of perfection in CG works and sets, which necessitates a lavishly spending production house. This is why Vijay demands an appreciation for doing Puli, as a hero of his stature can bring in a lot of money for production. But, the team has to make sure that they don't waste the riches and fortunately Puli does score in this front with clean CG works and grand sets. The crew deserves applause for few excelling technical shots. 


The argument that the people here do not welcome fantasy movies is baseless as Hollywood blockbusters like Harry Potter and Hunger games are big hits in this part of the world too. People here always welcome new ideas and reward good movie making if marketed in the right way. 

Tamil Cinema must soon break the jinx of unable to make a perfect fantasy movie, so that families can go with their children to the theaters to witness an extravaganza and enjoy a truly enjoyable genre. For now, people can try Puli for two reasons - Vijay's effort at doing something new by subduing his usual mass hero persona and for Puli belonging to the FANTASY genre.


Arunachalam Senthilnathan

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