The loss of genre exploration in Tamil Cinema

The loss of genre exploration in Tamil Cinema

By isn't responsible for the views expressed by the visitor in this column. The visitor claims that this column is his/her own. If the column infringes any copyrights that you hold, please email us at

I was startled by the fact that almost every Friday there’s a slew of new movie releses, and it can be easily said that most of these movies have the same core. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t mean the story, but the core content. The good versus evil subplot, a few conflicts before the interval, three classy songs , one with enough cleavage shown and if you are lucky perhaps you can see the exotic foreign locales with the small amount you paid for the ticket. It’s not wrong, I enjoyed it as much. Branded as entertainment, anything that makes you happy (and the producers) is fine. But there’s a dearth of exploration in that matter. The originality, shall I say less existent to be a bit optimistic. Churning out movies every week and yet the same old wine in a new bottle? What happened to genre exploration? Expand new ideas? Heard the word experimentation? Well, in most cases the answer would be that nobody supports these movies as it goes down like a lead balloon. There are art house films and genre diverse movies releasing once in a blue moon, but it has merely been isolated to award functions and film festival submissions.


India has many great personalities. I could list down 100 characters you could make a movie on and still have another 100 at the back of my head (I wanted to say a never ending list but it didn’t pan out well). Biopic is a sub-genre conceivably a part of larger genres likes drama or history. Sadly, biopics are very less experimented in this 100 year old industry.  As much as we have watched Karnan, Nayagan and even our Superstar as Sri Raghavendra, these days it is an infrequent theme. Iruvar was one such exceptional feat even the western filmmakers noticed and duly felicitated. So when movies like Lincoln and Bridge of Spies were getting world wide acclaim, I can only bow down in agony as I know there’s more to explore in India itself yet the effort is very seasonal. Ignorant I may be, but Ramanujan is the only movie I can think of in recent times.


Neo- noir is a classic genre exploited in the west. We had a fair share of these movies, although more in Hindi. But then came Aaranya Kaandam, and cinema witnessed what a game changer it was. The amount of problem faced and yet when released it showed what cinema is really about; Ideas being presented in a very intrinsic manner.  That was six years ago and now I’m lamenting on our prospects again.


Thrillers are a very sought after genre.  Be it crime or better still psychological, these movies are very scarce these days. Referring to the likes of Se7en and The Silence of the Lambs, whodunits are slowly getting its place in Tamil cinema.We had our own Yutham Sei and who can forget the spine-chilling Sigappu Rojakkal? But this genre has been lesser explored these days. It’s commonly conflated with other commercial elements mostly working against the genre. It has the scope for raking the money as the target audiences are not restricted. 


Mind bender is a very popular genre among the current youth. Movies like Inception and The Prestige are esoteric master pieces and I’m not that wicked to compare our cinema with those standards anyhow. Ironically, many masala movies have instilled the plot shifting twists and came to taste success but that’s not what the genre is about. Papanasam (Drishyam) is one good example and we have seen how universally accepted genre it was.


Fantasy and history are genres sporadic in Tamil cinema. It doesn’t have to be as big as Baahubali or Aayirathil Oruvan for a start. It could be something of a concept alteration. Indru Netru Naalai was one such idea well received though it doesn’t boast of a huge star cast or production. A film with a colloquial idea like Stranger Than Fiction would be nice to be seen in our “flavor”. Question yourself, when was the last time you saw a historical Tamil movie? By the time you get an answer, let me say it wouldn’t matter because it is the rarest.  Urumi was dubbed and released yet remains the top most favorite for me.  Many movies were made in the past such as Mayabazar or Asoka.


Despite the lack of filmmakers who are willing to cash in on a film for the sole purpose of art, I truly understand it’s not their fault entirely. Audiences are not being supportive of these cinemas.  Films like The Hateful Eight are receiving warm welcome from them but if the same is attempted in Kollywood, it is juxtaposed, criticized callously and dumped.  In the current age of technology, every Tom, Dick and Harry is a movie expert and posting movie reviews on social media platforms has become some kind of a norm. Nonetheless, this so called film “critiques” could not make movies like Uttama Villain a hit. Disgruntled I am, however I have full faith in the filmmakers for trying to change the game, though not entirely by bringing in movies like Isai, Thani Oruvan, Puli, Rajathanthiram and Kaakka Muttai to name a few. Audiences should try to accept different genres. Only when there is market would these kinds of movies be brought to the silver screen. Wrapping up this article, I would love to watch movies in the likes of Frost/Nixon, Court and Munnariyippu being made in Tamil.  Please do not remake them!


Want to publish your column too?
Please send your column to



This page has information about The loss of genre exploration in Tamil Cinema , Tamil cinema.