Tamil cinema in safe hands?
we stand in the brink of yet another year end, the
transition Tamil cinema is submitting itself to,
is unhurriedly coming to view. This can be attributed
to the changing dimensions of the new generation
of viewers in terms of taste and sensibilities.
Where earlier, as viewers, we were never fastidious
and hence were endowed with colorful, larger than
life movies farther away from the realities of life.
The vibrancy of colors often became the yardstick
to serve as identity for our movies.
Not any more.
The transition is also a sort of progress that touches
upon and transforms the existential qualities of
our movies including the dramatics, relevance of
mainstream cinema in people’s lives and pragmatic
approaches. Zesty themes replace standard templates
while subtlety gains prominence in an effort to
make cinema closer to real life and relatable. Another
noticeably heartening trend is that these changes
are underway without incongruous commercial compromises.
They are not getting any
They are disrobing Tamil cinema of its pretentious banalities,
enrobing it with elegant, layered wardrobe.
In effect, what worked around a few years ago has little
chance to hold people’s attention now. There is
a danger of being labeled outdated and that is conscious
in most works that are released now. There is a constant
need to strive to be different and it shows most of the
times. The new wave movement that is silently altering
the movie making bible of Tamil cinema is also responsible
for the change of many other things in the industry; like
keeping the production costs to the barest minimum. In
other words, we have come to realize, thanks to these
movies, that it is possible to produce a movie without
costing the world.
Actors’ fee is attributed as the main reason for
the skyrocketing production budget. Circumventing this
subject, the new-wave directors employ lesser known names
that help them keep the budget really low. Since the movies
they direct / produce are noticeably some of the best
to come out in recent times, the need of star power to
propel the project’s reach is rendered superfluous.
Some of the defining projects of the past couple of years
are by these new-wave directors. Those include; in 2008
- Pirivom Santhipom, Anjathey, Subramaniyapuram, Jayamkondan,
Saroja, Poi Solla Porom, Poo, Abhiyum Naanum, in 2009
- Vennila Kabadi Kuzhu, Naan Kadavul, Yavarum Nalam, Pasanga,
Nadodigal, Achamundu Achamundu, Eeram, Renigunta - and
in 2010 - Naan Mahaan Alla, Goa, Angaadi Theru, Irumbu
Kottai Murattu Singham and Kalavani. These movies might
not have topped the box collection results (although,
some have) but they made people sit and take notice of
So who are these new-wave of directors? Ameer, Venkat
Prabhu, Vijay, Ram (Katradu Tamil), Priya, Vetrimaran,
Balaji Sakthivel, Mysskin, Karu Pazhaniappan, Chimbudevan,
Madhumitha, Kannan, Sasi (Poo), Madhumitha, Radha Mohan,
Susindran (Vennila Kabadi Kuzhu), Vikram Kumar, Pandiraj,
Sasi Kumar, Vasanthabalan, A Sargunam (Kalavani), C S
Amudhan, Arun Vaidyanathan, Pushkar / Gayathri and Arivazhagan.
Agreed most of these names are just one or two film-old
but their films have been identified as defining movies
in the contemporary scene. Take for instance Ameer; he
is consistently raising the bar set by himself to deliver
gritty films (Ram, Paruthiveeran). So is Mysskin. Vasanthabalan
picks up stories from the most unlikely of places (Veyyil
and Angaadi Theru) and the award juries love them.
Balaji Sakthivel takes inspiration from real life stories
and his movies Kaadhal and Kalloori stand testimony. Sasi
(Poo) brings back the charm of Bharathiraja movies and
Karu Pazhaniappan has variety as his middle name. Susindran
proved that there are still virgin, untouched subjects
to be explored in Tamil with his Vennila Kabadi Kuzhu.
Sargunam (Kalavani) made a movie that had its heart in
the right place. The works of Sasi Kumar and Pandiraj
are being debated about till the cows come home. The impact
left by Ram’s Katradu Tamil is still being measured.
All is not lost in the commercial side of the movie making
either. The new-gen has not lost flair for it too; Venkat
Prabhu (Chennai 28, Saroja and Goa), Amudhan (Tamizh Padam),
Pushkar Gayathri (Oram Po, Va-Quarter Cutting), Arivazhagan
(Eeram), Chimbudevan (Imsai Arasan and Irumbukottai) and
So are these flashes in the pan? Most certainly not! And
that’s quite a list of talents that are brought
to limelight in the past few years and by the standards
of any film industry, it is enviable. In conclusion, Tamil
cinema is in safe hands. Now all there is left is to sit
back and enjoy the popcorn. Or Masala Vada, may be!
Behindwoods is not responsible for the views of columnists.