Dilani Rabindran




We have become accustomed to seeing established older actresses such as Radhika and Simran foray their way into Indian TV commitments like game show hosting and serials long after starring alongside top heroes. But the incomparable Radhika is proof that careers on both the film and TV screens in the Tamil entertainment industry are not mutually exclusive. In fact, she stars in this Friday’s Chennaiyil Oru Naal, a remake of the 2011 Malayalam hit Traffic, and the careers of savvy business-minded stars such as herself just draw further light to the symbiotic relationship of TV and film in India.

Of course we can barely watch 30 seconds of Indian TV without seeing a movie star endorsing something, and now we often see stars such as Prakash Raj and Suriya taking up temporary game hosting roles and big names sitting in the hot seat to play for charity. But unlike in the West, major Indian TV networks denote a significant amount of their programming schedules to airing mainstream Indian films. In turn for saving on production costs TV gives cinema priceless amounts of marketing and even a breeding ground of new film stars, just like Sivakarthikeyan, whose fourth film Kedi Billa Killadi Ranga also releases this Friday. With the international reach of shows like Super Singer, South India’s extensive reality programming will ensure that television and film in India will forever be attached as new crops of stars are born on TV. But where do our top heroes fit in?

Obviously Tamil film heroes have much longer leading careers than their heroine counterparts. It takes much longer for heroes to transition to supporting roles as they get older than it does for heroines, so do their lengthy careers mean superstars like Ajith and Vikram would never contemplate transitioning to TV themselves? There is unlikely to be a financial drive for such major movie stars to take up long-term character roles on TV, but sometimes artists need a change of pace. But if ever such major stars were looking for major changes, Indian TV would probably have to change with them, and offer them something other than serials and game shows.

On a recent visit to Toronto to partake in publicity for Race 2, international Indian superstar Anil Kapoor passionately discussed his new role producing and starring in the Hindi-language adaptation of the popular American suspense series 24, in which he had a recurring guest role for a season. Kapoor expressed his desire to bring quality non-soap and non-reality programming to Indian TV that would enthrall audiences like American television does. Time will tell just how successful Anil’s version of 24 will be, but he is a prime example of an older Bollywood hero making the long-term leap to TV, for programming that offers something new to Indian audiences. If Anil Kapoor can see the benefit then perhaps Tamil entertainment is not too far from one day producing suspenseful TV programming that attracts leading heroes as well as heroines. Maybe major Tamil TV networks and those savvy stars who are already running their own production companies can join hands and bring us gripping new fictional TV programming like 24 soon enough. Such ventures may offer the ideal transitions for some heroes whose careers could use a fresh boost (i.e. Vinay).

Either way you slice it Tamil TV and cinema go hand in hand. Their relationship is a unique one, unlike those of their American counterparts. Although they may have struck a general understanding in their symbiotic partnership there is still plenty of room to grow. Enthusiasts can only hope that their growth brings about exciting new programming and more opportunities for us to see the stars we already admire performing in new roles and doing what they do best.

Respond to dilani.behindwoods@gmail.com
Behindwoods is not responsible for the views of columnists.



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.