Bollywood or Kollywood?, bollywood, Kollywood


What motivates one to watch a movie?  The hero? The heroine?  The way it is shot?  The trailer? Or is it the director? Each person has a reason. But here is a man who brings together most of the audience just by announcing about his next movie. The speculations are always rife, the content is always based on an unspoken subject, the fan posters are always unique and the energy around the movie is always positive, only when it comes to him. That one person who has redefined grandeur over the years has consistently etched every frame to perfection. Whether his movies work at the box office or not, he has been critically acclaimed every single time and actors still keep lining up to do just-about-anything to star in his films.


As I was raving about Sanjay Leela Bhansali like never before, I came across the glaring crowd that turned up to watch Bajirao Mastani in Luxe Cinemas, Chennai. Aditi, Krupa and I were also part of the madness to experience the unusual usuals of the SLB period drama. Because period dramas or historical epics are the ones that take you to a different zone, you travel along with the movie lost in the era with the lavish sets and props that create the ambience, costumes that are made with utmost detail, intricate jewelry and some great acting.


When I was giving this super-duper build-up about Bajirao Mastani, Bollywood movies and praising them to my hearts’ content especially because of the importance given to a Hindu Prime Minister-turned-King Bajirao and his Mughal-lover-turned-second-wife Mastani, my Tamil-rooted friend Aditi was a little irked.


“Oh Please, what about Kollywood then? Tamil Films have been the first to bring to life stories of gods and goddesses and even real life stories of re-known kings like ‘Veera  Pandia Kattabomman’. And recently, even Vijay shed his heroism and came up with a fantasy adventure film like ‘Puli’ which took everyone by surprise because we have always seen him as the mass hero bashing up the bad guys and saving everyone. Isn’t it a relief to see him give equal screen space and importance to other co-actors and take up an epic fantasy film?”said an irritated Aditi.


“The point is not about big heroes trying out different genres, but about period films ruling this year”, I put my point across clearly.


While Aditi and I were on the verge of tearing ourselves apart, thanks to the unnecessary war between Hindi and Tamil, there Krupa was smirking her way to glory every time we said something. This mightily confident woman just said, “‘Baahubali’, that’s it. That is the answer to all your arguments.


Oh Yes, Baahubali has given Indian Cinema a new recognition with regard to outstanding CG work, dream landscapes as background and war sequences that are at par with Hollywood style of filmmaking. Both in Tamil and Telugu, it was the highest grosser of the year. Wasn’t that enough to answer all those who were doubtful about Tamil and Telugu cinema?”


Telugu filmmakers have always been patrons of period dramas and historical fiction films that have references to real life stories. Spending exorbitantly for sets, costumes, make up and properties, they have given many epics including 2015 ‘Rudramadevi’. Anushka’s outing as a princess after Arundhati brought in a beaming welcome from her fans, a one woman show on carrying the film out beautifully on her shoulders.


This got me wondering, the turn-out of the audience for these movies was more than the supporting artists who starred in the war sequences. Such was the response mainly because people are a lot bored watching the age old masala films and want something different. At the same time, it is not just Hollywood that is experimenting successfully with war films. We back home are also doing our bit especially with regard to bringing back our rich culture, heritage, laurels of our great kings, queens and their reigning kingdoms which are the pride of India, alive on screen.  

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