Kaushik L M



Kaushik LM writes about the needless song-dance routines ruining most Tamil films


More than the big superstars of the land, the one big USP of the Indian film industry as a whole is the 'music' factor i.e. the song and dance routines which are mounted on a lavish scale and shot extravagantly, spending crores of money. The common man is transported to exotic locales which he can otherwise only dream of. With so many talented composers, singers and choreographers available in the country, there is a high probability of these song sequences being of good standard when seen and heard standalone. But when seen along with the film, 'positioning' matters a lot and these otherwise attractive song sequences may turn out to be a huge test of patience if they are inserted without imagination and just for formality's sake. The most recent case in point being Santhanam's Inimey Ippadithaan whose songs are otherwise pretty popular in the FM space and other charts.
The film is mostly an enjoyable comedy about the travails and adventures of a young man who is inadvertently caught between two women - one through his own hard-earned love and the other through an arranged marriage alliance. Santhanam looks the part with his good styling, grooming and typically 'gun' comedy sense. He sports good costumes, accessories and even rides a trendy Yamaha FZS Version 2.0 bike! We also have the likes of Thambi Ramaiah and VTV Ganesh providing some good moments with their tried and tested brand of comedy. And the ending is unconventional and unexpected for a film which is otherwise formulaic. With a run time of under 2 hrs 15 mins, Inimey Ippadithaan has quite a lot going in its favor but for the SONG / DANCE routines which bring down the fun, several notches.
We have a song for every situation and not one of these situations is new or innovative even a wee bit. An intro song for the hero, a song for the heroine looking back at the hero, a dream duet song in a supposed foreign locale, a 'soup' song with the hero in an inebriated state, a dream song with the other heroine and so on. Thank god, there wasn't any item song with skimpily clad women. These songs easily took up more than 20 mins of the film's run-time and that amounted to about 15%. When 15% of the film's run-time disengages the viewer, that is quite a lot of wastage indeed ! 
Santhanam and co. didn't need such songs to make their movie viable for the box office, when there are enough gripping elements already. On the contrary, these sequences have turned out to be counter-productive!
With respect to the other new release Romeo Juliet, the song Dandanakka was already a big Hit pre-release and the makers had to somehow use it in the best possible way to appease fans visually too. But quite a few of the other songs were just formalities and didn't do anything to aid the movie's flow.
It doesn't take much to realize that these unimaginative 'filler' songs don't do much good to the movie. In the theater that I saw these films in, most of the folks were busy going out to grab their popcorn / coke or refill some masala or just unzip and release. Just to use the tunes delivered by the composer and to meet certain cliched business norms like 'foreign song', 'duet song', ‘club song’, 'intro song' and 'kuthu song', these songs seem to be shot and used in the final cut of the film. Why not use these songs just for TV and internet promos and keep the film free from such speed-breakers? Even some of the very best commercial films have suffered a blip or two, with the insertion of such needless songs.
There are some recent films like OK Kanmani and Kaaka Muttai where the songs were used to take the narrative forward and blended beautifully with the screenplay. We also have the song specialists like Shankar, Gautham Menon and some new age directors who make the songs in their films visually memorable due to their sensibilities and imagination. Of course, there are the ‘stars’ who make most of their songs bearable with their dance moves, attitude or screen presence. But most of our other films, without these stars and directors, continue to march down the same beaten path and that is quite disappointing !

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