Home > Columns
The Victimization of 24

It takes years of creative and hands-on effort to make a film – no matter what the language, scale, cast or story. But when a movie has a particularly large budget the struggle and emotional investment of the film’s director, producers and stars are usually elevated. All those participating on the project most likely feel even more concerned about their work garnering certain levels of both financial and critical success. So naturally, one can imagine the levels of commitment and concern the makers of the grand and ornate “24” feel towards their creation.


What has happened to “24” since its release is a mockery, and utter insult to director Vikram Kumar, the producers and cast of the film. I greatly enjoyed this science fiction opus about time travel and a hero getting a second chance at the family he never had. I was quick to praise it after seeing it on opening day, and stand by those praises to this date. So, it is truly disheartening to see the film undergo two blatant persecutions that demean its creative genius and obvious display of dedicated labour: its trimming and its quick, rampant piracy.


When I first saw the film, I too felt that certain scenes between Suriya and Samantha in the second portion dragged a bit. Regardless, I walked out of the theatre with a huge smile on my face, happy to have watched one of the strongest scripts in Tamil cinema over the last few years! Sure, there were portions I thought the dialogue was a bit repetitive, but as a whole the film was a brilliant package, even with those portions included. But upon my second watch of the film in theatres, I was truly saddened to see how significantly the trimming of just a few minutes had impacted the cleverness of the film, and how unfairly the cuts had been restricted to the lovely Samantha Prabhu’s role.


In the original, regardless of if certain scenes felt dragging, every scene had a purpose. The comedic courtship around the fictional “Imagino Romancophilia” was well scripted, and carried out plausibly through the film to connect Suriya and Sam’s characters. In an effort to save an approximate 10 minutes of screen time we now see portions of the film that don’t seem to fit at all! Samantha’s character is left with little appearance in the film outside of the songs, and her remaining portions make even littler sense. It’s truly dismaying to see an actress who has proven her ability to perform over the years have her role in one of her biggest productions chopped out so significantly. Some may say that it doesn’t matter; that in the end, Samantha was paid for the work she put in and she should have no reason to complain. But as an actor – your salary is only half the compensation you’re promised by a project; the other half is the recognition you earn when your hard work is rightfully displayed on screen.


And in the end – was the abrupt trimming worth it? Even looking at it statistically, those ~10 minutes only accounted for approximately 6% of the original film. To save a mere 6% some of the makers succumbed to the peer pressure of audience reactions and removed scenes in such a manner that hurt the logical flow and cleverness of Vikram Kumar’s script. I admit that the 24 team is obviously just trying their best to ensure the film satisfies all areas of the audience, and can draw in people for repeated watches in theatres. But, with such a large at hand – why didn’t this team think to present the film to a test group early on and seek advice regarding the film’s pacing then itself, before its release? Perhaps then they may have been able to trim or edit the film in such a way that we’re not left with scenes and dialogue portions that now have no relevance, and a primary cast member being almost entirely cropped out.

And now, on top of the unfortunate trimming of such a fantastic film in its original state, the 24 team is dealing with the heinous piracy of their work. Last week a high definition print of 24 hit the internet, after being recorded in a popular multiplex. To express his outrage producer Gnanavel Raja began an indefinite hunger strike on May 13th 2016. Coming from Canada, where Tamil films play in theatres for such short spans of time, and where ticket prices continue to rise to unreasonable levels, I am truly baffled as to why piracy runs so easily rampant in the Tamil film industry here in Tamil Nadu. Everyday I see at least 5 show times for 24 at each cinema in Chennai, all at the government’s locked, affordable ticket prices. Why is it that in a community where almost every single person I meet expresses great love and dedication to the film industry is piracy at its worst? Why is it that so many Tamil cinema fans fail to see how disrespectful, criminal and insulting it is to the hundreds of people who invest their finances and labor on a single project for years, so that they may receive 3 hours of entertainment in a theatre, when they perpetuate the piracy of a film, especially so soon after its release and while there are still ample opportunities for people to enjoy it in theatres? Perhaps the solution lies in a more organized and timely method of releasing original DVDs or Blu Rays, or in stricter monitoring of audiences within theatres itself. Whatever the solution is, however, it will never work until those so-called fans who say they love Tamil cinema dearly first realize that they’re the same people destroying it.

Respond to
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.