Dilani Rabindran



The Year of Her(s), Andrea, Pooja Kumar


I’m not sure if you’ve heard yet, but the Chinese New Year is upon us, and it’s the year of the Horse! For most this means it’s a good year, because the mighty horse will help people gallop towards their goals. Now, I’m no astrologer, but I’d like to make a few of my own predictions in an area I know a bit about: I’m predicting that instead of the horse, 2014 will be a “Year of Her(s)” (or “the Hers”, if you enjoy wordplay). I am formally predicting incredible roles and career success for a few powerful ladies in Tamil cinema this year, and I can’t wait to see if my conjecture comes true.

Behindwoods recently revealed the top 10 most anticipated films of 2014. Although most of the films were voted based on the hype around certain directors and hero pair ups – I see a lot of chances for female careers to take off or climb even higher amongst the most anticipated films.

For instance, 2014 will mark the year of not one but two directorial ventures by Rajinikanth’s incredibly talented daughters. Soundarya Ashwin’s directorial debut Kochadaiyaan has the potential to permanently change the market for animated Indian films. A celebrated graphic designer and producer via her own Ocher Picture Productions, Soundarya has taken on the daunting task of introducing 3D motion capture to Tamil audiences, in a grand epic starring her own Super Star father. Although the film has been plagued by release delays I’m certain that the film will establish Soundarya as a new visionary in South Indian cinema. The film will also be the debut of Bollywood’s extremely bankable Deepika Padukone down south and return of veteran actress Shobana! Aishwarya Dhanush’s name will also return to the big screen since her commercially successful debut film 3. Although Vai Raja Vai was not voted as a top anticipated movie, Aish’s second outing, this time with Gautham Karthik and Priya Anand should prove to be a standout rom-com, already garnering attention for its stylish gambling creative. Her debut film was nothing short of bold, and I look forward to seeing her narration of more lighthearted material.

Fans of Gautham Menon are in for a treat with his plans for 2 major releases this year, and as a fan particularly of his strongly written heroines I am excited to see what depths of the female psyche he goes to next. Right from Minnale, Menon has provided complex characters for his female leads - they play career women of substance who sometimes struggle to follow their heart. This year we get to see new face Pallavi Subhash make her debut in what looks to be a soulful romance with Simbu. She has the incredible fortune of debuting with what will surely be a meaty role, and one likely to propel her to the top of the South industries, similar to Samantha. Anushka also stands to have a record year if rumors of her pairing with Ajith for Menon’s second 2014 film are true. The versatile actress has already proven her mettle, but a role in either a GVM action or romance would be a significant notch in her filmography.

Another director who has a way of making sure his films, although hero-oriented, remain balanced by solid parts for his heroines would be India’s master of the blockbuster – Shankar. Ai will undoubtedly provide for considerable screen time for female lead Amy Jackson, no matter how many characters Vikram plays. Shankar has a proven knack for casting the latest beauty of the moment, and providing her with enough scope to perform as well as entertain. He did it with both Shreya in Sivaji and Sadha in Anniyan, and although Amy’s 2 Tamil films have faired well at the box office she is still yet to command true screen presence like many of her competitors. But with its massive scope Shankar’s latest will take over international screens, especially with reported plans to release in 17 languages, and would offer young Amy the ideal platform to take her fame international.

And of course no column about strong female roles in 2014 would be complete without a mention of the ladies of the Vishwaroopam series. Fans have already been promised that part 2 will focus a lot more on the tough spy and sassy scientist we saw in part 1, played by Andrea Jeremiah and Pooja Kumar respectively. Given Vishwaroopam’s very successful run in 2013 its sequel is eagerly awaited for good reasons – the fact that it will allow for an expansion of 2 of Kollywood’s more interesting female roles of late is one of them.

The most anticipated Tamil films of 2014 may rely heavily on their lead males for box office success this year, but mark my words, friends, it’ll be a big year for South Indian cinema’s women as well: we’ll have some composite new heroines to contemplate, Andrea & Pooja are going to be involved in some serious action and look great while doing it, Amy is going to wow us in 17 languages and Aish & Soundarya are going to continue paving the way for female directors in Tamil cinema. Again, I’m no zodiac expert, but like any cinephile with overly analytic tendencies I enjoy making my own predictions; plus, I’ve been shouting girl power since the Spice Girls taught me how. Would I bet money on these guesses? Sure, why not. I believe in the advancement of Tamil Cinema, and that audiences appreciate storylines that give lead females room to perform even in hero-centric blockbusters and talented directors, no matter what their creed or gender. How about we bet the cost of a few movie tickets? There are quite a few flicks I have to make sure I see on the big screen this year.

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