Dilani Rabindran



Things Tamil films taught us in 2015, Tamil films 2015


It’s that time of year again. Time for the lists of the top films of the year by earnings and crowd votes, etc. I too look forward to these reflections, but I can’t help but think that sometimes we get lost in the box office figures and fail to see all the revelations offered by the whole variety of films released throughout the year, even perhaps from movies that weren’t necessarily our favourites. I’m finishing off this year in a state of learning - what can we learn from all that happened to us this year? Or in this case, what can we learn from all we saw on the big screen in Tamil cinema this year? Here’s a snapshot of some of the major lessons I took in Kollywood class in 2015.
(1) I - Vikram is undoubtedly still one of our most hard working artists in Indian cinema. His sheer physical dedication to roles has cemented him a spot amongst the greats and in a way excuses his little mishaps here and there.
(2) Yennai Arindhaal - There may be no better 21st century director/actress collaboration than Gautham Menon and the timeless Trisha. He writes female leads that are of substance that would naturally come across as ethereally beautiful played by any lovely actress, but Trisha’s grace and acting talent bring something memorable to those roles. After longing for the unforgettable Jessie of VTV for years we were blessed with her Hemanika.
(3) Anegan - KV Anand’s mind must look like beautiful chaos inside. I think I would be afraid to play the video game his psyche inspired.
(4) Enakkul Oruvan - It’s nice to see there are still producers like C.V. Kumar who are willing to take the small gems and make them even more available to the public for admiration. He is someone who understands there are audiences who are able to better appreciate quality film content.
(5) OK Kanmani - Mani Ratnam has still got it. After a brief disappointing obsession with complicated male egos (Raavan & Kadal) it was almost like he turned back the clock and reminded us all why he is the master of relationship studies. It was like the days of Alaipayuthey and Mouna Ragam were returned to us, and we were given another classic Madras Talkies analysis on the meaning of marriage.
(6) Uttama Villain - At the end of the day all we need is Kamal in his raw format. After years of seeing him in grandiose action and adventure heavy films it was refreshing to see the simple magnificence of Kamal the plain dramatist again. Scenes like the letter reading or father/son and father/daughter exchanges in Uttama Villain remind us why exactly he is a godfather of Indian cinema.
(7) 36 Vayadhinile - Jyothika has still got it, but we all already knew that. After this brief dose of her in 2015, I am anxiously hoping for her to make a more full fledged comeback in the years to come. The big screen isn’t the same without her on it.
(8) Maya / Demonte Colony - Tamil movies are getting scarier. Seriously. Kollywood’s captivation with the horror genre is a welcome one as long as films continue to be as daring and well scripted as these.
(9) Kaaka Muttai - In many ways Tamil cinema is spoiled for choice in its child artist bracket, but undiscovered child talent is only as good as the directors who nurture and train them. Much like Mani Ratnam did with his phenomenal young leads in films like Anjali and Kannathil Muthamittal, it looks like Tamil cinema can now rely on National Award winner Manikandan to continue to introduce more never-before-seen young and older talent to the industry; I am unsure anyone will be as adorable as Ramesh and Vignesh though.
(10) Indru Netru Naalai - It’s wonderful to see writer/directors who value the intelligence of their audience (or at least remember we have the ability to rewind and catch things a second time around) and pay close attention to the details, even in a sci-fi story as complex as this one!
(11) Baahubali - There are international, non Tamil/Telugu audiences for commercial South Indian cinema as well, as long as there is a well planned and creative marketing campaign in place that gets the word out the right way (a hefty marketing budget and a Guinness world record help too).
(12) Thani Oruvan - This film proved that commercial entertainment value can co-exist happily with the use of meticulous research and authentic data in Tamil cinema. It doesn’t have to be one without the other, and I hope more directors will adopt Mohan Raja’s processes to authenticate their stories and inform their audiences as much as they do entertain.
(13) Kirumi - Sometimes the most shocking endings are the most realistic ones! Debut director Anucharan impressed audiences everywhere with his slick direction and gritty story about your typical everyday rascal, and reminded us that sometimes you don’t have to beat the villains to be a hero.
(14) Naanum Rowdy Dhaan - Set in a world and time period, devoid of massive visual effects or any expensive makeup or costumes, NRD was perhaps one of the most complex (and fantastic) films of the year purely for its discussion of relationships, asking the overly dramatic & highly immoral question “would you kill for the one you love?”. Spoiler alert: Don’t worry guys, Vignesh Shivan and RJ Balaji were right, all us simple girls want you to talk to us. Oh, and top up our SIMs, so you can talk to us some more.
(15) Vedalam / Thanga Magan - What Thanga Magan is for appas is equivalent to what VIP was for ammas. Carrying forth the theory, Vedalam was heavy on the sister sentiment, to balance out the brotherly love of Veeram. Can you see the patterns? It seems to me that directors Siva and Velraj really like their easily repeatable, albeit fun & entertaining, formula.
Well, classmates, this is some of what I learned from Tamil films in 2015. If you have any different notes, please do share, as I would like to be well prepared for next semester.

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