To the makers of new Ajiths and Vijays, Ajith, Vijay


One more year is coming to a close making way for a fresh one. For Tamil cinema, the year 2013, like all previous years, has been a mixed bag with hits, blockbusters, superhits, averages and duds. Around 150 films were released, out of which 87 were the work of first time directors. This is a remarkable feature for Tamil films which has the worldwide popularity next only to Hindi films (in terms of Indian films). Mathematically, it is more than 50% of the total number of films released and is quite promising.

Film making sure is an arduous task that involves crossing many many obstacles to reach the finish line. There are many films which have been made but remain in the cans and are yet to see the light of the day. Given to such a situation, the very fact that 87 directors were able to reach their stories to the silver screen speaks a lot on the healthy trend prevailing in the industry. People are able to narrate their stories and I am not sure if any other industry has such a freedom and liberty to bring out talents.

Producers like C.V Kumar of Thirukumaran Entertainment need to be credited for helping aspiring directors realize their dreams. Kumar has brought out unconventional talents and swiveled the spotlight on them. The television show Naalaya Iyakkunar is also equally responsible for providing a platform to the budding directors. There are other producers like Sashikant of Y not studios, SPB Charan of Capitol Film Works and the recent entrant Varun Manian of Radiance Group who are willing to create a platform for capable debutants to showcase their talent.

Of course, out of the 87, not many were appreciated by the audience. That’s fine and acceptable. They at least had an opportunity to release their film.

The notable films in the first half of the year by debutants were Manigandan’s Kanna Laddu Thinna Aasaya, Kinslin’s Vathikuchi, Manikandan’s Udhayam NH4, Durai Senthilkumar’s Ethir Neechal, Alphonse Putharen’s Neram and Nalan Kumarasamy’s Soodhu Kavvum. My take, the last two films will easily figure in the top ten Tamil films of the year.

In the 2nd half of 2013, we had Bharath Bala’s Maryan, Krishnan Jayaraj’s Sonna Puriyaadhu, Ponram’s Varuthapadatha Vaalibar Sangam, Naveen’s Moodar Koodam, Atlee’s Raja Rani, Kiruthiga Udhayanidhi’s Vanakkam Chennai, Deepan Chakravarthy’s Villa, Chandru’s Naveena Saraswathy Sabadham, Balaji K Kumar’s Vidiyum Munn and RS Prasanna’s Kalyana Samayal Saadham among other works.

Another interesting aspect is that Kiruthiga Udhaynidhi is the only woman director in 2013 that made a candy floss romance come alive through her Vanakkam Chennai. The film was talked about for its women’s sensibilities, neat narration and music as also for its decent business. Congrats Kiruthiga! You did stand out!

Although, these films of the greenhorns belong to different genres, different approaches and different treatments, in some way, they struck a chord with the audiences that patronized them either through revenue or review.

The producers should be credited for giving the first timers a long and solid hand where the perceptions on funding a project of a debutant may spell risky economics. But consider the budgets for such ventures! An educated guess - even a run of a week or two at the turnstiles is likely to bring in a break-even situation; sometimes profits too. Add the satellite rights, more avenues to enhance revenue! A producer who has invested in such a project is not likely to burn his fingers.

While these factors belong to the financials, the creative side of this art form has more ups than downs when it comes to the work of debut directors. Firstly, the audience gets to see new ideas, out of the box thoughts, a different experience and to top it all, diverse options to choose from. Gone are the days when producers were apprehensive to fund a first timer’s project.  Today the clan of producers has also undergone a sea change in their attitude towards ideas and is open to refreshing brainwaves in promoting a film too.

A director like K Balachander made his mark at a time when mythological genres were ruling the roost. It was someone like KB who injected fresh blood into the stream with his radical thoughts and social themes which gave us Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan. Now with the new breed of directors in the form of Nalan Kumarasamy or Naveen, the trend sure does look positive. And who knows? We might get a fresh set of Ajiths, Vijays and Suriyas from them.

Congrats to all those talents who made it and here is wishing everyone a very happy new year and hoping to see plenty of good work in the coming years!

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