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CHANGING TRENDS - Is Tamil cinema coming of age?

Friday, August 22, 2008 • Tamil Comments

FRIDAY FEATURE

If there is one medium that can create overnight millionaires and even Chief Ministers, it has to be the mighty powerful Cinema when it comes to Tamilnadu. Cinema has always been looked upon as a larger-than-life medium glorifying good over bad and creating stars who emotionally and psychologically are looked upon as 'heroes'. This on-screen appeal gradually is attributed to the off-screen persona of the actor over a period of time and the most pathetic state of affairs is that the actor tries to live up to the image created around him. This is a trend that has been happening for a very long time in Tamil Cinema.

There have been movies made in the past especially in the eighties that talked about human emotions without the larger-than-life appeal. However, they were drowned by the almost frenetic craze of heroism that people of the state crave for. After the literally omniscient screen presence of MGR, Rajinikanth ruled the roost with the much needed dash of style. People danced in exuberance to every stylish move of his. This moved well into the 90s and even in the new millennium.

There is a semblance of a cool creative breeze caressing the thought processes of movie audiences in recent years. Movies such as 'Kadhal', 'Veyyil', 'Chennai 600028' and 'Paruthiveeran' were made sans any kind of heroism. These were stories that narrated the lives and times of simpletons who lived in a grilling world with the much needed realism. The Himalayan successes of these films have actually forced many traditional-style- filmmakers to think about a change amongst Tamil movie audiences.

On careful analysis of the changing trend, one has the thought that people probably are tired of watching heroes making dramatic entries, uttering lines in the name of dialogues that glorifies themselves a lot and fighting batches of forty baddies in a routine format.

Tamil audiences have proved in recent years that they would actually like to see an ordinary man rise up to do great things or die in the attempt because of circumstances society brings upon them. This actually toes the lines of human emotions depicted in realistic situations rather than contrived superhero activities.

The fact that Rajini and Vijay starrers can be damp squibs at the box office goes on to prove this point. 'Kuselan' and 'Kuruvi' can be termed forgettable films for the respective stars. The real heroes in recent times are stories such as 'Polladhavan' where a boy rises up to be a man in trying situations. 'Subramaniyapuram' about rustic good-for-nothing simpletons who go astray and perish because of wrong associations.

'Chennai 600028' depicted a slice of Chennai life with loads of realism in it. On the other hand when movies are made with terrific stylish demeanors like 'Billa' starring Ajith they find favors with the public for the sheer exotic flavor.

It is a fact that movies based on nonsensical heroism still do well. But the good news is that no star today can take his Box Office success for granted. Good stories sans mindless heroism is appreciated a lot these days. Probably on a large scale now than ever before making many production houses scout for good stories more than anything else.

A refreshing change is happening. Is it time for Tamil Cinema to smile. Probably not yet….but we are getting there.

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