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All in the Name of… a Film - II

Sunday, March 21, 2010 • Tamil Comments

And was there any body in the industry ever to scorn at demeaning or negative titles for films? Yes. There was one man. And he was a one man industry. Who’s that?

When thinking of positive film titles nothing on earth can beat MGR films. Nallavan Vazhvan, Thai Sollai Thattathey, Dharman Thalai Kakum, Neethikuppin Pasam, Nalai Namathey, Ninaithathai Mudippavan, Indru Pol Endrum Vazhga, Oorukku Uzhaipavan, Nalla Neram, Sirithu Vazha Vendum, Urimaikural, Uzhaikum Karangal and Nallathai Nadu Ketkum are some of the most positive titles for a cinema ever. 

Now a day naming a film depends on everything except the story most of the times. Well most of the times. Mostly a director names his film either to suit the hero’s image or fancy enough to make news.

Director Perarasu has a fascination for names of places as titles of his films. It started in Thirupachi then Sivakasi. Tirupathi, Dharmapuri, Pazhani, Thiruvanamalai and continues with the on going Thiruthani. Probably Perarasu will be one director who will never go short of titles for the next 100 years if he wants. Director Shankar is another who has a fascination for either English words or ending in ‘N’. From Gentleman to Kadhalan, Indian, Jeans, Mudhalvan, Boys, Anniyan to Sivaji: The Boss and Endhiran all Shankar films has that.

Some initially announce a controversial title and then after gaining enough publicity they will change to a normal title. Recently a Sunder. C film was first named ‘Porukki’ and after much noise it was changed to ‘Sanda’. Some time before a ‘Jayam’ Ravi film was named ‘Rascal’ and then changed to ‘Daas’. Some times even a very apt title is changed by the directors for reasons best known only to them. When ‘Silandhi’ was changed to ‘Pachakili Muthucharam’ all thought it was for the better. But after seeing the movie everyone voted for ‘Silandhi’. 

Another easy way to find a title without straining too much is take a popular line of a popular song. Tamil cinema has innumerable titles like that.

Sometimes directors or producers prefer a title which may generate a lot of attention even before their release. Of that some have been very stupid and some others have been soothing. It’s definitely looked amusing when Mansoor Ali Khan titled a movie Rajadhi Raja Raja Kulothunga Raja Marthanda Raja Gambeera Karthavaraya Krishna Kamarajan in 1993. Yes. It is the name of a single movie. But long titles for aesthetically made movies like Michael Madana Kamarajan in 1990 or Hey Nee Romba Azhaga Irukke in 2002 have our hearts with them. Also there was one so… so… films named ‘Azhagai Irukkirai Bayamai Irukkirathu’ and ‘Kizhaku Kadarkarai Salai’. So faaaaar.

Some titles are so literary will make you think. Nizhal Nijamakirathu, Mullum Malarum, Sila Nerangalil Sila Manithargal, Oru Nadigai Nadagam Parkiral, Agraharathil Kazhuthai, Gokulathil Seethai, Megathukkum Thagamundu. Thoorathu Idi Mulakkam, Theerpugal Thiruthapadalam , Mouna Geethangal, Oru Kai Osai, Saatai Illatha Pambaram are some titles which will tell the directors’ command and understanding over the script and the language. 

But rather a strange trend in recent years over finding a good attractive title for films takes the sheen away from the talent of the directors is to be pondered over. What matters most? The story or something else while christening film?

But rather a strange trend in recent years over finding a good attractive title for films takes the sheen away from the talent of the directors is to be pondered over. What matters most? The story or something else while christening film?

Today a film title is decided by most directors for the tax benefits. The Tamil Nadu Government Order 72 passed on July 22, 2006 which exempted entertainment tax for films with pure Tamil titles, has made many directors to question their own decisions. But they are happy to be flexible only for the sake of it.

What would you call Raja’s decision to change the title of his film which started as ‘Something Something’ to ‘Unakkum Enakkum’. What was the idea of Thirumurugan when he changed his film from ‘Emdon Magan’ to ‘Em Magan’. Ajith’s Godfather became Varalaru. Jeeva’s Tamil M.A. became Katrathu Tamizh. Wouldn’t these directors have thought the previous titles the most appropriate ones for their films when they started? What would be their argument to changing a title they thought most suitable?

One legend has it that to decide on the title for ‘Neethikku Thalai Vanangu’, MGR constituted a team of learned men and they discussed for a week and finally arrived at the title. So important was a title for him. This may sound too much for the present generation. But the message is the need of today.

Original thinking starts from the title and script. Tamil is considered to be the richest language in the world. So a good number of permutations and combinations of words and phrases are still possible.

Naalai Namathey! Vetri Namathey!! Ninaippathu Niraiverum!!!

Click here to read - All in the Name of… a Film -I

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