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Plummeting Tamil Cinema. IS IT TIME FOR CHANGE?

Thursday, November 20, 2008 • Tamil Comments

Tamil Cinema seems to be treading through troubled times these days with most big films bombing at the box office. Is it because filmmakers are taking audiences for granted and churning out average fares or are audiences expecting really good films for their consumption? Something to think about….

Here's a startling fact: There have been 96 Tamil films released in the year 2008 so far and only six of them have gone on to become successful. If this is not an alarming trend….then what is? This fact has thrown a lot of questions at filmmakers in Tamilnadu.

  1. Do filmmakers underestimate audiences?
  2. Have filmmakers become so stale that they have nothing new to offer?
  3. Is there a proper channel to identify and bring out the talent of deserving wannabe filmmakers? (OR) Do big names in the industry create a wedge thereby preventing fresh talent from surfacing?
  4. Is there fear among filmmakers to experiment?
  5. Have artistic qualities become a forgotten entity in Tamil Cinema?

The six films that have really gone on to be successful in 2008 so far have few big names attached to them. 'Anjathe', 'Santhosh Subramanium', 'Dasavatharam', 'Yaradi Nee Mohini', 'Subramaniyapuram' and 'Saroja'.

The likes of Rajinikanth, Vijay, Ajith and all those actors who want to project themselves as larger-than-life have all taken a beating. 'Kuselan', 'Dasavatharam', 'Bheema', 'Kuruvi', 'Dhaam Dhoom', 'Aegan' and 'Varanam Aayiram' have been tremendously anticipated this year but then it was only 'Dasavatharam' that made the magical run. It is still too early to comment on 'Varanam Aayiram' – we can make an assessment after about fifteen days of the film's release (although there have been a few who have called for pillows during the second half).

There's still more bad news for the Tamil Film Industry. Of the six films that went on to be successful this year so far, three of them have been remakes of other language films. 'Santhosh Subramaniam' is a remake of the Telugu super hit 'Bommarillu'. 'Yaradi Nee Mohini' is the remake of another Telugu film 'Adhavari Matalaku Ardhale Verule', 'Saroja' is the Tamil version of the Hollywood film 'Judgment Night' (though the comic element of the film is original), 'Anjathe' a brilliant film but heavily inspired by Akira Kurosawa.

'Dasavatharam' and 'Subramaniapuram' have been mighty original in their approaches. The former made it big with the brilliance of Kamal Haasan appearing in ten roles and the latter weaved the tale of beleaguered associations with a refreshing dosage of the 'native-feel'.

Whew….96 films released and …. (Certain things are better left unsaid).

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