Vishal, producer’s council and YouTube reviews

The recently concluded producer’s council elections in Kollywood was laced with lots of controversies. Like the Nadigar Sangam elections actor Vishal was in the midst of the action surrounding the election. This article is not about the elections and let me conclude by saying that Vishal was elected as the president at the end of it all. The topic I wanted to touch was the press conference the new members of the council had after the win. Vishal who is the president requested the online reviewers to postpone their reviews by few days to help the movie industry.

It was an odd request to be frank. In this day and age, asking few YouTube reviewers to postpone their reviews isn’t going to stop people from voicing their opinions on social media. If Vishal and the new members think that things can be returned back to the olden days with the reviews being postponed, they are living in a dreamland. Let us for example take 90’s as a case study. I am not a movie historian and don’t have statistics but from my experience (Since that’s the decade I am more aware of), there weren’t so many movies releasing every week. We used to wait for big festivals like Pongal, Tamil New Year and Diwali to see big star movies. Only during such big festivals we used to see multiple movies release at one go. Now coming back to the current decade, there are 3-4 movies release every week. It is even hard to keep track of what the movies are and who is acting in it.

The producer’s council should first regulate the amount of movies being made and make sure that the movie they are producing has decent content. Releasing 200+ movies in a year is not going to help the industry. Some movies which release are so amateurish that it is hard to sit through. New producers wanting to enter the industry need to be educated as to how to choose a script before investing a huge sum of money. It is always easy place a blame on a soft target such as YouTube reviewers and call them as a reason for decreasing audience in the theatres but the truth is far from it.

Reviews are personal opinions, people are free to express their opinion in any platform they want. They are the people who go and spend money to watch the film. It’s not like all films are ripped apart, movies like Managaram, 8 thottakal, Bahubali, Aandavan Kattalai, Power Pandi, Pizza, NPNK etc. all got overwhelmingly positive responses from the reviewers. This is the age of good content and if the industry is producing mediocre content, they cannot cry about decreasing audience. I am not talking about piracy here, which is for a completely different topic. People are going to look for review before watching films and that is going to continue. No one is going to stop that. Taking a family of four to the theatre is an expensive ordeal. People would want to make sure that the expense is worthwhile. When we go to a store, the first thing we do before buying a product is to look for reviews. If majority of the users of the product have given positive reviews people purchase that product. In the age of digital media, you are never going to fight that.

If the content is good most of the reviews are going to be favourable. People do look at multiple reviews before making a call and if a movie is good not everyone is going to bad mouth a film. The producers need to get together and think about what they are producing and what content is being screened to the public. If you want people to watch films, reduce the number of movies being produced, produce good content, educate new producers to invest smartly and give the films enough time to publicize their content before release. These would some of the solutions to get the audience to the theatres. By asking reviewers to postpone their reviews, you are basically saying that even if the movie is bad, since we invested, let the people spend the money like they did in the 80’s and 90’s before they found out that the content was horrible. Sorry Vishal, that is not a solution and audience are never going to fall for that.

Great year for Tamil cinema

This is not something we get to write that often. The Indian film industry is synonymous with Bollywood aka Hindi film industry and South films hardly get the recognition. 2011 in a way broke that trend and it will be fair to say that Southern Industries ruled this year. Not only did the south films (Malayalam and Tamil) dominate the National awards earlier this year but the Bollywood box office was dominated by southern remakes. It was a year when the Southern Industries got their day under the sun in India.

As far as Tamil cinema goes it was yet another great year. It was the continuation of the good work which started in 2010 and carried over to 2011. The year 2011 is when the Tamil cinema broke the language barriers and reached to nook and corner of the vast country. The year which began with Tamil cinema dominating the national awards along with Malayalam making it a very southern awards, ended with Dhanush’ s “Kolaveri Di” winning CNN international song of the year.

Dhanush was the year’s biggest star and he was part of couple of good movies this year. The biggest success of Tamil cinema this year has been the success of small movies such as “Engeyum Eppothum”. A movie which was Fox Star’s foray into Tamil cinema, sans top stars and with a new director at the helm was a super hit. Appreciation of good scripts and attempts by the audience has always been the success of Tamil cinema which was again in view in 2011.

This year had releases from Suriya, Dhanush, Ajith, Vikram and Vijay. This year also saw Ajith take over a bad guy role and pulling it off with great panache. Vijay shifted his path from masala genre and signed movies with big directors. Suriya and Dhanush once again confirmed their status as good actors. This year also marked some path breaking movies such as “Aaranya Kaandam”. A movie which received praise from all quarters was a great addition to the gangster genre. The movie did rounds in the International film festivals and won some awards.

Even though some great movies were made this year and some remakes were extremely successful in other languages, this year belonged to Kolaveri Di. The song broke the language barrier to be accepted by all the music lovers.

South cinema comprises of some of the best talents in the country and makes some wonderful movies and this year was really a testament to that fact. Hindi blockbusters like Bodyguard, ready, Singham and Force were all south remakes. The year 2012 promises to be a fine one for Tamil cinema and hopefully will have some great movies. As 2011 comes to an end, here is wishing a great 2012 for Tamil cinema and its audience.

Endhiran was awesome!!

Super Star Rajinikanth gives one of the most compelling performances in the recent times in Endhiran/Robot

I was able to catch Super Stars Endhiran over the weekend and it was a mind blowing experience. It was fantastic that the movie release in the city I reside as not many Tamil movies make their way to the theatres here. We were anyways prepared to drive couple of hours to watch the movie in Chicago if need be. We reached the theatre about 30 minutes prior to the screening and once we entered the movie hall realized that we were about 20 minutes too late as all the seats were already taken.

We were left with only the front row but fortunately just before the movie began we were able to grab couple of seats in the second row. Thank god for that as the first row seats would have left me and my wife with terrible neck pain. So after that was sorted out, the movie began to a full house with the fans screaming when Thalaivar’s name appeared on the screen. The movie was surrounded with great hype as it was touted as the most expensive movie in India and also brought together Rajinikanth and Aishwarya Rai for the first time on Silver Screen.

The movie totally lived up to its billing and we had a blast watching the same. Our Thalaivar’s performance as the scientist and the “Robot” Chitti was fantastic and the visual effects were stunning to say the least. After a long time Rajini was able to play a character with negative shades in a movie and his performance was simply amazing at that. Aishwarya Rai did her part well and so did the rest of the cast but this movie was all about Rajini and Shankar. Even the Oscar winner A R Rahman had to take a back seat.

First of all Shankar has to be appreciated for attempting something of such a magnitude and for making it work big time. It’s all good to have lots of money to play with but to make it work is completely a different thing. Shankar has achieved the same with flying colors. The last 20-25 minutes of the movie left us all speechless with the special effects. Shankar has definitely pushed the bar as far as Indian movies go. I am not sure if anyone can ever surpass the extravaganza that is Endhiran/Robot.

Well this piece will not be complete without a word on the brilliant performance by Rajinikanth. It takes a huge courage for a super star like Rajini to act in a movie which has the script and the director at the helm. At no point in the movie did you feel that this was a Rajini movie. After a long time we saw Rajini the actor take over Rajini the super star. Rajini for sure has earned himself more fans through this movie. His performance as the Robot was special and his subdued performance as the scientist suited the character brilliantly. All in all brilliant movie and will be a milestone in Super Star’s already glittering career. As the Super Star himself said at the audio launch, “Endhiran is not a movie but a cinematic experience”.

I am not sure how Shankar or Rajinikanth are ever going to surpass this in the future. People are going to expect a huge deal from the director in his future projects and I am not sure how he is going to beat this success. Sivaji was big but Endhiran is bigger and for sure is going to smash all box office records across India. Leaving all the minor negatives aside, this is one Indian movie to be proud of. The criticism that the movie is tad long and is inspired from many Hollywood flicks is something I don’t agree with. Every director while making movies in such a magnitude goes overboard sometimes which is acceptable.

Every ambitious movie made around the world can be accused of being a tad long and there are always few scenes which could have been done without. As far as the claims about the movie lacking logic, it does not hold water in a Sci-Fi fantasy flicks. What can be logical about a movie which begins as an imagination in the first place? What was logical about a matrix or an Avatar for that matter? When you start a movie as a fantasy the directors imagination takes over and his creative instinct drive the movie, so the sudden requirement of logic in a Sci-Fi movie is laughable to say the least.

The there are the claims that we have seen it all in the Hollywood movies already is something again should not be held against the director. Hollywood has been making Sci-Fi genre for over 40 years now, so any movie made in that genre is for sure going to resemble one of them. That should not take away anything from Shankar for making one of the best movies technically from India. Just compare this with other Indian movies and tell me how many directors have ever thought of attempting anything even remotely close? The movie is a brilliant attempt and needs to be encouraged for the excellent vision of the director and for the compelling performance from our own superstar.