This has been the year in which Kollywood produced movies that became known for their innovative concepts and spectacular marketing efforts. In a climate where ‘hits’ or ‘flops’ are no longer the deciding factor, this year-end special by DC will fill you in on all the interesting nuggets that dotted the K’town landscape over the past 365 days.
Big is Beautiful
Films like Superstar Rajinikanth’s Kabali and Sivakarthikeyan’s Remo had some really innovative promos. Producer Thanu left no stone unturned by way of distribution, satellite rights, endorsement contracts and merchandise to make it the ultimate benchmark flick in Indian cinema.
In recent times, the first-look posters of Tamil movies have utilised digital media to the fullest and the makers are coming out with innovative concepts to reach out to the masses. The likes of Kaashmora, 24, Theri, and Iru Mugan created a big buzz with just their posters. Vijay Antony recently went one step further and released a five-minute clip from his movie Saithan. Pichaikaran directed by Sasi which had Vijay Antony in the lead was a huge hit in Tamil as a well as Telugu for its refreshing content
Year of Splitsville
In less than two years of their marriage, the once adorable couple Amala Paul and AL Vijay separated. The next big shock was when Soundarya, daughter of superstar Rajinikanth, who married entrepreneur Ashwin Ramkumar, filed for divorce. Kamal Haasan and Gautami, who were living together for more than 13 years, announced their separation. Director Balaji Mohan of Maari fame and Aruna got a divorce as well. Popular filmmaker Priyadarshan and former actress Lissy too officially ended their 25-year-long marriage.
Reaching for the stars
Actor Sivakarthikeyan who started his career as a stand-up comedian is a noted star today, riding high with two massive releases this year — Rajini Murugan and Remo. Although Siva was criticised for his sexist approach and for glorifying stalking in Remo, no one could stop its success.
Ritika Singh, a trained kickboxing champion who never dreamt of making it in cinema, was introduced in Tamil cinema with Sudha Kongara’s Irudhi Suttru, which was Madhavan’s comeback venture. She received appreciation for her gutsy performance and even won the Special Mention award at the 63rd National Film Awards.
Noted writer Vela Ramamoorthy made a huge impact with his menacing ‘local don’ act in Sasikumar-starrer Kidaari. Journalist-turned-filmmaker Raju Murugan’s second outing Joker, garnered critical acclaim. Another notable performance came from acclaimed writer Mu. Ramasamy, who was a part of both these films.
Not funny, or scary
Almost eight movies, which were supposed to be in the ‘horror-comedy’ genre including Aranmanai 2, Darling 2 and Jackson Durai, were neither humorous nor terrifying. Most of them failed to rake in profits at the box-office.
Actor-filmmaker and national award-winner Samuthirakani’s Appa which was made on a small budget, garnered a lot of attention for its content. Seenu Ramaswamy’s Dharmadurai, was talked about for its realistic portrayal.
Exploring new Genres
Jayam Ravi’s Miruthan, by Shakti Soundarrajan became the first zombie movie in Tamil cinema. Karthi’s black magic thriller Kaashmora by Gokul, and Suriya’s time travel adventure 24 under Vikram Kumar’s direction, gave new experiences to Tamil audiences.
No flash in the pan
Manikandan of Kakka Muttai fame proved his mettle as a director yet again by continuing his winning streak with back-to-back movies Kuttarame Thandanai and Aandavan Kattalai.
Of unprecedented moves and big losses
Sarath and Radha Ravi were removed from Nadigar Sangam, while Vishal was temporarily expelled from the Producers’ Council.
The major irreparable loss that shook the entire nation was former actress and ex-TN Chief Minster J Jayalalithaa’s demise. Well-known journalist, actor and writer Cho Ramaswamy passed away two days later. Other losses included actress Kalpana, national award winning lyricist Na Muthukumar and ace writer, filmmaker, producer Panchu Arunachalam.
Cross-overs In Kollywood
For years together, actors from other industries have been foraying into Kollywood. But, this year saw top stars from Telugu, Malayalam and Hindi making their entry in Tamil. It started with Telugu superstar Mahesh Babu , who announced his bilingual film with AR Murugadoss. Later, Allu Arjun followed suit and collaborated with Lingusamy for a bilingual as well. Malayalam actor Fahadh Faasil will be making his entry with Mohan Raja’s untitled film alongside Sivakarthikeyan and Nayanthara.
Not to forget, 2017 will be a great one as Bollywood actors Akshay Kumar(2.0), Vivek Oberoi (AK 57) and director Anurag Kashyap (Imaikaa Nodigal) will also be making their foray into K’town.
Film institute around the corner
Tamizh Studios and its founder Arun have been making significant contributions to independent filmmakers and aspiring directors and cinematographers, for years now. Organising workshops conducted by notable Tamil directors like Mysskin and screening critically-acclaimed films like Raman Raghav 2.0 were only some of the many deeds the organisation did for the growth of Tamil cinema in 2016.
Looking ahead, Arun is now planning to establish a new kind of film institute in 2017 — which aims to teach filmmaking with a hands-on approach. Arun aims to make the price of the course reasonable, and many icons of Tamil cinema will turn faculty members for the institute. ‘Chaplin Film Institute’ is the name Arun has picked for his film school.
Mastery over craft
A great mix of films came out this year and audiences were receptive to those helmed by newcomers. Stardom took a backseat and debutant directors came out with flying colours. Director Vijay Kumar came out with a riveting action thriller — Uriyadi. Deeraj Vaidy’s Jil Jung Juk was also an ambitious attempt worth mentioning. The 21-year-old director Karthick Naren’s handling of an investigative thriller in Dhuruvangal Pathinaaru was a fitting end to the year.
Another mention goes out to Pradeep Krishnamoorthy who helmed Saithan. An adaptation of Sujatha’s novel was woven with fictional elements, which went on to impress the audience.
The More the merrier
At a time, when A-list actors churned out only one or two films per year, Vijay Sethupathi had a dream run with six film releases including Sethupathi, Dharmadurai, Aandavan Kattalai to his credit. Among the top actresses, it was Tamannaah and Nayanthara who hogged the screens with four films each. The former had Thozha, Dharmadurai, Devi(L) and Kaththi Sandai; and the latter had Idhu Namma Aalu, Thirunaal, Iru Mugan and Kaashmora. Aishwarya Rajesh who chose films with scope for a strong performance walked away with seven releases including Manithan, Hello Naan Pei Pesaren and Mo.