People talk about creative freedom, secularism but for me it boils down to just common sense. The things that have been happening in Tami Nadu are unfair on the brilliant creator that is Mr Kamal Hassan. I am a big admirer of Kamal Hassan’s work. Let me be clear I am no fan boy. I love good cinema and Kamal Hassan has provided that in abundance.
When Viswaroopam released and when I learnt that it deals with terrorism I did not expect it to create such a furor. We have had countless movies releasing in India on similar themes, so I thought this movie will be considered one among them but that is not to be. Viswaroopam was banned by Tamil Nadu government and subsequently by other governments in India and abroad.
I can’t believe that in this day and age people actually believe that a movie can cause security issue. It is sad that one of India’s finest creators has to suffer due to some political agenda.
Kamal Hassan has talked about moving out of Tamil Nadu and even the country if the justice is not served. It will be a shame for the nation/state if such a thing happens. Creative people like Kamal Hassan are nation’s pride. The kind of jewel we all need to cherish and celebrate. India is the only country where their legends are treated with so much contempt. The government needs to wake up and put an end to this madness.
The creative freedom on an actor and creator needs to be upheld. It is sad to see the great man talking about bankruptcy and losing his home. It is even astonishing that the government hasn’t done anything to avert this situation. The perplexing thing is that the Tamil film association has kept mum on this issue. Few actors including our superstar have voiced in their support but as an association they should have stood behind their own.
It is nice to see the support of the fans for the movie. I hope that everyone continues to support the movie and keep our beloved icon in his home state. I hope that the Supreme Court intervenes and overturns the ban on the film. An icon like Kamal deserves better and we cannot let the constitution down.
Kamal Hassan is one of India’s finest actor/director. He has given us numerous classics and is very much responsible for taking Indian cinema overseas.
Ajeesh’s “Idhuvarai” from Goa was a chartbuster and he even got an award for best young singer. Now it is the time for Renu to shine. Her song “Pappara paa…” from Vettai is a huge hit and hopefully will give her the necessary boost in her singing career. Everyone who followed the 2008 super singer would know that Renu always used to stick to melody most of the times and never attempted anything different throughout the season.For her to pull off a mass song in Vettai with considerable ease was a revelation. Kudos to her for the same and congratulations to her for getting her first hit. Nice to see the Super singer 2008 candidates succeed in the music world. Hope to see more success stories.
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.
Making a Sci-Fi movie in India is difficult. It is not something for which we have references from the past from our own industry. When director Shankar conceptualized Endhiran (Robot) in 2000 with Kamal Hassan in mind, he had to drop the plans due to lack of funds for a movie of such scale. The reason behind not many movies of this genre gracing Indian screens. The scenario in the recent times has changed a lot. Hindi movies aka Bollywood has always enjoyed more money than the other industries in India owing to their popularity and reach. So when Ra.one was announced my expectation was automatically raised.
When Endhiran came in 2010 (a year before Ra.One) people had nothing to compare it with in the Indian film history. Obviously it is a beaten to death genre in Hollywood where countless such movies are made and are way ahead from what Shankar and Anubhav Sinha could offer. Endhiran had its flaws but was entertaining. The movie had an experienced director at its helm and one of the greatest entertainers in Indian cinema playing the lead. The movie was a super hit and was loved by all (Well mostly). Endhiran had an advantage which Ra.One did not, it was the first movie of its type to grace the Indian screens and did not have too many Indian movies to be compared with (Even though in 2002 Upendra had already made a movie in similar theme).
Ra.One had a lot to live up to. It had to be better than Endhiran in every department. It was being made at a larger scale; it was being made in 3D and had one of the biggest superstars in Indian cinema starring in it. The movie released with lots of hype and Shahrukh went out of the way in promoting Ra.One. When I watched the movie I had lots of expectation. The concept of the move was interesting but the execution was amateurish. The special effect was obviously great but the story and screen play lacked substance. Shahrukh’s act as a Tamilian also was also in bad taste, I am not sure how many years Bollywood is going to stick with Mahmood’ s version of Tamilian from the 70’s. It’s boring and it is kind of irritating to say the least.
When Shahrukh went to Chennai to promote the movie I actually thought that his Shekhar Subramaniam might be different than the normal Tamil caricature Bollywood movies have but it was not to be. That was only a part of the issue with the movie as thankfully Shekhar dies within 30 minutes into the movie. The Game (Ra.One) used as the premise to move the movie forward made no sense. I will be surprised if anyone in their right mind would buy such a game. Starting from the presentation at the start of the movie in a UK gaming company which was surprisingly in Hindi with a host of English people in the crowd, the movie had gaping holes which was hard to look past.
The Ra.One game was the most mysterious one as if either of the characters can only be killed in the third level why have the first two levels at all? Why was there a Ra.One suit at all when no one can play as him? If the either of the characters can only be killed with their HART’s on, then why Ra.One (The bad one) went searching for it in India when it could be killed having it? There are lots of questions which arose while watching the movie. The only silver lining was obviously the “Chammak Challo” song, but again not sure which kids birthday party will have skimpily clad women dancing. Shahrukh obviously put his heart and soul in to this movie and was sure one of the positives to come out of the movie.
But overall the movie was a great disappointment. With such a grand budget at hand the director/writer could have spent some time in writing a better script. I would like to laud Shahrukh for attempting such a movie but for sure could have chosen a better script and probably a better director to execute it on the screen. The movie might have run on the hype but for sure was way below par on content. Shahrukh has Don 2 coming this weekend and I sincerely hope that it is better than Ra.One. This time at the helm is Farhan Akthar who is for sure a director of better pedigree than Anubhav Sinha and I am sure that this will turn out to be a better outing for the superstar.
Airtel Super Singer 2008 winner Ajeesh won “Upcoming Singer” award in the Mirchi music awards. Ajeesh who sang the song “Iduvarai” from Goa along with Andrea won this award last week. The pair had also won the best duet award for the same song earlier and this is for sure a proud moment for Ajeesh. Ajeesh won the last serious competition I watched on television so it was great to see him win an award on his very first song.
Ajeesh is an extremely talented singer and I hope that he sings more hit songs in the future and wins many more awards.
The 58th National awards were announced yesterday in India and the major awards were collected by Tamil and Malayalam movies. Dhanush won the best actor award for his realistic portrayal in the film Aadukalam along with Malayalam actor Salim Kumar who won it for his brilliant performance in the film Adaminte Makan Abu. The best feature film award went to Malayalam film Adaminte Makan Abu.
Aadukalam was the star of the National Film awards announced yesterday as it bagged 6 awards including the Best actor, Best Director (Vetrimaran), Best Original Screenplay (Vetrimaran), Best Editing (TE Kishore), and Best Choreography (Dinesh Kumar).
Saranya Ponvannan won the best actress award for the film Thenmerkku Paruvakkatru along with Marathi actress Mitalee Jagtap Varadkar for Baboo Band Baaja.
The best supporting actor award went to actor Thambi Rammaih for his excellent performance in Mynaa and the supporting actress award went to actress Sukumari for the Tamil film Namma Grammam.
Namma Grammam also won the award for costume design for Indrans Jayan.Enthiran also bagged couple of awards for best production design (Saby cyril) and Special Effects (V Srinivas M Mohan). Vairamuthu won the best lyricist award for Thenmerkku Paruvakkatru.
With all the awards going to the regional movies Dabaang winning “Wholesome Entertainer” award was kind of a consolation for Hindi films. Vishal Bharadwaj also won the Best Music award for the film Ishqiya. His wife Rekha Bharadwaj won the best Playback singer award for the same movie. Do Dooni Chaar won the “Best Hindi Film” award.Ishqiya also won the award for Best Audiography (Debajit Changmai).
The Best Backgound Score award went to Issak Thomas Kottakapally for the Malayalam film Adaminte Makan Abu. The Best Cinematography award went to Madhu Ambat for Adaminte Makan Abu (Malayalam).
Nargis Dutt award for the Best film on National Integration went to Bengali film Moner Manush. The Best Film on Social issues went to Marathi film Champions. Indhira Gandhi award for Best Debut Film of a Director went to Marathi Film Baboo Band Baaja.
So overall it was a great day for Regional movies this time. Tamil movies bagged 14 awards in various categories and Malayalam films bagged 6. The 58th National Awards was great one for the Southern Film industries and a particularly proud one for Tamil. Congratulations to all the winners and hope that the winners will strive to achieve greater success in the coming years.
Note – I haven’t published all the award winners, just a few of the important ones are mentioned in this post.
Watching an Indian talent show is like watching a mega serial. The concept is same, if it’s doing well, stretch it as much as possible. Sometimes as fan of talent shows as me, it becomes pretty draining and boring to watch. The last show I really followed and watched to completion was Airtel Super Singer 2008. Even that one at one point got irritating but I somehow pulled myself through to watch it to completion.
The major problem with these shows is that, there are so many meaningless episodes. The countless recalls, Wildcards and celebration rounds get on your nerves sometimes. I started watching Hariyudan Naan, the other talent show on a different network and after a while when it started to follow the familiar pattern, I gave up. I had no intention to watch it till the end. It’s funny when the channel tries to justify these extra episodes with some weird logic. When I switch on to watch a competition, I would be happy if there is one. Like for example Airtel Super Singer comes 4 days a week, and if there is a festival on that week they go into a celebration round. Celebration round means, there is no competition, no eliminations but just some time for the network to stretch the show.
Then comes the wildcard rounds, no idea what that means. Suddenly when they have a top 10 or 15 identified, they pop this in. No idea why, suddenly they have 2 weeks of getting the eliminated singers to comeback and compete and 2 or 3 of them are called back. So 15 becomes 18 after couple of weeks and then you are back to eliminating those 3 in another 6-8 weeks before we get to 15 again. Amidst all these we suddenly have the episodes where the judges become incredibly generous and after rigorous competition and judging they say that there will be no eliminations this round. This last minute revelation keeps the audience engaged till the fourth day, because they will have no clue that the judges are going to drop this bomb on them at the end of it.
The funniest of all is the recall round, not sure what’s the difference between a recall and wildcard. Different networks use different terminologies but all these exist on almost every talent show. I did not watch Hariyudan Naan completely but I remember Airtel Super singer when they had top 7 contestants and just when we were hoping to get to the finals soon, they pulled out this recall/wild card out of the hat and had two separate rounds of that too. First the contestants who were left judged and then the judges themselves did later. Well what a great trick to extend the show.
When these shows begin the producers probably wait for the TRP and once they know that it is a hit, they just try to prolong it as much as possible. Some people enjoy it but some get terribly frustrated. It’s fine with me if they have one recall/wildcard in the entire length of the show but having multiple of them and also having these celebration rounds gets on my nerves. I just hope that we get a show which after getting to the serious competition works towards completion rather than finding ways to stretch it as much as possible. In the day and age of mega serials, it will be great to have a decent and up to the point talent show. We don’t want a “Mega” talent show too as we have enough of the mind numbing TV serials already.
Over the weekend I caught up with Hariyudan Naan after almost 4 months and it hadn’t moved that much, not surprisingly though. I saw when they had top 12, now they are at top 8. Also simultaneously on Vijay TV we have the Airtel Super Singer taking place which has barely begun at this point. I don’t expect a result on that until 2012. While watching the episode this weekend, one thing which struck my mind was most of these contests are winner takes all format, so what happens to the others?
I know that Vijay TV gives some opportunities to prior participants to sing in their tours and programs but would that be enough for someone wanting to make a career out of music? I have noticed that some of the contestants keep jumping from one talent show to the other. Like Gopalkrishnan, Barghavi, Aruna who were part of Airtel super singer 2008 participated in Hariyudan Naan and did quite well. Except for Aruna, the other two are now in top 8 but if they don’t end up in the top 5 what’s going to be their future. Do they keep shuttling between TV shows? Santosh who was also in the super singer 2008 is again back in this season.
All these competitions are judged by famous singers and some music directors too come in at some point, so it’s a surprise to me that the contestants at least the top 10 don’t land up with some chance in music. The contestants go through grueling selection process to reach a particular level like a top 8 or top 10 and when they get eliminated at that point they have to go through the same process again in a different channel or competition or just give up. This is actually really sad and must be heartbreaking for these contestants who might end up making top 10 in all competitions but not win it to make the cut.
Ajeesh won the Airtel Singer 2008 and in 3 years he has sung like 3 songs but what about the 2nd and 3rd place finishers in 2008? Where are they now? Are they getting any chances? Are they even pursuing music as their careers? No one knows.
Probably these channels should do a show every year like American Idol in the US does, where they tell us where the Idols are and what they are up to right now. The viewers watch these shows for almost a year and get involved with these contestants and when the show is over we have no clue what goes on with them except for the winner who gets to sing couple of movie songs. It will be great to know what Renu, Ranjani, Ravi, Vijay, Prasanna, Raghini (Even though we see her in Koffee with Anu) and others are doing after the super singer and whether they are still pursuing their musical dream. Probably the channels should consider doing something like that after a year of each season. Pick the top ten of the previous season and have an interview with them.
These contestants shouldn’t have to keep jumping from one show to another as at some point frustration will creep in and they will give up. The fact that some of them are able to make it to Top 10 in all the channels and competitions in front of different judges says quite a lot about their ability. So it will be great to learn what they thought about the competition and how that has helped them in their goal. Probably the channels like Jaya and Vijay should think about this. Don’t you think it will be great if these singers are invited on Vijay TV to talk about their post 2008 season life? Wouldn’t it be great? I had written exclusive reviews of Airtel super singer 2008 and would surely love to know what the contestants are doing right now.
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.