June 16, 2007

Gone South!

The biggest problems the electronic news media faces these days is the lack of ‘real’ news breaking events to fill up the 24 hours. No wonder then at times a kid falling into an open manhole or people who stitched Abhishek Bachchan’s Jodhpuri coat make it to the headlines. So it’s no surprise that the national media is going berserk over Rajnikath’s new film. The desire to add more news worthiness to this event is making them conduct surveys and asking people if south Indian actors are the real superstars or if Rajni can beat Mr. Bachchan’s when it comes to popularity? Well, the only things that emerges from this is the realization that is finally dawning upon most of us- Indian cinema is not just Hindi films even though the guys at IIFA wouldn’t agree!

The fact that Hindi film industry and the southern cousin have been scratching each other’s backs for some time shouldn’t be new to people. Many Hindi films were remade into Tamil hits and vice versa. But perhaps the realization that Southern films were cooler didn’t go down well with the Hindi filmwallahs. Pick up any big Tamil, Telegu or Malyalam hit and you’d see the point I’m trying to make here. Even in the realm of commercial films the south films are way ahead than anyone else in terms of script, packaging and execution. This is what perhaps made the Hindi guys come up with the stupid line that ‘southern films are technically better...’ People use the same darn equipment and mostly the same crew so how can something be different or better on the basis of the tools? The statement is perhaps the only way the Hindi film industry will acknowledge someone else’s superiority.

In the recent past I’ve been brushing up on my Tamil films and boy am I impressed of what? Most Tamil directors write their own scripts, which according to me is a characteristic that really speaks volumes about a person’s talent. Vishnuvardhan, Bala, Shankar and Gautham Menon seem to be in perfect control of their craft. Most of the Tamil films, commercial or halfway ‘different’, are prime examples of great packaging. Everyone knows that the publicity and packaging is what deciphers how big a hit a film would eventually be. The recent Tamil film that made me sit up was Shankar’s Anniyan. It was as commercial as it gets feature liberal dosages of great songs, fights and what have you but even though it was ‘commercial’ film the theme and the story made me realize that Hindi films are really lacking in many departments. What makes the film more enjoyable is the ease with which Vikram switches between the three characters he portrays. In addition there was Pithamagan (a masterpiece if you ask me) Parttiyal (kicks ass!) Kaakha Kaakha and Ghajini (being remade in Hindi by Aamir Khan) are way better than any recent Hindi hit. One has to watch films like Virumandi and Mahanadi to know what commercial cinema can really achieve.

I saw Sivaji yesterday. The fact that I managed to watch a first day first show of a Rajnikanth film is some thing that I never thought I’d be able to do and that too in Delhi out of all the places. People were flocking to the malls at 9 in the am! The mass hysteria for the film is there to be seen- the cinema halls down south are booked for the next one-month, people are flocking to Delhi to catch the film, the film is running to packed houses in Malaysia as well, the first day earned 3 crores in Chennai...

Though Sivaji may not be the best film ever made and how it manages to hold the viewer for 3 hours even though the plot is thinner than a wafer is a testimony of Rajnikanth’s popularity. Watch it and enjoy the experience- you may not follow some lines, you may not understand why sensible people go crazy when Rajni comes on the screen, you not accept that Rajni's God here and a cult in Japan but the experience is something else.

3 Responses to “Gone South!”

  • u bet! we are hoping to watch "thalivar" in new york if we can buy the tickets that is
  • had to go see it - i refused to see the Telugu version as a madrasi & enjoyed every minute of the $16 treat. We can see Holly wood new release free on Tuesdays but had to book ahead for this.
  • saw the movie this week. had to go after work, across state lines...
    and yes rajni is god!...im now going to go stand in line for the i-phone...another "god"
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