Old is proving to be gold in Tamil cinema. A slew of yesteryear blockbusters, which have created history in Kollywood, are being given a fresh lease of life such as colour enhancement, DTS and 3D.
In terms of collection, these films are proving to be tough competition to other new films.
It all started with Karnan, one of the landmark movies of Tamil film history, which had Sivaji Ganesan in the lead. After 48 years, Karnan revisited cinema halls last month, thanks to the efforts of Shanthi Chokkalingam of Divya Films.
The sound negative had been restored and converted into DTS 5.1. State of the art technology was used to convert the film and show it in 2K resolution. And, all these alterations were done without tampering with the original.
On the decision behind giving Karnan a new look, Chokkalingam says, “This is for youngsters who don’t give much thought to remarkable films of the past. They should understand those extraordinary endeavours of the past.”
Karnan, based on Mahabharata, is about a philanthropic friend of Duryodhana, who, it appears, is ready to go to any extent for the sake of friendship. Sivaji Ganesan gave life to this epic character with his stunning performance.
The film was directed by B R Panthulu. At a time devoid of computer graphics or animation technology, this movie had enough interesting content to enthrall fans. Such was its gloss and grandeur.
Chokkalingam’s calculations proved to be true, as the new version of Karnan not only attracted die-hard Sivaji fans to cinema halls, but also the audience from amongst the latest generation.
Subramanyam, a senior citizen, says, “I have seen Karnan more than 50 times. Every scene is fresh in my mind. There are many such films of the past and I hope they will be restored and released in the coming days.”
Paying heed to the expectations of fans like Subramanyam, MGR-starrer Kudiyirundha Koyil saw a re-release as well. It was once again seen that MGR was truly the collection king, as it was a festival of sorts in front of cinema halls which screened the movie.
Raj TV, which has the rights of many Tamil hits, is looking at digitising many Sivaji Ganesan and MGR films. “We are working on making Veerapandiya Kattabomman digital.
We will be releasing it in 3D and we are sure it will be an enjoyable experience for the audience,” says a spokesperson of Raj TV.
What about Rajinikanth movies, we wonder? Yes, efforts are already on to re-release Badsha. The Superstar’s 1995 film was a sensational hit. Directed by Suresh Krishna, it went on to create records in the box-office.
Almost 17 years after its release, Badsha will speak in Hindi in digitalised re-released version. DI and colour correction have been done. The movie has been brought out in a new negative.
Deva, who scored music for Badsha, has added new sounds to background score and has also provided a new musical score for the title. The film will be released across many screens worldwide at the end of April.
Says the manager of a theatre complex in South Chennai, “The year 2012 has been quite dull for Tamil films so far. There have been four to five releases every week, but few have turned out to be profitable. So, we are banking on old movies, which are crowd pullers.
Today’s filmmakers should understand the demand of viewers and make films accordingly.” Well, that’s a story for another day.