Flying high on talent

South Indian Flavour

Flying high on talent

Tamil film‘Naan Kadavul’.

We saw Mamooty and Mohanlal still ruling the roost in Malayalam cinema, and Kamal Hassan completing 50 years in the South Indian film industry which are just some of the highlights of this year.

Of course, the biggest highlight of this year is that many of the major awards of the National Awards have been won by the South Indian film fraternity. Prakash Raj bagged the Best Actor award for his work in Priyadarshan’s Tamil film Kanjeevaram.

The film also bagged the Best Film award. The Best Actress award was won by Umashri for Girish Kasaravalli’s Kannada film Gulabi Talkies. Adoor Gopalakrishnan bagged the Best Director award for his Malayalam film, Naalu Pennungal. His film won the Best Editing award as well. Talent is one thing that the Southern film industry has never been short of. But we are catching up on marketing films and getting global recognition too.

Contemporary story lines, advanced technology and fresh talent are what 2009 saw in the regional film industry. Not only are they seeking critical acclaim, regional movies are doing well at the box-office as well, Magadheera and Naan Kadavul being two apt examples.

Change is constant, even in the tastes of the audiences. Gone are the days of dependence on the star value. Now, success depends on the story, screenplay and narrative. Some of the films with huge star cast have been box-office disappointments while some of the small-budget movies have emerged winners. And this trend is seen not only in one film industry but across all the four South Indian languages (Ashta Chemma in Telugu, Gokula in Kannada, 2 Harihar Nagar in Malayalam).

Although the Kannada film industry rejoiced at having celebrated ‘Amrutha Mahotsava’, the notable things have been the number of controversies the industry has faced in the recent times. Ambari film director Arjun and Jacob Verghese from the Telugu film industry remade Gamyam in Kannada as Savari, which had a good run at the box-office.

Telugu films witnessed the rise of sons of superstars. With Ram Charan Teja in the lead, Magadheera is arguably one of the biggest hits in India this year. This SS Rajamouli film is being hailed as the second highest Indian grosser of 2009. The rise of heroine-oriented roles brought back memories of Ramya Krishna and Soundarya in their hey-days. Starring Anushka Shetty, Arundhati, directed by Kodi Ramakrishna, has made brilliant use of special effects. Made at a cost of Rs 13 crore, Arundhati was dubbed into all four south Indian languages, as well as Hindi.

Malayalam films had one of the biggest surprises of the year — Nadodogal — which makes for a compelling watch. Produced by Sasikumar, this low-budget movie has already grossed more than Rs 53 crore.  It was both a critical and box-office success. A period film on Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja had a good run at the box-office. In fact, it has broken all collection records in Kerala. Mammootty plays the title role and Sarathkumar plays his trusted lieutenant. Tamil film Naan Kadaval made by Bala never fails to spring surprises on his fans. 

The Tamil film industry which was never short of good stories experienced the trend continuing with some films which have beaten expectations. Some of the smaller films which were made on shoestring budgets with good content have been well received which has paved the way for unknown actors and debutante directors (Padikkathavan Yaavarum Nalam, Vennila Kabaddi Kuzhu, Siva Manasula Sakthi).

These South Indian films prove that time and again that they are ready to surprise the audience, come up with fresh ideas and most importantly, entertain them.

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