Good, Bad and Ugly of Kollywood in 2013 [Year End Special]
The year 2013 was largely a year when we saw Tamil cinema build upon the remarkable achievements of the previous year.
If short filmmakers turning directors, re-releases of old classics, and comedy films became a trend in 2012, this year, we witnessed a repeat of the same. Meanwhile, stars found their mojo back, Bollywood started acknowledging the Chennai market and the industry opened up to multi-starrers, but the failure of top directors, state interference and celebrity harassment cast a shadow over the achievements.
■ After failing to deliver in 2012, star-driven films managed to succeed at the box office, and pushing up the collection figures.
■ Kollywood opened up to the concept of multi-starrers and this year, beginning with Vettai, saw more films with two or more stars.
■ Bollywood stars, who were mostly ignoring Chennai in their promotional tours for so long, started acknowledging the market for Hindi films here and made an appearance before their film’s release. Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Deepika Padukone,Katrina Kaif, John Abraham… You name them, and they were here! Tamil actors, especially character artists, also started finding roles in Bollywood. While veteran Sathyaraj made his Hindi debut with Chennai Express, actors like Manorama, Delhi Ganesh and Nizhalgal Ravi too were seen in Bollywood.
■ We can never say no to comedy and two giants — Goundamani and Vadivelu — who were missing on Tamil screens for the last few years, started shooting for their comeback films this year. Let the laughter begin!
■ This year also saw an increase in the number of internationally popular figures like Bravo, Akon and yes,Sunny Leone, getting their taste of Kollywood.
■ Giving the usual Switzerland and Australia a break, Kollywood filmmakers went on a hunt for exotic locations, to either set their films in(Irandaam Ulagam) or shoot their songs (Theeya Velai Seiyyanum Kumaru).
■ The industry also started cutting down on lavish audio launches, opting for low-key launches. Even star films like Vijay’s Jilla and Ajith’s Arrambam were launched directly launched in stores or on FM radio.
■Without doubt, it was black comedy, a rarely seen genre in Tamil cinema, that became the most noticeable trend. Not only is one of the year’s best films, Soodhu Kavvum, a black comedy, many noteworthy ones like Neram and Moodar Koodam too were in this genre.
Bad■The year saw a number of big-name directors fail at the box office. This was a year to forget for both legends like Mani Ratnam (Kadal) and Bharathirajaa (Annakodi) and current favourites like Ameer (Ameerin Aadhi Bhagavan) and M Rajesh (Azhagu Raja).
■While the scramble for ‘U’ certificate, to get tax exemption, resulted in mostly bland comedies and less edgy films (notable exceptions were Soodhu Kavvum and Kalyana Samayal Saadham), there was also controversy over for the irregularities in granting tax exemption, with Udhayanidhi Stalin publicly alleging that his films weren’t being granted exemption due to “motivated reasons”.
■A number of films had to go to the court for various reasons. If it was religion for Vishwaroopam and Kadal, Kanna Laddu Thinna Aasaiya and Thillu Mullu landed in legal trouble over copyright issues.
■ This was the year when the state’s interference, when it comes to films, became very apparent. Films were banned temporarily and there were also reports of stars being blacklisted during the centenary celebrations of Indian cinema. Vishwaroopam and Thalaivaa, despite starring superstars Kamal Haasan and Vijay, actually were released much later in Tamil Nadu after being screened around the world.
■ Some Kollywood celebs got a taste of the flip side of being a celebrity. The controversies surrounding actresses Anjali and Nazriya showed how stars could be exploited, even by those in the industry. Meanwhile, Kanaka was reported to be dead, James Vasanthan got arrested on an allegedly fabricated complaint and Cheran was dragged into a court battle when his former assistant had a love affair with his daughter.