Living Up to the Hype in Kollywood

The Tamil Film industry comes out with a lot of movies that are hyped up before their release, even though most of them lack the substance to match the marketing.

Here are a few recent movies with big budgets and big stars that actually turned out to match the hype.

Aayirathil Oruvan(2010) – Director Selvaragavan ventures into uncharted territory in Tamil cinema, and manages to provide an action adventure that combines fantasy with the history of the Tamil empires of the Cholas and the Pandyas. The film is about a modern day archaeological expedition to discover the location of the remnants of the Chola kingdom, whose remaining descendants and treasure were exiled during its collapse. Selvaragavan’s uncompromising desire to take the second half of the film in an unexpected direction, that wasn’t necessarily commercially viable, makes this film worth watching!

Madharasapattinam (2010) – A period romance film set in Madras at the dawn of India’s independence. The story (which isn’t the strong point of the film) is about the Governor’s daughter (Amy Jackson) falling in love with a local dhobi and wrestler (Arya). What makes the film worthwhile is the way 1940’s Madras (now known as Chennai) is recreated in vivid details through elaborate sets, including a crucial scene which takes place inside the Madras Railway Clock tower.

Raavanan (2010) – Mani Ratnam’s skillful, and subtle, modern day adaptation of the epic Hindu novel The Ramayana. Vikram is cast perfectly as Veera (nicknamed Raavanan), the forest bandit who is feared and loved by the people and wanted by the government. Aishwarya Rai was aptly chosen to portray Seetha (renamed Ragini in this adaptation). Breathtaking scenery is a highlight in this technically polished film, with music by A.R Rahman that adds another element to the experience of a great Mani Ratnam film.

Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa (2010) – Director Gautam Menon’s best and most complete film to date. A simple love story between a Hindu boy (Simbu) from Tamil Nadu and a Christian girl from Kerala (Trisha) that’s shot beautifully, with an emphasis on cinematography, and accompanied perfectly by the music of A.R Rahman. The strong screenplay captures the magic, beauty, uncertainty, and pain that can be caused by love. The great chemistry between Simbu and Trisha stands out, and makes the film one of the most romantic Tamil movies in recent times.

Eeram (2009) – A slick, supernatural, thriller directed by debutant director Arivazhagan Venkatachalam. The movie starts off ominously when police officer (Aadhi) is called to the scene of an apparent suicide of a house wife (Sindhu Menon), and discovers it was his former flame. What looks like a simple open and shut case, is kept open by the protagonist. He doesn’t believe the premise behind the suicide could be true of the woman he once loved. Visually and technically one of the best Tamil films in recent memory. This is emphasized by the subtle use of water in every scene in the film, as it weaves together the theme and characters.

—Sudan Ponnuchamy

Picture courtesy of “Tamil Songs

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Sudan Ponnuchamy

Sudan Ponnuchamy

Sudan is an IT professional who was born in Jaffna and grew up in different parts of Toronto. Well versed in both Hollywood and Kollywood movies, Sudan likes offering his opinion on various different topics with a Canadian Tamil view.

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