2009 was a momentous year for Tamils all over the globe and in terms of the Tamil movie industry; this means an increasing global presence.
With 2 big Tamil names hitting the mainstream media in a big way in 2009, the good work of Double Academy Award winning AR Rahman and Tamil MC, M.I.A, has paved the way for awareness of all things Tamil.
This year, Kollywood, which is the Tamil version of Hollywood, similar to the Hindi Bollywood, has produced a record number of Tamil films – as of the end of 2009, 131 movies were made in the Tamil language in India and this doesn’t include the many Tamil independent offerings from places like Canada (1999) and Singapore (Certain chapters) amongst others.
In terms of hits, the ratio has fallen in 2009 and one hopes it will improve in 2010; the idea is that more quality output and fresh talent will find a place in Tamil cinema and help take it to the world. With the humongous success of films like Subramaniyapuram, Pasanga and Nadodigal, audiences are ready to see less glossy, more story oriented films at cinemas the world over. Yavarum Nalam (13B) was a rare Tamil horror film, starring R. Madhavan and Eeram was a much-discussed supernatural thriller, another genre seen rarely in Tamil cinema. Films like Achchamundu! Achchamundu saw American based directors like Arun Vaidyanathan, stepping into Tamil cinema with unusual storylines.
Gautham Menon, the director of the forthcoming Vinnaithaandi varuvaaya decided to use London’s BAFTA as his platform for a historical spectacular music launch for the music of his film, honing in on the value of oversees exposure – this culminated in interviews with AR Rahman and Gautham being broadcast over many BBC channels (the first for Tamil cinema), causing unprecedented interest in this film and it’s 2010 release means that Tamil movies are truly on the word-map. With films like Veyyil being shown in Cannes and many international festivals like the Cairo awarding the silver medal to Krishnan Gomatam’s Mudhal Mudhal Mudhal Varai, Tamil films have jumped out of Kodambakkam (the filmi part of Chennai) and are relying heavily on the support of the massive diaspora abroad.
In terms of worldwide success, Surya’s Ayan topped the charts – a film that showcased the rise of piracy and how a smuggler can change the course of his life. UTV motion pictures, headed by Ronnie Screwvala was another company who ventured into the Tamil market (after Eros did in 2008) and their Unnaipol Oruvan, the remake of the excellent ‘A Wednesday’ in Hindi became a success. It also saw the entry of Kamal Haasan’s multi-talented daughter, Shruti Haasan in Tamil cinema, as a rare female music director.
In terms of Tamil music, AR Rahman had no releases in 2009 (his releases after Slumdog Millionaire were the Hindi films, Blue and Delhi 6 and Hollywood film, Couples Retreat), but other directors flourished. Ilayaraja continues to make beautiful melodies and his tunes in Nandalala made waves, as did his incredible background music. His son, Yuvan Shankar Raja continued his onslaught on Tamil masses, with hit after hit. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy made an entry into Tamil music direction, with Yavarum Nalam, and Harris Jeyaraj scored for another Surya starrer, Aadhavan. Vidyasagar’s Kanden Kadhalai and Peranmai hit the radio waves, as did the infectious tunes of Devi Sri Prasad, in Vikram’s Kanthaswamy. Mani Sharma’s Padikathavan captured hearts and new entrant, Sundar C. Babu’s Nadodigal brought about some very sweet melodies.
The Thamarai team look forward to showcasing many more new, fresh and exciting Tamil films, interview exclusives and music, in 2010, the year that will bring us the heavyweights of Tamil cinema, both of which have music by AR Rahman – Shankar’s Enthiran (Robot) and Mani Ratnam’s Raavana – with spectacular casts of Superstar Rajinikanth in Enthiran, Aishwarya Rai (who makes her come-back to Tamil after Kandukondain Kandukondain in 2000 in both movies, incidentally), and in Raavana, Vikram (who is believed to be the hero in Tamil and the villain in Hindi), Prithviraj and National award winning actress, Priyamani. We also send our support to new music directors like V Selvaganesh and Devan Ekambaram, who are also set to take the music of Tamil cinema to new heights.
Words: Ashanti OMkar