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Sudha Kongara’s Soorarai Pottru is one of the most lauded movies of Suriya in recent times. It was released on OTT during COVID19 pandemic to rave reviews. The lockdown imposed for COVID19 hampered its theatrical release in Tamil Nadu. On Sunday, Suriya fans in Thiruvananthapuram screened Soorarai Pottru in a theatre there. Twitteratti was abuzz on Sunday following the development. The fans also posted the visuals of their celebrations for Soorarai Pottru on social media.

This is not the first time a Tamil star’s film received so much adulation in Kerala. Vijay’s Sura released in 2010 and termed as a box office flop in Tamil Nadu saw a second theatrical release on Jan. 26, 2020 in Kerala’s Kollam. Vijay fans have celebrated their hearts out on that day. Like Suriya, Vijay’s films are equally celebrated in Kerala.

Following the success of Soorarai Pottru’s theatrical release on Sunday, the film is likely to hit theatres at Thrissur and Ernakulam too. The spirited celebration of the fans is against the popular notion that Malayalis don’t celebrate film stars. For some years now, Tamil stars are gaining a steady foothold among the fans in Kerala. Just like Tamil Nadu, the films get equal reception in neighbouring state also.

There was a time in Tamil Nadu when films of Mammootty and Mohan Lal received similar treatment. The popularity helped Tamil directors to cast them directly in Tamil cinema. Mammootty gave hit movies like Thalapathi, Azhagan, Anandam and Kandukonden Kandukonden. Mohan Lal acted in movies like Iruvar, Unnaipol Oruvan and Jilla. Nivin Pauly starrer Premam released in Malayalam saw an extraordinary reception in Tamil Nadu as well.

Following the success of Soorarai Pottru’s theatrical release on Sunday, the film is likely to hit theatres at Thrissur and Ernakulam too. The spirited celebration of the fans is against the popular notion that Malayalis don’t celebrate film stars.

The jubilation with which these Tamil movies are received by Kerala fans of late is an interesting phenomena. Malayalam movies follow a different track when compared to Tamil movies. While Kollywood sticks to mass entertainment movies, Mollywood goes by strong storylines void of star adulation. It creates a space for Tamil movies in Kerala. Malayali fans looking out for entertainment films find Tamil movies very appealing.

There is hardly any language barrier to enjoying Tamil movies when compared to Hindi or Telugu movies known for their entertainment content. Tamil movies have features like colourful dances, item songs and unrealistic fight sequences. Tamil heroes like Suriya and Vijay appear like their next door neighbours. They are able to connect with Tamil stars. When Vijay’s Sircar was released, Malayalali fans erected a 175 tall cut-out just like Tamil Nadu. Vijay’s Master movie also had a very good run in Kerala. Of late, all the Tamil movies are doing well in neighbouring Kerala.

One more factor giving traction to Tamil movies is that the movies are produced on a high budget. Malayalam movies are produced on a small budget and go by their strength in storytelling. Tamil fans like Malayalam movies for their realistic approach to life. But the Kerala fans, especially youngsters, want something more to celebrate apart from these realistic stories they get. They want something of fantasy or visual treat that they can indulge. They know a hero beating ten to fifteen people to the pulp is unrealistic but it quenches their cravings for something different.

There is hardly any language barrier to enjoying Tamil movies when compared to Hindi or Telugu movies known for their entertainment content. Tamil movies have features like colourful songs, item songs and unrealistic fight sequences. 

This unusual reception to Tamil movies may give an impression that Tamil movies are superior. But it is not true. Once upon a time, B-grade movie star Shakeela turned out to be a stiff competition to stars like Mammootty and Mohan Lal. Malayalis don’t have to search for feel-good movies elsewhere; there are plenty of them in Mollywood. It may well be time for Malayalam filmmakers to adapt some Tamil film elements in their films.


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