English தமிழ்

Share the Article

The film, Writer, released towards the end of 2021 seemed to capture the year well. Directed by Franklin Jacob, yet another talent to emerge from Pa Ranjith’s stable, the film’s core was its story. Writer has shown that films with a highly original story, well researched plot, and believable characters don’t need big stars or famous directors to succeed. It’s not that movies like Writer have not been made. They were made in the past but they didn’t trigger a trend. Let’s hope Writer sets a trend and changes Tamil filmmaking.

Despite the pandemic and lockdowns, more than 100 films were released this year. This year OTT emerged as a big alternative platform for movies to reach the masses in their homes. Yet, the OTT platform cannot trump theatres in making money.

Many ordinary films hit OTT such as Bhumi, Yele, Bhumika and Udanpirappe while at the same time the most popular film this year, Jai Bhim, was also an OTT film. A film like Sivaranjaniyum Matra Pengalum, directed by Vasanth and released on Sony Live, may not have managed a theatre release. OTT has indeed triggered a revisiting of the content of Tamil movies.

Cinema may be a visual medium. But the movies that turn out to be big hits are in essence dramas. Rajini’s Annatthe, Vijay’s Master, Sivakarthikeyan’s Doctor were examples of this.

This year OTT emerged as a big alternative platform for movies to reach the masses in their homes. Yet, the OTT platform cannot trump theatres in making money.

Movies like Karnan, Sarpatta Parambarai, Jai Bhim and Writer gave hope. Impressive films included Then, Alpha Adimai, Kadaiseela Biryani, Mandela and Jail. Yet, the typical masala fare did well too.

Big stars didn’t really dominate this year. Ajith and Kamal didn’t have a release. Vijay and Rajini had one release each. Suriya’s Jai Bhim and Dhanush’s Karnan had heroic themes but the core was that of a common man challenging the might of an unjust establishment. They weren’t truly the hero-driven commercial films that Suriya and Dhanush were largely associated with in the past.

Amidst all this some true art films were released such as Madathi and Koozhangal. Leena Manimekalai’s Madathi portrayed the marginalized community of Pudhirai Vannars and the caste oppression they face. Medhagu portrayed the life of LTTE leader Prabhakaran. Though made with a small budget, it served its purpose. Koozhangal was a visually rich film by director Vinodh Raj that told the story of a family in a small town.

Cinema may be a visual medium. But the movies that turn out to be big hits are in essence dramas. Rajini’s Annatthe, Vijay’s Master, Sivakarthikeyan’s Doctor were examples of this.

Venkat Prabhu’s Maanadu resists categorization. Though made with commercial intent, the content was different. Maanadu was no art film but its story could have easily merited an artistic treatment. In its portrayal of the minority Muslim community, the film blazed a new trail although the characters and gimmicks were thoroughly commercial. Perhaps Maanadu can help Tamil cinema learn to blend commercial and artistic impulses.

This year, once again, several new directors had their releases that made a mark. New blood will certainly mean a freshness of approach and new ideas. Their movies may push all of Tamil cinema to up its quality. With new and off-beat themes and sound technical base, Tamil cinema’s movies may well become noted for their quality. Time may come when Tamil cinema may make a mark on the world stage.

Such regional brilliance is not rare in world cinema. Iran has consistently produced high quality films of artistic merit which world cinema has come to accept as a regular feature. 2021 gave much hope at least for Tamil movies if not to much else.


Share the Article