A movie becoming a hit or flop cannot be the only guideline to declare its worthiness. The right method would be judging by its content and the narration style, I mean the script and the screenplay. Without these, the very purpose of making a movie would not be properly served. More than two hundred movies get released every year and their quality:quantity ratio does not look very convincing. None would have imagined that we would be delivering such mediocre movies when compared to the black and white period.
With the demise of the legends from the Shivaji Ganesan era, Tamil cinema has shifted focus from script oriented movies to profit making movies with some exceptions. In the 60s and 70s, the movies used to have a strong script and we could see actors emoting with passion and it feels like seeing ourselves on the screen. This is missing in today’s films. Either we get inspired from a Hollywood movie (or even Korean movies) or remake from other languages but never inspire people around the world to follow us. Even the name Kollywood (a word which is not even in the dictionary) is inspired from the west. We still love our Tamil movies, thanks to our limited exposure to Hollywood.
Right now Tamil cinema is in a mould with a predefined template that specifies the mandatory number of songs, fights, comedy, love and sentiment in a movie. And we call it the “perfect mixture” for a blockbuster. Apparently, the actors too got into this mould, which becomes a safe bet for hits. So the directors stopped trying and got along with what the audience wanted. In Kollywood, each actor is associated with certain kinds of roles. There are mass heroes, romantic ones, action kings and so on. Therefore, an actor is repeatedly forced to chose a role according to their fan’s expectations. Our actors are very talented. They are, much better than us criticizing them, but it’s the expectation of their fans, that stops them from trying different characters. So whom do we blame? fans? actors? directors? I would say everyone, in the same order. A movie has to be consistent at the first place. If it’s a comedy movie, then it be a complete comedy treat. If it’s a thriller, it should be jam packed with twists and thrills. I don’t understand the need of a romantic song in a thriller movie or fight scenes in comedy flicks. No more unnecessary songs unless the situation demands one, and on the whole, we don’t want to see 2 hour 40 minute movies anymore. This template based movie concept has to change.
The reason why there are not much futuristic films is that the directors don’t see a future. Except some passionate directors who put their soul into their movies, other directors think movie making as a profession. Movie making is an art and if one makes it a profession, then we lose that magical charm, which is found in yesteryear movies. A director needs to visualize the outcome of a movie, which is really important as it creates a road map for his team and motivate them. A director needs lot of grit to project such visionary ideas. There are lot of compromises a director has to make to satisfy lot of people on the way and when he looks back, the movie might have been a little/lot different from what he intended to create. To think, make a movie and stick to your theme takes a different kind of courage, which only few directors have. A director needs guts to stand with his script and not change according to the hero’s image or fan’s expectations. If this small change is made, then am sure quality would increase by leaps and bounds.
Nowadays the success of a movie in the opening week depends on the extensive marketing by the movie promoters. They flood the TV channels with the trailers that contain only good scenes in the movie. Deceived by the trailer, we walk to the theater to find the real story. And that’s how the distributors make money in the opening week. Cant blame them, they are pure business people. They are doing their job and accordingly even the directors need to stick to their job, which is creating quality movies and not worry about profits and opening sales. Overall, everyone has to stick to their jobs and try not poking their noses around.
There has to be movies like Kahaani & Arundathi that are heroine oriented. It’s high time we don’t use our ladies just for songs and romance. The directors need to pen down scripts for these talented ladies to show their skills. Making an Indian movie is more difficult than the Hollywood ones because of the very existence of sophisticated masala factor in every frame. Directors need to concentrate on a single storyline in an effective manner. Even the stunts in Indian films looks very unrealistic and unearthly. In a nutshell, both Indian and Hollywood movies are of the same theme, good fighting against the bad, good trying to save the nation, with few fights n few kisses. But the way of bringing it out as a package is different. It means the method of conveying the same message in a gift wrapped box. If you take movies like Xmen, harry potter, they could be illogical but that’s fantasy. Though illogical, the western people know the knack of presenting the most dumbest things on earth and still get away with a huge applause from the audience. May be it’s all with the presentation. Even if we fantasize, it would still contain songs, fights and the main ingredient “masala”.
I feel devastated when Tamil audience stand and clap for characters like superman, batman or any-man. Actually, we are not envious of them but it makes us wonder when such an ovation is going to happen to our actors. Am sure our script writers are very talented to think out of the box but they are redirected by the hero’s image who are in turn redirected by their fans. How long are we going to keep watching mass masala movies, which has no quality script? Moreover, it’s the matter of audience being educative enough to accept the creativity of the directors. It’s the very fear of not being accepted by the audience that is driving away many talented directors from innovating their scripts and screenplay. As long as the audience don’t change their perspective and accept all sorts of good movies, quality is not going to improve.
People are busy fighting who is the next superstar but not worried about the future of Tamil cinema. We cant bat,yet we criticize Sachin, we cant lead, yet we mock our Prime Minister, all we can do is to speak inside the four walls in front of the TV. Salman Rushdie has once quoted Indian film industry as “Epico-Mythico-Tragico-Comico-Super-Sexy-High-Masala-Art”. So complicated and so true! Thanks for adding the word “Art”, sir.
We need to change, for them to change and make better movies.