The Previous Year had films from South taking over Bollywood regarding box-office collection as well as the content where mostly Kannada films, namely “Chakravyuha,” “U-Turn” and “Thithi” did exceedingly well at the box-office even in Non-Kannada centers and in the US. The Big-Budgeted Tamil film “24” produced and starring one of one of the celebrated actors in Tamil Cinema Suriya Sivakumar became the second highest grossing Tamil film in the US along with collecting 100 Crores in 6 days at home. Only one Hindi film could pass the Summer test which was “Sarbjit” starring Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Randeep Hooda which managed to have a decent profit.
Over the years, Southern Cinema has always been delivering quality cinema since the Pre-independence era where they have been able to bring up more fresh talents as well as techniques that have found a significant fan following and learning experience as compared to it is Hindi counterparts in Mumbai.
After independence, in the case of Tamil and Telugu cinema, most of the films were politically-driven where actors like MG Ramachandran, Sivaji Ganesan, and NT Rama Rao came up being the representatives of the common man and coming out with solutions on screen which also helped them become a household name for style as well as substance. Malayalam Cinema had Prem Nazir who holds the world record of having done a maximum number of films in a year.
Slowly the trend changed when fresh talents with fresh content sprang up in the entire South scenario during the 70’s and 80s when directors like Bharathiraja, Balu Mahendra, K Balachander, John Abraham, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Girish Kasaravalli and Shaji Karun came up delivering realism and entertainment in a single platter with some making names like Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan, Mohanlal, and Mammooty a new trend among the masses. Some of the films were made on crowd funding or funding by the NFDC (National Film Development Corporation) and are considered one of the brilliant films made in the Indian Cinema till date.
It was these films that dominated the National Awards scenario throughout the 70’s and 80’s and winning accolades in the global platform as well. Then came a new talent Mani Ratnam who made films in all South languages alike or even had his films dubbed in these languages along with Hindi who introduced a new style of showcasing an issue with household names and new technical work, thus developing a new style of filmmaking.
NEW TALENTS AND TECHNIQUES
During the 90’s, new names came in the scenario where mostly Tamil and Telugu cinema struck gold with names like Shankar, KS Ravikumar, Gautham Menon, Ram Gopal Verma and Bala came with their signature styles where every director became a brand for their depiction of the society, fantasy and so on. Coming to the Tamil Cinema, fresh themes, fresh talents and even the Famous Burmah Bazaar of Chennai which even now sells the DVD’s and VCD’s of international films brought fresh talents like Ameer Sultan, Sasikumar, Vetrimaaran, Mysskin and Selvaraghavan who showcased the dark realities of the society and even fantasy (Aayirathil Oruvan/ 2010) where they brought new talents like Dhanush, Jai, etc. It slowly brought a new trend in filmmaking and made these skills a household name. One of the legendary directors in the Indian Cinema, Anurag Kashyap credited Ameer, Bala and Sasikumar in the beginning of his 2012 cult classic “Gangs Of Wasseypur” as the lattermost’s film “Subramaniapuram” (2008) along with depiction of the harsh realities brilliantly by the former names inspired him to make his film with sheer grit and reality. Along with massive blockbusters, Celebrated actors like Vijay, Ajith, Suriya and Vikram also forayed with these new talents with fresh stories which were able also to win the hearts of the critics as well.
Slowly fantasy was given a new name with SS Rajmouli who is a bigger name in Telugu cinema now. Son of celebrated writer and actor K K Vijendra Prasad, the director started with worldwide-acclaimed films like “Magadheera” (2009), “Naan Ee” (2012).He also came up with “Baahubali: The Beginning” (2015) which was embraced by most of the critics and audiences across the world alike and also became the Second highest grossing Indian film worldwide till date and got massive acclaim in US, France, and Latin America. The film, which was praised for its characters, techniques and even stunt sequences, is all set to come with its sequel in 2017 which is literally “desperately” been waited for by the masses across the world. Shankar came up with “Enthiran: The Robot” (2010) starring Rajinikanth and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan where the lead actor played a double role as a scientist and a humanoid robot which also ran well worldwide.
In Malayalam cinema, Late Rajesh Pillai made the film “Traffic” (2011) which is considered as a landmark film and the latest marvel regarding hyperlink narration. Since then new names like Rajeev Ravi (also a celebrated cinematographer), Anwar Rasheed, Anjali Menon, Ranjith, RS Vimal and Sameer Thahir brought a great revolution in the Contemporary Malayalam cinema where issues and themes related to the Youth, urban relationships, real-life stories and so were highlighted and had found a great fan following even in the Hindi circuit these days. Names like Dulquer Salmaan, Nivin Pauly, Prithviraj and Fahadh Fazil have found a major fan following even in Non-Malayalam circuits too. Another best part here is that the celebrated lead actors, irrespective of the fame and name come up together in a film with a fresh content which is rarer within it is Hindi and Tamil counterparts. Films made on Shoestring Budgets also have found their screens in Non-Malayalam circuits like that in Delhi and Mumbai where they have managed to strike gold, with more and more releases coming up in the Gulf and West. The film “Premium” (2015, Alphonse Puthren) became a public rage with all its lead characters finding their places in the hearts of the Southern audiences, doing excellent at the box-office worldwide and appreciated for its direction and editing leveling with its human characters.
Telugu Cinema, which has been delivering Masala always flicks which also have found their place in the Hindi circuits as either remake or dubbed films, has recently shown tremendous growth in the recent past with films like “Manam” (2014, Vikram K. Kumar) having a new treatment on the reincarnation theme. Pawan Kalyan, the superstar cum politician, continues to be a Masala charmer with his cliché content-based films. Whereas veteran actors like Akkineni Nagarjuna, along with new actors like Ram, Junior NTR and Balakrishna, are now foraying with fresh theme based films namely “Oopiri”, “ Expressraja” and “Nennaku Prematho” which has not only won hearts of the masses and critics but have done a tremendous business in the US too recently. The film “Kshanam” (2016, Ravikanth) ended up as one of the fresh thrillers in Indian Cinema with an excellent screenplay, direction, and characters.
Names like Pawan Kumar and Anup Bhandari have done the same in Kannada Cinema what Late Rajesh Pillai did in Kerala. The former came with “Lucia” (2013) which was produced by the crowdfunded money, and it also won the Audience Choice Award at the London Indian Film Festival 2012. The film was well-received by the fans and critics alike, and the same director came up with “U-Turn” this year which added real-life stories and fantasy brilliantly and did well in the international circuits as well as in the Indian box-office too. With Kannada films barely making its place in the US Box Office, Masala films like “Chakravyuha” joining the bandwagon of “U-Turn” also struck gold in the US Box Office. The recently released “ThiThi” (Raam Reddy) has found a cult following in a short span of time where the film, made on a shoe-string budget met with wide acclaim in its home state.It is also having the cash registers ringing nationwide where people like Aamir Khan and Anurag Kashyap, even the legendary Hollywood director Francis Ford Coppola have applauded the film for its humoristic approach with sheer realism. The Year ‘2015’ had “Rangitaranga” (Anup Bhandari) which blended folk and thriller with new techniques involved in cinematography and music score and did well worldwide too.
Coming to Tamil Cinema, Mani Ratnam (now 60) continues to charm the audiences with films like “O Kadhal Kanmani” (2015) which dealt with Live-in relationships. Producers like Nalan Kumaraswamy along with names like Karthik Subbaraj (Of “Pizza,” “Jigarthanda” and “Iraivi” fame) are slowly coming up with films having satires and mockery of their movies (Tamil Padam/2010).Even films made on different issues adding thriller, humor, and realism are finding a bigger place in the hearts of the audiences nationwide.
Celebrated actors like Siddharth (YNot Entertainment), Suriya (2D Entertainment), Dhanush (Wunderbar Films) and directors like Vetrimaran and new names in Acting and Writing like Vijay Sethupathi (Vijay Sethupathi Productions) are also joining the bandwagon as producers.Moreover, they are churning out films that are entirely placing Masala, realism, humor, thrills and chills in one cinematic platter with new themes which are also now been taken up seriously by it is Hindi counterparts as well as the cinema enthusiast across the world.
TRYST WITH HINDI CINEMA
Gone are the times when actors like Rekha, Hema Malini, and Waheeda Rahman took from South and ended up in Bollywood. After actors like Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan who strode within Tamil and Hindi cinema, actors like Dhanush, Suriya, Siddharth, R Madhavan, and Prithviraj are bringing the legacy forward and also winning the hearts of the Hindi audiences. Many Tamil, Malayalam, and Telugu films have seen remakes in Hindi, and it saw the other way round as well, mostly in Tamil and Telugu cinema. After singers like SP Balasubramanian and geniuses like Illayaraja, A R Rahman is now a globally acclaimed artist who continues his stride within the Tamil, Hindi and Telugu cinema. Singers like Karthik, Chinamayi, Sashwat Singh and musicians like Gopi Sunder, Yuvan Shankar Raja and Santhosh Narayanan (known as the Amit Trivedi of the South) have already made their marks in almost all the major industries of Indian Cinema. Coming to technical part, Mani Ratnam still rules the Hindi Heart with his films like “Dil Se,” “Yuva” and “Guru” for its characters, score, and Hollywood-style direction. Even Shankar and Gautham Menon come with their dubbed or remade films and strike gold in the North. Cinematographers like Santosh Sivan, Ravi K. Chandran and Nirav Shah and editors like A Sreekar Prasad continue with bringing excellence in the narrative. Moreover, many Hindi actors like Ashutosh Rana, Murali Sharma, Mukesh Rishi and Adah Sharma have found a place in the Tamil and Telugu films where they have succeeded in winning the hearts of the South audiences. Deepika Padukone started her career from the film “Aishwarya” (2007) and worked with Rajinikanth in “Kochadaiiyaan” (2015) which also starred Jackie Shroff. The latter also worked in the 2010 National Award winning film “Aranya Kaandam.”
One of the acclaimed actors in Hindi cinema of the recent times Radhika Apte will be seen opposite Rajinikanth in the upcoming Tamil film “Kabali” (directed by Pa. Ranjith of “Madras” (2014) fame).Versatile actors like Prakash Raj have already got a huge following in the North. Akshay Kumar will be arriving as Villain in Tamil Cinema in the film “Enthiran 2.0” (Sequel of “Enthiran-The Robot) opposite Rajinikanth where his look has already created much anticipation. Hollywood studios like Stan Winston have become regulars in the making of some of the big-budgeted films in the South.
Tamil actors like Ajith, Suriya and Malayalam actors like Dulquer Salmaan have succeeded in their Hindi speaking skills in some of the films they have worked so far which also calls for their requirement in Hindi films that could add more value in the casting like what their predecessors have done so far.
Unlike before, more and more Hindi films have become lessons for Directors and aspiring directors in the South which is also being followed other way round. At the time when the regional cinema is literally at par with Hindi Cinema, by all means, it is the time that talents from all departments should also be given space and chance, breaking the barriers and thus giving a new level in the building of a new-age Indian Cinema.