Some had it good, others didn’t. malathi rangarajan switches to rewind mode and looks at the success and failures of the year gone by

As always, the year saw Tamil tinseldom marching forward with a record number of releases. the industry had its share of highs and lows, surprises and disasters, enjoyment and insipidity. January began with a bang with Vijay’s Nanban and December will end with a bang too — with Vikram Junior’s Kumki. But in between were many that limped, some that stumbled, others that buckled under, even in the first lap of the race and a few that fell flat. Also-rans were several but they didn’t deter makers — odds and wins are a part of the dream factory mindset. And at the end of the day it is the call of the commercial that makes the vital difference. Here’s to those that made a mark in the year going by! And wishing better luck to those that couldn’t!

Vijay’s victory trumpet that began blowing in 2011 with Kaavalan, a remake of the Malayalam film, Bodyguard, continued this year, with another remake, Shankar’s Nanban. That’s not all — after Shankar, it was the turn of director Murugadoss to help Vijay hit the bull’s eye yet again with his Thuppaaki. This hero of the masses established himself more firmly in 2012.

Beginning Anandam, Lingusamy has proved over and over again that he’s a director to reckon with. This year, the Madhavan-Arya starrer, Vaettai, showed his ability to strike gold at every turn. So it’s only natural that his production house, Thirrupathi Brothers, manages to spin saleable yarns at the BO with impressive regularity. The latest example is Kumki. Be it directors Prabu Solomon or Balaji Sakthivel (Vazhakku Enn 18/9), with Lingusamy’s backing they highlighted the importance of content and presentation in a film.

While on the subject, it has to be noted that 2012 saw a host of new filmmakers storming the Tamil film arena, including actor Prakash Raj, who made a commendable entry as director with Dhoni. Then there was this fresh approach to campus rom-com, called Kaadhalil Sodhappuvadhu Eppadi, from fresher Balaji Mohan.

Stories set in little known milieus never fail to draw the attention of the viewer. Newcomer Sathyasiva’s Kazhugu, which gave the much-needed break to actor Kreshna, proved it amply.

Mysskin’s Mugamoodi was a dampener mainly because the publicity and the actual content didn’t quite jell. People who came to watch a desi Superman in action were let down by the ordinariness of the hero. So it was with Aravaan from Vasanthabalan — viewers seemed disappointed with the characterisation and the climax.

If the hype and hoopla that preceded Billa II hardly helped the film that was felt to be all fuss and no fizz, and Muppozhudum Un Karpanaigal also didn’t live up to expectation, sheer lack of publicity made an enjoyable film such as Leelai lose out in the race. First time director Andrew Louis deserves more plaudits than those that came his way. And the same goes for the film’s lead pair, Shiv Pandit and Mansi.

In the midst of action bonanzas and romantic interludes, Oru Kal Oru Kannaadi arrived to tickle the funny bone. The combination of director Rajesh and Santhanam made OKOK tick. Producer Udayanidhi Stalin turned hero, the publicity machinery was in top gear and the film delivered.

From selecting a story that suited him and having a director who had already proved himself as a lens man to launching himself as the protagonist and turning producer, it was a display of sheer self-confidence, Vijay Antony style. Director Jeeva Sankar revealed the stuff he’s made of and Naan was showered with accolades.

K.V. Anand and Suba joined hands once again for Suriya’s Maatraan. Its foibles and high points apart, the very idea of conceptualising a pair of Siamese twins as heroes exemplified a healthy trend among our makers to try out subjects never touched upon before.

Again the sleepers this year showcased our young creators’ urge to innovate. Pizza directed by Karthik Subbaraj and Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom by Balaji Tharaneetharan are classic cases in point. If more such quality enhancement drives from youngsters continue Tamil cinema is bound to flourish.

It’s now time for the next roller-coaster ride to begin. And the film buff is waiting …