Tamil cinema has brought new language into Indian scenario: Anurag Kashyap
If you want to get a global audience, tell them a local story - this is what film-maker Anurag Kashyap describes as one of the secrets behind his movies, a sentiment that would find resonance with many Tamil film-makers of today.
There is another secret that he revealed at a panel discussion held as part of the 9th Chennai International Film Festival, presented by The Hindu and Akshaya, on Tuesday. “I breathe Tamil cinema. If there is a new language that has come into the world of Indian cinema, it is because of Tamil cinema,” said the director of many movies, including ‘Dev D' and ‘Gulaal,' confessing his admiration for the ‘rooted' kind of films made here.
“There is no localised content in Hindi movies now, and they are made keeping a variety of audiences in mind. Many are not honest to their stories.”
Film-maker Vetrimaaran was in agreement. He noted that the admirable performance of movies such as ‘Aadukalam,' ‘Aaranya Kaandam,' ‘Maidanam' and ‘Deiva Thirumagal' both commercially and in the film festival circuit this year, was proof of the Tamil mainstream audience's willingness to accept realistic movies.
The discussion on popular Tamil cinema also dwelt on the direction of the challenges it faced. Pirated DVDs, globalisation and Torrent shows have not only changed the way people watch movies but also how they are made, the panel members said.
“After globalisation, there is tremendous pressure on the film-maker to make something which the viewer, who is also under pressure, likes. Earlier, it was fine to make paced out movies, not now,” said Mr. Vetrimaaran, whose film ‘Aadukalam' won six national awards this year.
The movement towards realistic cinema might have begun with ‘Kaadhal' in 2003 and by 2007, many script writers had moved in this direction, thus coming up with ventures like ‘Paruthiveeran' and ‘Subramaniapuram.' “There is nothing right or wrong in cinema. It is about how you tell your story,” said Alphonse Roy, who moderated the discussion.
Speaking about the key decisions film-makers had to make, Mr. Kashyap said that while casting depended a lot on the budget, shooting was majorly instinctive. “It is like taking a camera and probing into what people are trying to hide to get the best sub culture that suits your script,” he said.
“Also, if the actor looks the character, fifty per cent of your work is done,” said Mr. Vetrimaaran.
Film-maker Thiagarajan Kumararaja spoke about the importance of shooting in outdoor locations. “I am not used to shooting in sets completely. But I chose a specific architecture in Royapuram and cleared the streets while shooting to focus on it. And, I also had to make sure that there was no claim to denote that this scene happened at a particular place at a certain time to help everybody relate to it, without involving time barriers.”
The audience too had a lot to say on the subject.
While one of them questioned the idea that popular cinema was path-breaking considering the massive amount of plagiarism, another producer took on the reluctance of film-makers to sell their movies to international investors, despite a movie like ‘Engeyum Eppothum,' co-produced by Fox Star Studios, doing well.
“As long as there is Tamil Nadu in Tamil cinema, it won't fail, said Mr. Kashyap.
“The movies made here have made me go back to my roots, but nobody has shown Banaras, better than ‘Naan Kadavul',” said the film director, who hails from Varanasi. Film-makers M.R. Dharani and Balaji Sakthivel also participated in the discussion.