SREEDHAR PILLAI

Round-up The year was good for films catering for Chennai’s multiplex audiences and those made on a shoe-string budget, with fresh subjects and faces.

The year 2007 was a landmark for Tamil cinema. A record 105 films were released, with at least a dozen of them turning out profitable for their makers.

The superstars continue to dominate, with Rajnikanth’s ‘Sivaji’ turning out to be the year’s top grosser.

The year was also good for films catering for Chennai’s multiplex audiences and those made on a shoe-string budget, featuring newcomers and dealing with fresh subjects.

Film making and marketing also underwent a sea change as corporates such as Pyramid Saimira brought in a certain degree of professionalism into the industry.

Top five grossers

Here is the list of five top grossers in Tamil, based on their box-office collection worldwide and production cost, as per trade sources.

Sivaji: It couldn’t get bigger than this. The Rajnikant-Shriya starrer, directed by Shankar, is said to be the costliest Tamil film ever made and was sold at a record price to distributors. The film actually opened huge with a record number of screens and highest gross collection of all time.

‘Sivaji’ once again ascertained the fact that Rajnikant is a one-man entertainment troupe who still holds sway over Tamil audiences and new cross-over audiences from the Hindi heartland. Box-office verdict: Super Hit

Pokkiri: The film, released for Pongal 2007, turned out to be Vijay’s biggest hit. Remake of a Telugu film, director Prabhu Deva packaged it in such a way that it suited the taste of Tamil audiences who danced to the hit tunes of Mani Sharma.

The on-screen chemistry between Vijay and Asin was great and the film turned out to be the highest grossing Tamil film in Kerala.

It did extraordinary business across A, B and C stations in Tamil Nadu and also overseas. It established Vijay as the most saleable star after Rajnikant. The trade says it’s the most profitable movie of the year. Box-office verdict: Blockbuster

Paruthiveeran: Hats off to director Ameer for coming out with a path-breaking flick that redefined the genre of village films.

The film, featuring newcomer Karthi, and Priyamani in the lead, on the strength of its powerful script and superb performances did extraordinary business all over Tamil Nadu. It appealed to the classes and the masses alike. Box-office verdict: Blockbuster

Mozhi: A light, breezy entertainer made on a shoe-string budget, ‘Mozhi,’ directed by Radha Mohan, was definitely the film of the year.

It clicked with family audiences in A centres due to its straightforward narration, outstanding performances from its lead actors — Jyothika, Pritviraj, Swarnamalya and above all Prakash Raj — and soul-stirring music by Vidyasagar. The film became a trendsetter as it was able to recover its production cost from Chennai city alone! Box-office verdict: Super Hit

Billa: The film was released at the fag end of the year and a clear picture of how big a hit it is will emerge only next year. Still it deserves to be written about on account of its extraordinary opening worldwide. It has given Ajit his biggest hit in his career. Pyramid Saimira, the negative rights holders of the film, says it collected an amazing Rs. 7.20 crore as distributors share in its first week, the only other film with a better opening being ‘Sivaji!’

Box office verdict: Super Hit