2019 in review

For Tamil cinema, 2019 was a great year

Fans of Rajinikanth pouring milk over a cut-out of the star on the release of his new movie Petta in Chennai

Fans of Rajinikanth pouring milk over a cut-out of the star on the release of his new movie Petta in Chennai   | Photo Credit: R. Ragu

With close to 200 movies released, audiences are back in theatres, but major film industry bodies have remained in turmoil

This year has been a great for Tamil cinema, as four movies – Petta, Viswasam, Asuran and Bigil – were declared major blockbusters, bringing the audiences back to theatres.

The year also saw many experimental films such as Super Deluxe, which starred Vijay Sethupathi, and smaller films such as V.J. Gopinath’s Jiivi, Barath Neelakantan’s K 13, Vivek Elangovan’s Vellaipookal, Ashwin Saravanan’s Game Over and R. Partheban’s Otha Seruppu 7 which received critical acclaim. The industry also witnessed the return of the successful Kanchana franchise and sequels to Kazhugu and Vennila Kabadi Kuzhu.

With the number of movies released close to the 200 mark once again, the film industry, which has often complained about lack of release ‘windows’, warmed up to the idea of ‘no solo’ releases. The trend was definitely set by Ajith Kumar’s Viswasam that went head-to-head with Rajinikanth’s Petta on Pongal, while the year ended with actor Karthi’s Kaithi clashing with actor Vijay’s Bigil on Deepavali day – both movies performed well at the box office.

The year has seen a lot of turmoil too. The two main industry bodies – Nadigar Sangam and Tamil Film Producers Council – have seen a lot of churning.

After their much publicised victory in 2015, all eyes were on the Pandavar Ani this year led by Actors Nasser and Vishal as they took on Swami Sankaradas Ani led by Bhagyaraj and Ishari Ganesh at the elections this year. Caught in a legal wrangle, the results of the elections are yet to be declared and the Sangam in November, was taken charge of by a special officer after complaints of administrative mismanagement surfaced.

The State Government also appointed a ‘Special Officer’ to manage the affairs of Tamil Film Producers Council, which was earlier helmed by actor Vishal Krishna. The actor faces issues of misappropriation of funds.

The businessmen in Tamil cinema – producers, financiers – have started to make noises about exorbitant salaries paid to the top stars in the industry. Representations by theatre owners from the west zone of the State have recommended that top stars in the industry be held responsible if their films fail to perform at the box office. Calling for better cooperation between producers, distributors and stars, the theatre owners have said that in the coming year, they hope that stars will either give producers an additional call sheet or take a pay cut if the producers or distributors make a loss.

As several films, both big and small, had quick releases on OTT platforms either during or after their theatrical run, this has become bone of contention for theatre owners. While the rationale behind the move to take the films quickly to OTT platforms is to combat piracy, theatre owners have said that there should be a sizeable gap between the time of release in theatres and its online release so that there are no overlaps.

The year also saw continuation of films helmed by women – Airaa, Kolamaavu Kokila, Jackpot, Aadai and Magalir Mattum, among the films -- a trend that will continue into the next year as well with several films such as Adho Andha Paravai Pola with Amala Paul and Raangi with Trisha in the making.

Films made without major stars but scoring on content – Sillu Karupatti to K.D, House Owner and Irandam Ulagaporin Kadaisi Gundu came in for much appreciation.

The industry is hoping that 2020 begins with a bang and all eyes are on Superstar Rajinikanth’s Darbar, set for a release on January 9.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 11:04:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/for-tamil-cinema-2019-was-a-great-year/article30442516.ece

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