The biggies of 2006



2006 is going to be another good year for Kollywood, reports SREEDHAR PILLAI

Last year saw a boom in Tamil cinema, which went global and also made deep inroads into Andhra Pradesh and Kerala, besides the multiplexes in Mumbai and Delhi. Robust growth in box-office returns made 2005 the best year for the dream merchants of Kollywood. There has also been a shift in content as more city-based films were rolled out to suit the taste of urban audiences. The message was loud and clear - Tamil commercial cinema has a huge audience outside the State, provided it is made to suit their sensibilities. By the end of 2005, Chennai city, the smallest film territory in Tamil Nadu, emerged big in terms of box-office collections, as big as Madurai or Tiruchi territory. An "Anniyan" or "Ghajini" made more money in Chennai than in these territories. And what clicked in Chennai worked in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and abroad. In simple terms, the traditional B and C class audiences of Madurai and Tiruchi hardly mattered, as films made for them were not suitable for the outside market. So, the format, content, dialogue and presentation are undergoing a vast change.Welcome to the new age of Tamil cinema, which is all set for more changes in 2006. Today, top film directors have employed bright young assistants, who understand the nuances of modern filmmaking. The idea is that these script doctors can gauge the taste and sensibility of a global audience and guide these films to hit the box-office bull's eye. Let us take a look at some of the biggest movies for 2006: "Sivaji" Cast: Rajnikanth, Prakash Raj, Vivek, ShriyaDirector: ShankarIt is AVM's mega movie that has brought Rajnikanth and Shankar together for the first time. Shankar's "Anniyan" grossed the highest collection outside the State. It is a win-win situation, as Rajnikanth will be a big draw at the Tamil Nadu box-office (B and C included), which accounts for 65 per cent of the total business, while the Shankar-A. R. Rahman combination will ensure the other 35 per cent of the global audience. The storyline of "Sivaji" is a closely guarded secret but is said to be city-centric. It promises to provide racy entertainment and the trade buzz is that it will create a new benchmark in rights sales (theatrical, audio, satellite, DVD, etc). "Vetayadu Vilayadu" Cast: Kamal Hassan, Sri Hari, Jyothika, Kamalinee MukherjeeDirector: Gautham MenonKamal Hassan is trying to reinvent himself as an action hero in this film directed by Gautham Menon. Kamal plays a cop, a la Dirty Harry who uses unusual methods in this edge-of-the-seat thriller. It promises to be packaged brilliantly with peppy music by Harris Jayaraj and technical gizmos. "Puthupet" Cast: Dhanush, Sneha, Sonia AgarwalDirector: Selvaraghavan Selvaraghavan takes a look at Chennai's mean streets and chronicles the life and times of a small time gangster, `Kokki' Kumar. The tagline says it all: "Survival of the fittest." Selva is trying to make a Quentin Tarantino style dark and foreboding gangster drama with Yuvan Shankar Raja's innovative music and background score. For Selva, it is an important film as he is trying to resurrect the career of his brother Dhanush. "Vallavan" Cast: Silambarasan, Nayantara, Reema Sen, SandhyaDirector: SilambarasanAfter ghost directing "Manmadhan," Silambarasan is back as writer-director with "Vallavan", this time in the company of three beautiful ladies. It is a high school murder mystery with rollicking music by Yuvan Shankar Raja. This film is packaged to appeal to the youth who'll enjoy Simbu's dialogue, glamour and slick presentation. "Jillendru Oru Kadhal" Cast: Suriya, Jyothika, Bhumika ChawlaDirector: KrishnaSuriya this time appears in a triangular love story with a twist and a riveting climax. Krishna, who's making his directorial debut, has packaged the film with A. R. Rahman's music and a chic presentation. In the discussion stage are Vikram's actioner "Bheema" directed by Lingusamy, Vijay's new film to be directed by Perarasu and other interesting projects

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