With 2015 coming to an end, it is time we take a look at the hits and misses, highs and lows and new trends of Tamil film industry. The number of Tamil film releases touched 204 this year, which was only nine short of last year.
Veteran film historian Film News Anandhan says it should have been more, but due to recent floods in Tamil Nadu nearly 12 films, which were announced for release in December, got postponed to next year. Digital filmmaking, which is becoming a universal phenomenon, has also caught up with Tamil industry, which has shifted from film format to digital technology. The industry also witnessed several long drawn controversies. From the showdown in Nadigar Sangam to title controversies to reported remarks of Kamal Haasan on State government to ultimate `Beep’ Song controversy by Simbu, the year saw many dramatic events.
2015 was a special year for Kamal Haasan and he had three big releases, which he used to do in 1980s. He started off the year with the release of Uthama Villain. After getting into financial mess, the movie, which had a delayed release, failed to make cash registers ringing. But his subsequent release Papanasam, a remake of M’town hit Drishyam which besides garnering critical acclaim for his performance also was a BO hit. The year ended with Thoongavanam, an official remake of the French film Sleepless Night, which received rave reviews.
A reported remark questioning the government on December rains did evoke a strong retort from the state government. He clarified his stand asserting that his statement was misunderstood.
Lingaa’s problems continued during the early part of this year with distributors protesting and staging demos against the superstar, which later got sorted out to a great extent. Not confining to his shell, Rajini is back with Kabali, a gangster flick with two films old Pa. Ranjith and produced by Thaanu, which is almost complete. Towards the year-end, he announced the sequel of Enthiran 2, which has been titled 2.O with Shankar, which is supposed to be India’s costliest movie ever made.
The non-stop rain in Chennai and its suburbs left not only the roads flooded but also most of the theatres showing films like Vedalam, Thoongavanam, Uppu Karuvadu, Inji Iduppazhagi and 144. Shows were cancelled, theatres were shut down on Dec 2 and 3.
Many young musicians including Hip Hop Tamizha, Ghibran, Santhosh Narayanan and Leon James made their mark in their films. Isai Gnani Ilayaraja released his milestone 1000th musical Thaarai Thappatai directed by Bala. The year also saw him being conferred the Lifetime Achievement Award at the International Film Festival in Goa. Despite his share of troubles over the Beep Song, Anirudh had a good year with chartbusting albums like Naanum Rowdy Thaan and Vedalam.
For A. R. Rahman, besides his great music for O Kadhal Kanmani, 2015 will be remembered for a ‘Fatwa’ issued by a Muslim group Raza Academy against him composing music for an Iranian movie Muhammad: Messenger of God.
SEQUELS IN OFFING
Sequels were also the flavor of Tamil cinema this year. After Kanchana 2 hit big time, several sequels have been announced and some of them are ready for release.
Many artistes entered into marital bliss this year. Mithra Kurien married her beau William Francis, actress Bhanu married Rinku Tomy, Saranya Mohan tied knot with Arvindh Krishnan, Ganesh Venkatraman married TV anchor and actress Nisha Krishnan, actor Aari wedded Nadhiya, actor Shanthanu and TV anchor Keerthi got united in life, Vidharth with Gayathri, actress Monica aka Rahima with Malik, Arulnithi wedded Keerthana, Sandhya married Venkat Chandra shekar and Vijaya lakshmi with Feroz.
All was not well with Vijay this year. His big-budget fantasy magnum opus Puli that also marked the return of yesteryear actress Sri Devi to Tamil cinema after a gap, bombed at the box office.
One of the biggest grossers of 2015 was Ajith’s Vedalam, which hit the screens during Deepavali. He had one more release Yeannai Arindhaal, which garnered good reviews.
It was a twin disaster for Vikram. His much-publicised film I in Shankar’s direction failed to create a buzz at box-office although the actor’s mammoth efforts were lauded.
Yet another flick 10 Endrathukulla with Vijay Milton also faced the same fate.
REEL TO REAL HEROISM
Reel heroes turned real heroes in the flood hit Tamil Nadu. Several actors of Tamil film industry joined hands to pull Chennai and the rest of Tamil Nadu out of one of its murkiest times. Not only financially contributing, they were also physically on the field braving the foul and bad weather involved in rescue and relief measures for the flood victims.
THE BIG BATTLE
The elections to Nadigar Sangam that encompasses more than 3000 odd members in October were one of the most talked about events of Tamil cinema. This year’s elections to SIAA was packed with hate speeches, in fighting and even minor scuffles making the elections a very interesting affair. And Vishal’s team made a clean sweep.
BAAHUBALI SETS A NEW BENCHMARK
Top Telugu filmmaker S. S. Rajamouli’s multi-lingual war epic Baahubali starring Prabhas, Anushka, Rana, Tamannah was the biggest grosser of all times.
Despite getting into several controversies, Nayanthara manages to stay on top in Tamil industry for the last few years. With back-to-back three hits, namely Thani Oruvan, Maya and Naanum Rowdy Dhaan, Nayan proved that she is still the numero-uno in K’town.
Though his acting venture Masss did not run as expected, Suriya as a producer had a good year. He started his own banner 2D Entertainment and made two films 36 Vayadhinile, which marked the return of his wife and actress Jyothika, released in midyear and Pasanga 2 during the year-end. While 36 Vayadhinile was a big hit, Pasanga 2 is running successfully in the theaters.
Silambarasan Rajender hit the headlines with his reportedly leaked ‘Beep’ Song when the city was reeling under heavy rain and deluge. Apparently, an independent album named ‘Beep’ song by Simbu and said to be composed by Anirudh, spread on social networking sites and was the talk of the town for its liberal use of cuss words damaging women.
As an actor he had three releases Anegan, Maari and Thanga Magan. Although the national award winner’s acting prowess was well appreciated, all the flicks were average grossers. But as a producer, he won laurels and also made it big at BO collections. Both Kakka Muttai and Naanum Rowdy Thaan were huge hits and Visaaranai directed by Vetri Maaran is already making huge noise for its offbeat theme and being premiered at Venice Film Festival and also bagged an award.
HORROR GENRE ORDER OF THE DAY
After Kanchana 2 and G.V. Prakash’s Darling, which were big hits, it was horror fever that caught up with the Kolly makers. But all were not successful. De monte Colony and Maya were declared hits. Suriya’s Masss and Pa. Vijay’s Strawberry did not fare well.
One can say the year clearly belonged to Jayam Ravi with hat-trick hits. Romeo Juliet, Thani Oruvan and Bhooloham, the last in the list hitting the screens in the fag end of the year and all have been declared super hits.
The film world lost legendary music composer M. S. Viswanathan who passed away in June. Later in October, veteran actress and Guinness World Record holder Manorama died. Theatre personality and veteran actor V.S. Raghavan passed away in the beginning of the year and Arthi Agarwal died in June. K.S. Gopalakrishnan, R.C. Shakthi and Rama Naidu also passed away this year.
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