A wild ride with its ups and downs

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | ANUPAMA SUBRAMANIAN
Published Dec 31, 2018, 12:17 am IST
Updated Dec 31, 2018, 12:17 am IST
Unheard in the history of Tamil cinema, about 27 films were released in the single month of August.
Ghajinikanth
 Ghajinikanth

2018 was an eventful year for Kollywood in terms of business. Yes, for the first time in the history of Tamil cinema, K’town movies have grossed more than Rs 1000 crores at the box-office and flicks of two big stars Rajinikanth (2.O) and Vijay (Sarkar) alone constituted a major chunk of this. We take a look at the momentous events of this year.

Highest number of film releases in August

 

Unheard in the history of Tamil cinema, about 27 films were released in the single month of August. These include Enga Kaatula Mazhai, Ghajinikanth, Pyaar Prema Kadhal, Vishwaroopam 2, Kolamaavu Kokila, Imaikka Nodigal, 60 Vayadhu Maaniram, Lakshmi among others.

Content over star power

It was a year when content dominated more than the star pull. Barring Kadaikutty Singam, which had Karthi in the lead, other films like Pariyerum Perumal, Raatchasan, Pyaar Prema Kadhal made it to box office for their strong and impactful content, despite piracy threat.

Biggies like 2.O, Sarkar, multi-starrer Chekka Chivantha Vaanam, 96, were hits for different reasons. Highly anticipated films like Vishwaroopam 2, Seemaraja, Saamy 2, Junga, Vada Chennai, Sandakozhi 2 were average performers.

Maximum number of sequels made

Eight sequels were released during the year including 2.O, Saamy 2, Maari 2, Sandakozhi 2, Vishwaroopam 2, Kalakalappu 2, Goli Soda 2, Tamizh Padam2, only 2.O, Kalakalppu 2 and Tamizh Padam. Out of this, reports suggest only 2.O, Kalakalappu 2 and Tamizh Padam could make it to box office and others did not create a buzz.

I hold the rights for my songs: Ilayaraja

Maestro Ilayaraja was in the thick of controversy over copyright and royalty issue. He made an announcement recently saying anyone who wishes to sing and perform his songs on stage without prior intimation, are liable for legal action. “I hold the rights for all my songs. Since I am no more a member of IPRS (Indian Performing Right Society), the royalty that I get from singers and others who use my songs will go to 'Cine Musicians Union'.”

However, this did not go well with several producers, as they were not willing to buy Raja’s claim. A group of producers  approached Madras High Court and filed a civil suit seeking rights to get 50% of royalty from Ilayaraja claiming that they are the actual producers of the films. The final verdict is yet to be given.

181 Tamil films released

2018 saw less number of film releases compared to last year. A total of 181 straight Tamil movies hit the marquee in this year, where as the number was a little over 200.   The reason could be due to the strike announced by TFPC in the months of March and April, which lasted for 40 days.

Silent Protest by Nadigar Sangam

Nadigar Sangam brought who’s who of the Tamil film industry including Rajini, Kamal Haasan, Vijay, Chiyaan Vikram, Suriya, Vijay Sethupathi, Dhanush, Sivakarthikeyan under one roof in April for a silent stir in support of the two most burning issues faced by TN, constitution of a Cauvery Management Board and to shut down the controversial Sterilite copper smelting plant in Thoothukudi.

Tamil Film Producers Council Ruckus

Few days back, in a shocking turn of events, a faction of film producers protested in front of TFPC offices against the association’s head Vishal accusing him of mismanagement of funds and running the council for his own gains.

They demanded his resignation. They also locked the TFPC offices and took the key with them. Subsequently when Vishal tried to break the lock, he was detained by the police and let out in the evening.

Later, Vishal’s rivals including T.Siva, Suresh Kamatchi, S.Ve. Shekar, Alagappan, K.Rajan under Bharathiraja’s guidance met Chief Minister Edappadi Palanisamy at Secretariat and submitted a memorandum with their grievances and problems plaguing TFPC.

Popular actors migrating to online platforms

Earlier, big artistes hesitate to step into online platforms to be part of web series, But this year we saw National award winner Bobby Simha, Ramya Krishanan, Ashwin, Sunaina, Pooja Devariya and AR Rahman ventured into web series.

Biopics were the order of the day

After Mahanati (Nadigaiyar Thilagam), the biopic on late legendary actress Savithri turned out to be a blockbuster, there seemed to be a fad for making biopics among Tamil filmmakers. In the last few months time, four filmmakers including Bharathiraja, Priyadaarshini and Vijay announced that they are making the biopic of J.Jayalalithaa. While Priyadaarshini announced that Nithya Menen would be essaying the legendary Amma, it is learnt Gautham Vasudev Menon is also into making a biopic of JJ which apparently has Ramya Krishnan playing the lead protagonist. Filmaker Balakrishnan, known for making biopics is in the completion of his biopic on iconic actor turned politician MGR. Veteran director Rajeshwar has announced a biopic of late singer/comedian Chandra Babu. Both Pa Ranjith and Gopi Nainar of Aramm fame are working on the biopic of Birsa Munda, tribal leader from Bihar who fought the British.

Sri Leaks and MeToo campaign

Small time actress Sri Reddy from Tollywood hit the headlines after she made scathing remarks on T’town and K’town personalities (Tamil Leaks) and accused several actors from Tamil industry of sexual exploitation. After creating a huge buzz, finally she bagged a Tamil film Reddy Diary, produced by Chithirai Selvan.
After #MeToo campaign where thousands of women spoke out on social media about being sexually harassed by powerful men, in the wake of the allegations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, a woman accused ace Tamil lyricist and writer Vairamuthu of sexual harassment which was messaged to journalist Sandhaya Menon. Later, noted voice artist and playback singer Chimayi Sripaada came in support of the anonymous lady and added her own charge against Vairamuthu. And her tussle over the issue continues even as the dubbing artistes’ union has struck her name off its roles.

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