Kollywood 2011: The Good The Bad The Ugly

Posted in Cinema, Tamil by Suganth on December 31, 2011

Tracking the highs and lows of the Tamil film industry during 2011

2011 was largely a good year for Kollywood in terms of awards and recognition, though the number of releases dipped marginally (142 against 149 in 2010). While collection figures of films remain shrouded in a cloud of secrecy due to reluctance on the part of producers and actors to reveal the exact figures, trade sources opine that the box office revenue too is below 2010’s figures. Here’s a lowdown on K-Town’s conquests and controversies this year…

The Good
Tamil films never had it so good when it came to recognition — the record haul of 12 National Awards certainly ranks as the year’s peak. Not only that, internationally, Tamil films grew in stature thanks to younger crop of filmmakers like Vetri Maaran, Sarkunam, Myskkin and Sussenthiran who are coming up with films that are local in their content but global in terms of cinematic language. Not surprisingly many of these films are being screened at global film fests; Thiagarajan Kumararaja’s Aaranya Kaandam even won at the South Asian International Film Festival. 2011 was also the year when Kollywood finally woke up to the potential of the Internet and started dabbling in viral marketing. While Kolaveri Di… is clearly the face of this new, net savvy Kollywood, the ground work began with the trend of releasing singles and shooting promo videos. Many Kollywood stars joined the social network bandwagon, promoting their films with a vengeance while also opening a door for interacting with their fans. This year, the industry also discovered a new channel for revenue, thanks to the sudden craze for south-based content in Bollywood. Remake rights of Tamil films, which were earlier sold off at a pittance, now cost crores, bringing good cheer for producers.

The Bad
The Superstar’s health was the biggest scare for Kollywood this year. While he has reportedly now returned to normalcy, the postponement of Rana (which he is compensating by making the motion-capture movie Kochadaiyan) is certainly a cause for concern. In addition to a not-so-great performance at the BO, the industry suffered a double blow when the government decided to increase the entertainment tax. While the movie-going public was spared this burden (ticket rates remained the same), the move was certainly bad news for theatre owners who were already reeling under diminished footfalls. And finally, as is the case in every year, this year too, many films suffered due to the lack of proper release schedules. Around 55 films that were censored between January and November 2011 are still lying in the cans. The reasons range from lack of buyers to issues between the crew to lack of adequate number of screens.

The Ugly
The Sona-S P Charan episode certainly ranks as Kollywood’s lowest point this year. The truth behind the happenings at that ill-fated party will forever elude us, but it certainly showed the industry’s ugly underbelly. Closely rivaling the incident is the increasing control that fringe political outfits have begun to exert on the industry. From threatening artists to protesting against films and disrupting shoots, these activists seemed to have only agenda — gaining publicity at the cost of the films. The lack of unity between the various industry associations only made their task easier. And finally (though it might seem trifle), from taking plots and tunes, the plagiarism has now spread even to film posters, which only shows Kollywood’s utter disregard for creative integrity.

Pics: K S Prakaash (for Sona, Rajinikanth and S P Charan)

Copyright ©2011 Chennai Times

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