with K S Sivakumaran
most Tamil films fall short of appreciation
As an ardent fan of world cinema I also love to see
films made in my mother tongue which is Tamil
(pronounced Thamil). But I don't seem to like most of
the Tamil films made in Kollywood (that is Chennai in
Tamilnadu in India). Why is it? It is primarily
because, I think, all due to my class, race, gender,
taste and the knowledge and experience I have gained
over the years seeing good quality international
films. Well, that is my private business. But the
reality is that more than 50 % of the people in Lanka
(that includes non-Tamilians) enjoy seeing Tamil and
Hindi films according to cricketer Muttiah
Muralidharan. He is right. Therefore my tastes and
comments matter less
However, as a film critic I have a duty to educate and
help improve the tastes of the uninitiated to
appreciate the finer elements in a film rather than be
contented with stock ingredients.
It's not only me,
there several excellent film critics in Tamilnadu
itself writing film criticism in Tamil and English
pinpointing the pitfalls in filmmaking. But they are
helpless too. Why, because film business is primarily
an industry and then comes art. This is not peculiar
to Southern India alone but extends to Bollywood
(Mumbai), Hollywood (U.S.) Tollywood (Hyderabad) and
other parts of the world greatly influenced by the
popular American cinema.
And each country or
region caters to its indigenous population taking into
consideration its own culture and the level of
standard of education and intelligence. The barometre
several international film festivals in India, I can
vouch that lot of ordinary Japanese and French people
like the colossal extravaganza of Rajani Kanth acted
films and Bollywood stars. Raj Kapoor was tremendously
popular in the then USSR.
If that is so why
cannot I enjoy poorly made and stupid films in Tamil?
This is because as I said earlier governed by my
sensibilities and tastes and preferences.
I think it is better to put it straight what I don't
like in Indian Tamil Cinema as distinguished from
Tamil cinema from other countries.
a) I dislike: the kind
of violence displayed on the screen- blood splashing
and oozing, killing by carving knives, human
slaughter, and maschete etcetera
b) too many flashbacks
and dream fantasies thus interrupting the tempo of the
film that are unrealistic
c) idiotic comic
scenes and distasteful humour. There is one particular
actor who shouts
d) unrealistic fights
and fisticuffs - one man fighting alone and
e) the impolite spoken
language uttered by characters of low upbringing and
the different dialects characteristic to the regions
spread out in Tamilnadu. The difficulty here is due to
the actors speaking fast and not clearly enunciated.
f) indiscriminate use
of wrongly pronounced English words even by characters
who do not know English
g) unrealistic plots
even though the themes of the stories are welcome
One might ask whether
there are no positive features in Tamil films. Why
not? There are many in recent Tamil films. That is to
be told on another occasion.
In the meantime, I must say I liked very much two
Tamil films last week for their bold presentation of
They were Kanagavel
Kaaka Kaaka and Kuttap Piravi. Those who care for true
Justice and Law Enforcement from all classes of
audience would appreciate these two films. Even
non-Tamilians would be able to follow the story.
Please judge these films in your own terms. Mine may
There are four more
films I saw during the fortnight: Kites (Hindi with
English and Spanish dialogues), Alice in Wonderland
(Lewis Carol's) (English) and animated English film.
Title: something like - 'ever after'. And of course a
Sinhala film that may be translated as 'Fragrance of
All these films are
entertaining in parts. But quality falls short of my
middle class yardsticks. Enjoy.