REWIND: The Films of 2010

Last year, there were 195 films vied for public acceptance including 50 films dubbed from various languages including Italian. Though the number of releases is high, those accepted by the public unanimously film are abysmally low.

Almost all the top ten super stars had a release in 2010 and most of them failed to ring the box office. For a change many films last year were known by their directors or banners or even the marketers.

In January, every one thought 2010 is going to be great year when the spoof on Tamil cinema ‘Thamizh Padam’ created flutters around. ‘Thamizh Padam’ introduced a brand new genre to Tamil audience and its super success raised a lot of hopes. But at the same time the much expected films ‘Aayirathil Oruvan’ and ‘Goa’ deflated the character a bit.

There was a nightmare when the unedited version of Sarath Kumar’s ‘Jaggubhai’ was uploaded on internet even before the film was released. Panicked industry held urgent meetings to plug the holes for the future but life was the same after.

February began as a shocker when the hugely budgeted Sivaji Film’s ‘Aasal’ failed to create ripples. Even the Sun Pictures promoted ‘Theeradha Vilaiyattu Pillai’ became a step child to the fans. When the morale was sagging, the candy floss romance ‘Vinnaithandi Varuvaya’ redeemed some faith. By this time the small films that were waiting for the sun shine started gate crashing on Fridays. As most of them were by passionate first timers they had off beat style. They all had robust themes but lacked the star power or promotions to take initials. In the battle some honest films like Porkkalam, Aval Peyar Thamizharasi, Mathi Yosi and Mundhinam Partheney suffered.

March again said all is not lost. A small film with a very powerful content dared and won. ‘Ayngaran produced ‘Angadi Theru’ created a sensation in spite of not having any notable crowd puller. The undisputed success of ‘Angadi Theru’ infused new life and ‘Paiyaa’ in April made everyone think its revival time. ‘Paiyaa’ was the first Tamil modern road movie and it was fresh and relieving thanks to its cool music and cinematography.

‘Paiyaa’ strode April like a colossus and all May new releases were held back fearing the bite of ‘Sura’ which released on April 30. But this Sura’s teeth were found to be blunt to the core as early as the second day. Again a flurry of releases happened and they changed nothing. But for the moderately successful cowboy comedy ‘Irumbukottai Murattu Singam’ the summer 2010 was bitingly cold for Tamil film industry.

The next glimmer came in June and what a sparkle that was. Backed by boundless promotions from Sun Pictures, the spicy masala cop story ‘Singam’ became the first run away hit of the year in both the multiplexes and single screens. Then again a tornado was expected in ‘Raavanan’ but the tornado came and went giving the second distress call after ‘Sura’. No big stars, no big director, no great music could save ‘Raavanan’. In the mêlée a brave new wave film ‘Orr Iravu’ also lost its deserved recognition.

Those who feared ‘Raavanan’ were relieved and they were mostly budget film makers. There was again a gush of new releases and quality mattered. Only ‘Kalavani’ that had worthy content succeeded. The period film ‘Madraspattinam’ managed to photo finish at the box office while Shankar’s home production ‘Ananthapurathu Veedu’ got no visitors.

By July, the industry and the people were taken over by ‘Endhiran’ mania. Gripping fear to challenge the mighty ‘Endhiran’ held back many indoors. As the ‘Endhiran’ release was anybody’s guess there was deafening calm in the months of July, August and September. Everybody was at back foot except a few daring souls who followed ‘Endhiran’ very closely.

When the ‘Endhiran’ date was speculated right ‘Thillalangadi’, ‘Baana Kaathadi’, ‘Vamsam’ and ‘Naan Mahaan Alla’ from influential banners tried to make use of the little time they had but couldn’t make waves as they would have made on a normal season. Yet some of them released advertisements completing 100 days of run.

Another interesting film to release during this pandemonium was ‘Sindhu Samaveli’ which scratched the self styled moral police and the publicity created saw the film through. Another true winner of the year ‘Boss Engira Baskaran’ released just a few weeks before ‘Endhiran’ and endured the ‘Endhiran’ Tsunami that struck on October 1. In many places ‘Boss Engira Baskaran’ returned to theatres after ‘Endhiran’ storm was over.

But the monumental movie of the year ‘Endhiran’ is a case study for researching contemporary Indian cinema. There was no film ever in history that stimulated the minds of pan Indian audiences as much like ‘Endhiran’ before.

When the film was finally released on October 1, the entire nation stood up and watched ‘Endhiran’ in awe. Apart from palabhishekams by fans in his home town, ‘Endhiran’ saw even celebrities swooning for the first glance of the film. There was no single release in the weeks before and after ‘Endhiran’. That was the ‘Endhiran’ impact. Until Diwali the whole state was under nickel spell of the robot.

On Diwali the scattered all regrouped. Three films all with some sort of expectations built around them released. Mynaa, Va-Quarter Cutting and Uthamaputhiran. Among these one was average another was a wash out. The remaining ‘Mynaa’ was a harbinger of hope. The low budget ‘Mynaa’ with remarkable screen play made great business apart from winning critical laurels. Thanks to the foresightedness of Red Giant Movies that appreciatively adopted the movie. There was also ‘Nandalala’ by Mysskin at the end of the year. A great artistic film for all reasons, ‘Nandalala’ is undoubtedly the movie of the year.

When the year was closing there was a final charge in December. The gruesome ‘Raththacharithiram’ was rejected outright, ‘Chikku Bhukku’ is not on fast track. ‘Easan’ and ‘Manmadhan Ambu’ were the final sparkles of 2010.

In 2010 the Tamil film industry learnt many new lessons. Even the audiences were exposed to wonderful variety. But when they came together it did not give the aspired results. Success was unpredictable as ever. If ‘Endhiran’ was at one side basking in all the glory there was another deserving film ‘Thaa’ went unnoticed. If ‘Aasal’ and ‘Sura’ failed to rise to the occasion there was ‘Kalavani’ and ‘Mynaa’ that spiritedly held heads high.

Life is all about constantly learning and with the lessons learnt this year lets hope for a great 2011 to Kollywood.

Top 5 Movies of 2010

1. Angadi Theru
2. Endhiran
3. Kalavani
4. Mynaa
5. Nandhalala

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