He has made only five films in 12 years. His fifth film is releasing this Friday and Bala is on top, composed and waiting for ‘Avan Ivan’ to do the talking. No head over heels promotions or masquerading invitations. This has been his attitude before a release for the past one decade.
‘Avan Ivan’ which was launched as a humorous quickie changed colour while in the making and is now hitting the screens as a regular Bala film – hard hitting and real. Bala knows his film will have its audience like the way it has been before.
From Sethu (1999) which the distributors refused to touch initially to the latest Avan Ivan (2011) which has the entire world involuntarily falling for it, the journey has been a miraculous one for this director who left Madurai in search of a dream in film world.
Bala assisted Balu Mahendra for seven years before he came into his own with ‘Sethu.’ Balu Mahendra taught him the language of films but Bala wrote his stories in his idioms. If Balu Mahendra is known for aesthetic films, Bala is known for his trademark dark films.
Within the few films Bala has made a style unto him and is constantly bulldozing many a popular beliefs in new popular cinema. All the films of Bala so far has a uniqueness that of analysis of human existence. Perhaps Bala is the only director who strayed away from beaten track mainstream so regularly and has succeeded successively.
All his films have strong inner lining elements such as cynical heroes, stark lighting effects, difficult plots, and an underlying existentialism.
This kind of genus can usually be found only in the Hollywood war crime dramas. Making this genre succeed in social milieu is something astonishing. Bala deserves praise even above Hollywood for this act.
‘Sethu,’ ‘Nandha,’ ‘Pithamagan’ and ‘Naan Kadavul,’ were all explorations of dark human minds and the analysis of human choices. Bala chooses the dark side of human beings and travels deep into them emotionally. This emotional and non-analytical journey into the minds of his protagonists has taken Bala through roads less travelled which ultimately reaches the destination of cult bliss. The National Award he won for ‘Naan Kadavul’ is just a wayside gift.
Bala’s love for dark films is conscious you can say. He always reiterates that his stories come from the society he lives in and the incidents and people he interacted in his life. He has an inspiration from real life for all his films so far.
Another salient feature in Bala’s films is his strong characterization and revealing hitherto unknown histrionics of his actors. All the heroes of Bala went on to become super heroes after their films with him. All the actors reinvented themselves after doing films under Bala.
After Sethu, Vikram became someone who can play any role and command a price tag in crores. Vikram owes a lot to Bala for his position today including his National Award won
for ‘Pithamagan.’ Similarly Suriya was recognized as an actor of quality only after playing the neglected son in ‘Nandha’ and the much talkative street smart in ‘Pithamagan.’ Suriya had to wait for four years and seven films to be embraced by the industry and fans.
It is only after ‘Naan Kadavul,’ Arya was finally accepted as an actor who has a future. ‘Boss Engira Baskaran’ and ‘Madarasapattinam’ happened to Arya only because of Bala who changed the face of Arya with ‘Naan Kadavul.’
Similarly Vishal can be sure to reinvent himself and get into that serious league of real actors. Bala always says that he would strive to raise the stature of anybody who chooses to work with him by at least four times. This is the reason for his heroes becoming super heroes.
Now that Avan Ivan is releasing on June 17, expectations are high. Bala wanted to make this film in just six months to condemn his detractors who always blamed him for taking years to complete a film. But Bala is a perfectionist and the quality has its own courses of actions. Even then, the film which was announced in January 2010 is ready for release in June 2011. This is a gross leap when compared to ‘Naan Kadavul’ which took three years to complete.
‘Avan Ivan’ is a comedy drama in Bala’s genre and whatever you’ve heard so far about the film is very encouraging. The trailer itself created a buzz not just in the state but all over the world.
The film is about two thieves in a village and revolves around their families. Vishal is keen to tell the world he is one of the best. Arya hopes to consolidate his new found stardom.
The simple, unassuming Bala will succeed yet again. His uncompromising dedication even under demanding conditions and scathing criticism is his strength and it will again be on display this Friday.
Avan, Ivan ellaame Balathaan!