Why 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
A scene from ‘Kite’
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 is entertainment.
Having attended 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
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
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
In the meantime, I must say I liked very much two Tamil films last
week for their bold presentation of the content.
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 be
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 Love'
All these films are entertaining in parts. But quality falls short of
my middle class yardsticks. Enjoy.