Monday, November 20, 2006

Good vs Bad

As far as Tamil cinema is concerned, 2006 has been the year of the bad guy. This is ofcourse not the first year that we've had movies with rowdies and other assorted baddies as heroes. But as I’ve mentioned in many a review, the films we saw this year were quite different in tone from the films on rowdies and other baddies that we got a few years ago. This time around, the films were darker and grittier and did not romanticize their protagonists’ lives. From paid henchmen to blackmailers, our heroes were painted in broad shades of gray and did not walk around with haloes around their heads.

Considering just the more high-profile among such movies so far this year, we've had 3 hits - Pattiyal, Thalainagaram and Thiruttu Payale - and 2 flops - Pudhuppettai and Vattaaram. I found something common between the 3 hits and something common between the 2 flops.

The 3 hits share the fact that their protagonists do not succeed at the end of the film. They all journey down different paths and are even ready to make changes in their lives. But their sins eventually catch up with them and they meet violent ends. On the other hand, the protagonists of the 2 flops are still standing at the end. While one is just launching a career in politics, the other has achieved everything he set eyes on and drives away as a happy man with his lover.

So is it possible that our moviegoers do not want to see evil triumph in the battle between good and evil? Maybe they don’t mind watching bad guys as long as they pay for their sins at the end? Considering our hero-centric film industry, films with negative protagonists are not all that common. Have we had any big hits with such anti-heroes? How about big hits, with anti-heroes, that have a happy ending?

35 Comments:

At 12:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You really need to add spoiler warnings... the third para has lots of spoilers

 
At 12:49 AM, Blogger Shailaja said...

It seems to be that 2006 was a Gangsters Paradise in tamil cinema ;). The movie Nalai comes also in my mind. It hasn’t happy ending too. Endings like in Pudhuppettai as well as endings in Pattiyal are realistic. I'm relieved to hear that tamil moviegoers prefer to see bad endings for bad boys.

 
At 1:03 AM, Blogger skanda said...

Vijay played a anti-hero in "Periyamudan"...it did not have a happy ending and the film suceeded...it is the only movie which Vijay ever played the bad guy...

Hey Balaji..why dunt u write a article on heroined doing anti heroine roles as well..there is quite a few films like "Kedi", "Thimiru" "vallavan", Tthirutu Payale", "Kalabha kathalan"....

 
At 2:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Priyamudan was a flop.

 
At 2:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

of all the films u mentioned, i liked Pudhupettai the best. i didnt know it was such a utter flop till now. and i dont know it flopped because the dhanush character succeeded and didnt pay for his sins. it didnt do well because it wasn't watered down.

 
At 3:56 AM, Blogger srivatsan said...

No history of that. Even movies in which Bad Guy (Kamal :) dies don't do well (like Kurudhi Punal).

Thalainagaram was a decent one of the mentioned movies

 
At 5:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you will laugh ur heart out on reading this bomb vs bomb

http://dullnlull.blogspot.com/

 
At 7:58 AM, Blogger மு.கார்த்திகேயன் said...

Really a good catch Balaji.. May be the cini-goers mind have been set to see the practical ends than having a happy ending. But I am sure, most of the films will not get affect by the happy or sad end. If the hero is not familiar then they will accept the bad end. If hero is familiar they wont allow rajni to have such a bad end whereas they will accept the samething for Kamal. Here puthupettai and vattaram movies dont have much item to attract the viewers when compared to the 3 hits movies.

 
At 8:00 AM, Anonymous ram said...

Quite a few of Satyaraj's movies did well in the 80s...like Saavi and Vidinja Kalyaanam...

Kamal's Sivappu Rojakall also had him playing a role with darker shades...

Here's a trivia question:
This is a two-hero movie where both of them die in the end but the villains go scot-free (at least at the time the movie has ended). though the movie leads us to believe that the villains will eventually fall to the "pen" and not the sword...which movie is this?

 
At 8:30 AM, Blogger Raju said...

Ram, I know the answer.. The climax was sooo different. Good clue about the 'pen'.. since the hands that held the pen are holding our state now.. "PR", just to let others also guess...

 
At 10:06 AM, Anonymous ram said...

raju, awesome! yes, it was a wonderfully scripted movie with awesome performances and one song with brilliant lyrics...! am sure u know the song i'm referring to but wont say what it is now just so i dont give out a pretty biggg clue!

 
At 12:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the answer seems to have deserted me:)

 
At 12:41 PM, Anonymous Sandya said...

Raju, you really gave it away with the 'pen' holding our state bit and the "PR" bit.. clue kodukkaama irukka mudiyalaiyaa?.. :-)

I haven't seen Pudhupettai, Thalainagaram or Vattaram.. but enjoyed Pattiyal (enough to see it more than once on DVD) and Thiruttu Payale (a very lukewarm response from me. Felt the movie lost perspective somewhere early in the 2nd half! :-)

I'll play devil's advocate and say that Indhiyan Thatha lived after killing so many baddies off. Even though you can claim that Indhiyan Thatha was a hero; his mode of operations truly made him a villain. (All right, don't start yelling at me, y'all!). The line between good and evil blurs a lot in cinema.. so, you can't really claim that 'good' people should live at the end.. versus 'good' people with bad operating agendas shouldn't (example, Indhiyan Thatha).

The only person in Tamil cinema who has the guts to let villains live in the end is Kamal. Surely, he has paid hefty prices at the box office for such miracles to happen. Say what you may, but somehow, we can't come to terms with the fact that our villains outlive our heroes in our films.. Blame it on all the fairy tales, Ramayana, Mahabharata that as children, we have been told by parents.. We can't seem to erase the hero beats villain, wins the hand of the heroine bit from tamil cinema ever! :-) The examples of anti-heroes are few and far between.

 
At 12:56 PM, Anonymous ram said...

sandya, ungela yaaru modaiyaa maththa comments-a padika sonnaa?!

anon, nice play on words if u actually meant to do so...if u dun know what i'm talking abt, will clarify after we get some answers!

 
At 7:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Spoiler ahead

I think chithiram pesudhadi was quite a hit with a rowdy for a hero and a happy ending. how come you didnt include that in your list balaji?

 
At 8:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there a seperate forum for people to answer or what?? Desert Rose*s was a famous song by sting.

 
At 8:28 PM, Anonymous raj said...

balaji, a simplistic analysis with selective data presented :-)
This very year we had movies with negative heroes getting their sins' due in the end or vice versa but still failing in BO - Naalai, Thoothukudi come to mind. How about Acharya(I dont know which category it belongs to)? So it is simplistic to say that negative characters-win movies fail and negativ-characters-lose movies succeed at BO, right?
Kalaba Kaadhalan, Thimiru and Vallavan presented their heroines as antagonists so they dont really belong to the "negative-character-as-protagonist" films like Pattiyal, Thoothukudi, Pudhupet etc. It so happened that instead of Pasupathy or Nasser or babylona we had bonafide heroines playing those roles. That doesnt make them part of this list.


But a mind-boggling list of negative porotagonist movies this year though. Let's count
1.Pattiyal
2.Pudhupet
3.TP
4.Thoothukudi
5.CP
6.Vattaram
7.Thalainagaram
If we include otherwise-heroines playing negativre roles,
1.Vallavan 2. Thimiru 3. K.Kaadhalan

Hope this is not called "revolutionary" trend in Tamil cinema: -)

 
At 8:36 PM, Anonymous Sandya said...

Everyone keeps forgetting Uyir in the heroines playing negative roles list. Is there a particular reason why that doesn't stick in anybody's minds? Haven't seen the film, but have heard enough rants and raves to believe that Sangeetha at least deserves a mention here..

 
At 8:39 PM, Anonymous raj said...

Priyamudan was a decent success and part of vijay's gradual ascent spanning Poove Unakkaga, Priyamudan, that sivaji-sarojadevi movie with simran, the one with suvalaxmi(not nilaave vaa),a nd culminating in Kadhalukku mariyaadhai

 
At 8:39 PM, Anonymous raj said...

Priyamudan was a decent success and part of vijay's gradual ascent spanning Poove Unakkaga, Priyamudan, that sivaji-sarojadevi movie with simran, the one with suvalaxmi(not nilaave vaa),a nd culminating in Kadhalukku mariyaadhai

 
At 9:43 PM, Blogger Zero said...

Ok, who was, in the annals of Tamil cinema, more evil than Sivagiri (played chillingly by Vijay) of Thirupachi? Didn't he go scot-free? No sarcasm.

 
At 10:02 PM, Blogger skanda said...

anon, "Peryamudan" was vijay's biggest Hit back in 1998...the fiolm had shades of Shahrukh Khan's "Daraar" in it...

I heard that Mahdevan is playing the villian role in "Rendu"...? is it true....

 
At 11:44 PM, Blogger srivatsan said...

Yes Skanda, expecting a typical Masala from C.Sundar. I might see the movie for Maddy and Vadivelu :)

Maddy double action :)

 
At 12:08 AM, Blogger Balaji said...

anon, i try to avoid spoilers in reviews but slipped my mind when writing this post. my mistake...

shailaja, 'gangster's paradise' - i like that phrase. and quite true. there were a few more but i just picked the most hi-profile of the movies...

skanda, yeah he surprised by playing an anti-hero in 'priyamudan'. wonder if we'll ever see anything like that again from him...

nandhu, not saying that that was the main reason 'pudhuppettai' flopped. i'm sure there r other reasons. just wrote about something i noticed...

karthikeyan, agreed. as i said b4, this was just a post on something i started thinking about after watching 'vattaaram'...

ram, anon mundhitaaru but sting's 'desert rose' was what i wanted to give as the answer too :)

 
At 1:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thoothukudi was a commerical success.

 
At 2:22 AM, Blogger Shailaja said...

All the anti-heroine story in Kedi, Valavan, Thimiru and Ne Venumda Chelam has the story line of Padayappa. So its nothing new in it. But I really liked the performance of girl in Thimiru.

 
At 6:45 AM, Anonymous ram said...

cool that u guys knew abt paalaivana rojakall...the song "kadhal enbadhu podhu udamai...kashtam mattum thaane thani udamai..." was an awesome song...

 
At 12:18 AM, Blogger srivatsan said...

Shailaja many felt Thimiru performance was over the top :-)
anyway she is paired opposite to Pasupathy in Veyyil, hope it turns out to be a better performance.

 
At 12:42 AM, Blogger Shailaja said...

srivatsan yes your right it was over the top and unrealistic too. Although her part was the best in in movie ;).

 
At 6:05 AM, Anonymous raj said...

balaji, you didnt answer me :-)

 
At 3:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should watch Dhoom 2... Its a Hrithik movie all the way.

 
At 10:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kurudhippunal - both heroes get killed but most of the terrorists go scot-free.
Still teh movie did very well.

 
At 12:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

another addition to the Good vs Bad battle - Sivappadigaram

 
At 12:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I missed Naalai when it released but saw it yesterday. I thought the movie was good. I liked the guy who played Nuttu, impressive for a debut.

 
At 9:43 PM, Blogger srivatsan said...

FYI Kurudhi Punal was a flop. Except AVM Rajeshwari it did not run in other venues. Muthu, a vomit movie, did well the same time.

 

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