Halfway into 2007, here's a look back at the year so far in Tamil movies...
Pongal usually kicks off the year's movies and 2007 had a good start since movies by both Vijay and Ajith got released. In recent years, the career graphs of the 2 actors have been the exact opposite of each other and 2007 turned out to be no different. Vijay was coming off a big flop in Aadhi
and a year-long break while Ajith was fresh off the success of Varalaaru
, released just a few months ago. But their films again met with markedly different fates at the box-office. Pokkiri
, a remake of the Telugu superhit of the same name, became a big hit and resurrected Vijay's career while Aazhwaar
came a cropper and negated the gains of Varalaaru
The stars then took a break and let directors take centerstage. Gautam Menon joined hands with Sarathkumar for Pachaikkili Muthucharam
, which also starred Gautam's favorite heroine Jyothika in a negative role as the 'other woman'. Though the film started off well with Gautam's trademark style, Sarathkumar took over in the second half and transformed it into a regular masala. Radhamohan, without the pressures of promoting a producer's son as hero, gave us Mozhi
and proved that Azhagiya Theeye
was no flash in the pan. The realistic, subtly humorous film was filled with loveable characters and became a big hit. It was the perfect send-off for Jyothika, who gave a great performance as a deaf-mute. The reliable Ameer introduced Surya's brother Karthi in the earthy and emotionally-powerful Paruthi Veeran
and cemented his status as one of the most promising directors today. Jeeva created another youthful love story and introduced another young hero in Unnaale Unnaale
, which was a bit too unbelievable and talky but went on to become a big hit. But sadly, the director himself died due to cardiac arrest while shooting his next film.
Not all famous directors were successful though. Cheran donned atrocious wigs and bright costumes for Maayakkannaadi
and along with Navya Nair, created the most irritating screen couple of the year so far. The detour into his brand of realistic, message-oriented cinema came too late and couldn't save the film. Suresh Krissna, who seems to be able to find directing assignments even after a string of flops, notched up another flop in the distasteful Parattai Engira Azhagu Sundaram
, a remake of a Kannada hit. K.Balachander, coming back after a long break, couldn't regain his old touch in Poi
, a youthful romance.
As always there were a couple of small movies that sneaked in quietly but captured everybody's attention. Debutant director Venkat Prabhu fashioned a great entertainer in Chennai 600028
, a film about gully cricket. Completely down-to-earth and never taking itself seriously, the film was a great entertainer and a big hit. Karuppusamy Kuthagaithaarar
gave a familiar romance in a familiar setting a fresh spin and backed by a good performance by Karan, went on to become a hit. Satyaraj's performance was the highlight of Periyaar
, a biased but nevertheless entertaining look at Periyaar's life. Pori
was a disappointing outing from Subramaniam Siva, who gave us the lighthearted Thirudaa Thirudi
before while Deepavali
proved that Ezhil has completely lost his tough.
2007 will also be remembered for having the first 'official' remake of an old Tamil film. Naan Avanillai
, a remake of the old KB-'Gemini Ganesan' film, had an unimpressive cast and unbelievable romances but its fast pace made it a hit.
Then it was back to the stars... well, just one star - a superstar - actually. The coming together of Rajnikanth, Shankar and A.R.Rahman made Sivaji
an event rather than just a film and its upcoming release forced several other big movies to postpone their release dates. And luckily, the movie lived up to its pre-release hype. It was quite weak on logic and was Rajni's show all the way but nobody seems to have cared. It is turning out to be as big a hit as was expected and will certainly enjoy a long run.
As we move into the second half of the year, the roster of films to be released would have a Tamil cinema buff salivating. The biggest of 'em all is ofcourse Kamal's Dasaavathaaram
, which has him playing 10 roles. As of now, the film is slated to be released for Diwali. Apart from that there's Bheema
with Vikram, Azhagiya Thamizh Magan
with Vijay, Kireedam
and maybe Billa
with Ajith and Vel
and Vaaranam Aayiram
with Surya. Smaller movies like Evano Oruvan
and Oram Po
seem to have a lot of promise too. Lots to look forward to :-)