The new darling of kollywood
A FEW YEARS ago, Kollywood was abuzz with directors like Selvaraghavan who would darken their plotlines to intense levels. Now a newer crop of filmmakers is already updating that aesthetic with a new focus on rooting their (often dark) scripts in specific milieus. From Madurai’s alleys to Chennai’s East Coast Road, actors on the big screen are increasingly speaking local dialects while the camera works hard to bring the physical space around them alive.
The excitement of this new wave lies in how filmmakers are being able to put out films at almost guerrilla budgets, get wide distribution and acclaim as well as assured niche audiences. Most of these films are being budgeted at or below the retrievable limit of Rs 5 crore (see box).
This new energy in the Tamil film industry swept the National Awards this May with seven wins. Director Vetri Maaran’s Aadukalam was the runaway winner with six trophies — for its story about rooster fighters in Madurai. The seventh went to Thambi Ramiah for best supporting actor — for playing a lowly constable in Mynaa.
And last November, debutant director Thiagarajan Kumararaja’s Aaranya Kaandam won the Grand Jury Award at the South Asian International Film Festival in New York — for its a story of gangsters set in the concrete jungle of North Chennai.