GOD’S SON HAD TO BECOME A DAUGHTER?
Arun with inputs from Murugan.
became Deivathirumagal! Why? Because some
people thought that the original name
was too similar to their community identity.
And, remember the fact that Deivathirumagan
was not the first intended name of the
film either. They first thought about
Deivamagan, but it had to be changed because
a Sivaji classic had borne the same title
before. Then there was talk about Thirumagan
(one wonders whether this was real or
just media buzz), but that name too had
been taken up a few years back by S.J.
Suryah. So, we ended up with a hybrid,
called Deivathirumagan which has now become
Effectively, the film has been baptized around four
times now. And, has the musical chairs of titles seen
the end? We cannot be sure until the movie finally
releases. Even if it does get to the screen with the
current title, a host of other problems might arise,
like the ones faced by Siruthai where the pickpocket
was called Rocket Raja.
are not isolated examples. Films and their titles
have been big bones of contentions on various levels
over the years. The reasons might be political, communal,
copyright or anything else. But, the fact remains
that film makers lose a lot of sleep, sweat and perhaps
money over such issues.
The list of some prominent and other not so prominent
films that had to endure such titular problems are
Ghajini which was first called Mirattal ( the reason
behind this title change is not clearly known even
now, most people say it was just a creative spark).
We all have heard about the reasons behind Sandiar
becoming Virumaandi, something very similar to what
happened to Deivathirumagan. Then there was Thalaivan
Irukkiran which finally became Unnaipol Oruvan, reasons
for which are again not known in an unambiguous degree.
Thambikku Endha Ooru became Thambikku Indha Ooru because
of copyright issues. And, there are a host of films
that go through such changes mostly to avail the tax
benefits given by the state government.
What’s in a name? Many might think. A film’s
success depends only on the quality of what is offered
on screen and nothing else. We have seen movies with
crazy titles and even monosyllable titles (Ko, Va)
all grabbing the attention of audiences. It is not
necessary for a film to have poetic (like Vinnaithaandi
Varuvaayaa) titles to attract audiences. But, the
fact is that perhaps too many alterations to a title
deviate the attention from the actual content itself.
Take Deivathirumagan(l) for instance; people seem
to be more interested in knowing the actual play of
powers in the title change rather than the content
of the movie or the performances in it. The same held
true for a while in the case of Virumaandi too until
the film’s quality overshadowed all controversies.
Some say that controversies are good for films because
they somehow bring in publicity and in media wisdom
‘any publicity is good publicity’. But,
ask the harried film maker whether he enjoyed the
harrying experience of being insinuated with communal
incitement or copyright violation, he will have a
different story to tell.
Films are for entertainment, but there are parts of
the society that seem to take cinema far too seriously
for anyone’s good. Let cinema be cinema and
let’s get on with life. After all, what’s
in a name, especially when it is about a movie?