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WHY GOD’S SON HAD TO BECOME A DAUGHTER?
By Arun with inputs from Murugan.
Deivathirumagan 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 Deivathirumagal.

  Deiva Thirumagal
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.

These 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?
Tags : Deiva thirumagal, Ghajini, Virumaandi, Ko
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