Somewhere in mid-2010, 500 crores might have looked
like a fancy sum. But, post the unbelievable 2G spectrum
scam, it looks like, well, peanuts! For that matter,
the scam would even make Oceans Thirteen look like
a pack of petty thieves. Yeah, the real time political
happenings of our land are making even the most imaginative
of scripts look pretty ordinary. And, it is not with
much surprise that many of us noticed the posters
of a new film on the walls of our city not too long
ago. It was titled, quite clearly, as 2G Spectrum.
Why I said ‘quite clearly’ is because
Tamil film makers have got into a habit, or rather
forced into a habit, of putting the titles they actually
want as bylines while cooking up other ones in chaste
Tamil just to get away from paying tax. But, the makers
of 2G Spectrum evidently wanted everyone to know quite
unambiguously about the premise of their film. And,
I am not sure about the current status of the film,
but if and when, it makes it to screens, there will
definitely be a lot of curiosity surrounding it; even
though everyone knows the story inside out.
What I am getting at is that stories, hugely interesting
and engaging ones, are right in front of us; in newspapers,
channels, tabloids, gossip etc… But, a film
industry needs to have a culture of picking up stories
from the streets and newspapers to make into feature
films. The Tamil industry seems short on that kind
of a habit, which is why 2G Spectrum comes as a surprise.
Yes, there have been films that have quite brazenly
stated political facts, like S A Chandrasekhar’s
Sattapadi Kuttram (a very brave thing to do when DMK
was still in power), but not many that have tried
to adapt incidents as such and present them on screen.
Ayan, if we believe, K.V. Anand, had incorporated
many elements that he had seen in newspapers over
years, and we all know how interesting the film was.
If we look at the other industries in India, there
is a much stronger culture of making films on real
life incidents, or at least make films that very evidently
are based on a particular political personality. The
Sarkaar franchise was clearly based on Bal Thackeray.
Tamil Nadu has a much richer and perhaps much more
interesting political history, closely linked to cinema,
and yet the only movie that we have to narrate nearly
5 decades of intense rivalry (like no other in India
perhaps) is Iruvar. Or look at Hindi again, and we
find movies like No One Killed Jessica (based on the
sensational Jessica Lal murder case) and now there
is Not a Love Story (wonder how RGV managed to shoot,
edit and release a film all within weeks of the verdict
of the Neeraj Grover murder case).
Of course, this is not to say that Tamil cinema should
become a crime cataloguing directory which sniffs
after every murder in the state. In fact, one or two
of the movies mentioned above, were in poor taste,
reopening wounds rather than redressing them.
But, there can be a leaf or two taken out of Malayalam
cinema, which in fact made it a habit of converting
every sensational crime story of Kerala state into
a gripping movie; almost none of which were in poor
What I am calling for is not for movies based on the
Dharmapuri bus tragedy or the Kumbakonam tragedy;
these are episodes which left indelible marks on our
psyche. We have already seen the reaction to the climax
of Kalloori. But, there are stories out there that
need to be told and stories which can be told only
through cinema. This might start sounding like a social
commitment statement; but the fact is that even the
films can be really really interesting.