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HAS THE NEW WAVE OF TAMIL CINEMA SHUNTED OUT THE CLASSIC MASALA FARES?

By Jigdesh

Amidst a series of releases like Pizza and Aarohanam that could be bookmarked as part of the new wave of Tamil Cinema, there was a film that was old school both in heart and in execution. Perarasu’s Thiruthani was an attempt at delivering another one of his commercial potboilers which aimed at nothing but to entertain. The audience, for the most part of the state, has turned a blind eye. But why?

If one were to rewind the clock only 7 years back, Perarasu managed to deliver two super hit films with Vijay in the same year. Both Tirupaachi and Sivakasi tasted box office success and managed to please the fans by providing a healthy dosage of all-round entertainment like action, comedy, sentiment and heroism. It was believed that the director achieved to find the perfect formula with the right mix, and his stories and his methods were being exported to neighboring states like Andhra where both the films in question were remade.

Soon thereafter, Perarasu found himself working with other big crowd pullers like Ajith in Tirupathi and Vijaykanth in Dharmapuri. He confidently implemented the same formula that worked for him in his last couple of outings and the results this time were satisfying, one would say, but not overly flattering. Shouldn’t the director have seen this as a warning sign, one might wonder. Or was the audience too fickle minded then? One day they like something, the next day they don’t!

Even at the risk of being labeled a ‘one-trick-pony’ Perarasu steamed forward with his next set of releases with the belief that he has deciphered the code that can make a movie tick with the audience regardless of who is in the lead. But his assumptions and calculations seem to go awry as his next three releases, including his latest, offered almost nothing to the audience as well as theatre owners. Truth be told, there are enough similarities with Thiruthani and Perarasu’s earlier hits, yet the entire premise suddenly seemed rather contrived to the movie goer.

What this film does is serve as a reminder that only top actor’s can, on most occasions, pull off (or get away with, depending on how you look at it) such ‘masala’ movies where the pattern or the sequence of events are fairly predictable and carved out to fulfill each of the audience’s entertainment fetishes.

The rise and fall of Perarasu raises a few questions. Have the top stars like Vijay and Ajith shied away from such formulaic films?  Has the audience genuinely graduated from Perarasu’s brand of films, bringing an end to this genre? Is Rajinikanth the last remaining matinee idol?

The audience too at the end of the day must take ownership for building this machine that was once well oiled but now is being seen as a pile of dated rust.

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