An ode to the next-gen directors, Balaji Mohan, Kaadhalil Sodappuvadhu Eppadi



There is no business like show business and like always, the dream factory continued to attract creative minds in the year that went past too. Established directors have been cementing their position which is on expected grounds but what was interesting and uplifting was the burgeoning trend in Thamizh cinema of talented directors who are making the dreamville their abode of brilliant creative radiance.

In a panegyric gesture, this writer wishes to throw light upon the talents who have made the industry and audience turn their focus on to them as these creative geniuses are going to be the future of Thamizh cinema under whose spell the industry is all set to scale respectable heights. Take a bow people! You deserve the best!

Balaji Mohan showed a new path of entry into the filmdom through short films. His much popular short film Kaadhalil Sodappuvadhu Eppadi paved way for a full length feature film that earned him the name and fame. KSE struck a chord with the youngsters for its youthful execution.

For Lakshmy Ramakrishnan, Aarohanam was a passion unleashed and she proved that age is never a deterrent when it comes to chasing one’s dreams. Her film which dealt with bi-polar disorder had the critics rooting for her and the industry applauding her work. Lakshmy wowed her audience with a sensitive portrayal of an aberration and eschewed clichés to get across her point.   

Santhakumar’s Mounaguru was just another film when it was released. But at the end of the first show, everything changed and the viewers could not believe that it was the work of a first time director.  Intelligently scripted, Santhakumar moved his narration with a precision of a professional archer that the accolades were the only logical offshoot. The icing on the cake was the award Santhakumar received from Amitabh Bachchan at the recently held Chennai International Film Festival.

The very title Nadula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom was sufficient to evince the desired impact on the audience. And director Balaji Tharaneetharan managed to translate that interest to positive box office response. After completing Editing at Film Institute, Tharaneetharan set out to edit a few ad and corporate films. Nevertheless, his interest was only towards direction. A special mention award for ‘Andha Summer Leave’ at Lucknow Children’s Film Festival was a concentrated impetus to move towards his goal and a chance narration of a real life story to the producer resulted in his first film. Showered in appreciation for a completely tangential trajectory from the established trends, Tharaneetharan has proved that he is here to give a different experience to audience and Thamizh film industry as such.

It is interesting to observe that director Karthik Subburaj of Pizza also took the same route that Balaji Mohan undertook, that of short film to feature films and found his niche. Pizza remained the talk of the town for its thrill and suspense factor and the director kept his red herrings coming at regular intervals. The remake of Pizza in other south Indian languages is the obvious aftermath of such an astounding success for Karthik Subburaj.

When the promos were released for Sundarpandian, it was just another film from another first time director and the draw was only Sasikumar. However, the first show led a frenzied cell phone tapping of positive feedback among the movie going populace and director Prabhakaran had arrived. A simple premise but an engaging narration was the keyword. It is no surprise that Prabhakaran is doing his next project for Red Giant with Udhaynidhi Stalin and Nayanthara.

For Pa Ranjith who took his direction lessons from Venkat Prabhu, Attakathi proved that he has had his coaching well from his guru.  Having received his formative lessons in drawing from the prestigious School of Arts, Chennai, Ranjith began his career as a storyboard artist for Venkat Prabhu’s album and the liaison further resulted in Venkat Prabhu beckoning Ranjith to join him. After working in Chennai-28, Saroja and Goa in all the departments of film making, Ranjith set out independently to begin Attakathi. He attributes his learning to the immense freedom given by Venkat Prabhu.  

Madhubana Kadai directed by Kamalakannan had the movie buffs appreciating him for an experimental style that scanned an entire day at a liquor shop which was done with an impassive approach.  It was like a tour of a TASMAC bar and Kamalakannan sure rendered a ‘spirit’ed experience to the viewer.

In addition to all these promising debuts, we also had Aishwarya Dhanush, Andrew Louis Vasanth and Anbazhagan making their signature stamp with 3, Leelai and Saattai respectively which was more than exciting to say the least!

In the past there have been new directors entering the field which was well within a normal number. However the recent past for Thamizh industry has become past perfect as there has been a significant inflow of new talents in direction. As Pa Ranjith rightly pointed out, this trend owes its gratitude to the discerning Thamizh audience who has always remained open and warm to experimentation and new ideas.

Way to go folks and here is wishing you creatively fulfilling and uncompromising times ahead!

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