Two of the hottest Tamil films to open in 2014 are from two of the South's hottest superstars, Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan.
Unfortunately, a firm date is yet to announced for the Rajinikanth starrer, Kochadaiiyaan – which got delayed even at its shoot stage, because the star fell ill and had to be hospitalised (for some time in Singapore) for a long period. It is possible that the movie opens around the Tamil New Year’s Day in April.
Directed by Rajinikanth’s daughter, Soundarya Ashwin, the film is a period piece shot in 3D motion capture computer animation. It also stars Deepika Padukone (Rajinikanth is known to have glamorous actresses as his screen partners; Aishwarya Rai paired with him in the science-fiction, Endhiran), Shobana, Jackie Shroff (remember him in the Tamil work, arguably his career best, Aaranya Kaandam) and Nassar.
Interestingly, Kochadaiiyaan will be seen in several languages, including Telugu, Malayalam, English, Spanish and Japanese (all dubbed of course).
Kamal’s Viswaroopam 2 is a spy thriller with just about the same cast as Viswaroopam 1 – Haasan himself, Rahul Bose, Pooja Kumar and Andrea Jeremiah. Also produced by Ekta Kapoor and Shobha Kapoor, the movie will also have a Hindi version and a dubbed-in-Telugu edition. Scheduled for an early opening this year, Viswaroopam 2 will unfold in India, unlike the first one which took place largely in the USA.
Apart from these works, the films of some of the reigning actors will also hit the screens this year. Among them are actor Vijay Sethupathi’s Pannaiyarum Padminiyum and Rummy. While Pannaiyarum and Padminiyum (helmed by Arun Kumar) is the story of an old man and his obsession, a vintage Premier Padmini car, in which Vijay essays the driver, Rummy is a romantic thriller directed by debutant Balakrishnan.
The harvest festival of Pongal will see two extremely popular stars, Vijay and Ajith Kumar in a bout with their films, Jilla (by R.T. Neason and also starring Malayalam superstar, Mohanlal) and Veeram (by Siva) respectively. Both are described as “masala”.
Suriya hopes to get the boxoffice jingling again after Singam 2 with a yet-to-be titled Tamil work by Lingusamy. Suriya’s brother, Karthi, plans a film with newcomer, Ranjith.
These are some of the releases in Tamil, and if one were to notice, they are invariably star driven, with directors getting a second billing, a feature that is becoming increasingly the norm these days. Gone, it seems, are the days when helmers like K. Balachander and Balu Mahendra were the key crowd pullers. Ditto with Mumbai, where it is Shahrukh Khan and Aamir Khan and Salman Khan who draw crowds, not their directors – as opposed to yesteryear when a Bimal Roy or a Vijay Anand or a Asif were the attractions, not quite the actors.
But yes, Bengal and Kerala could be exceptions even today. One hears of Adoor Gopalakrishnan or Shaji N. Karun in Kerala as does one of Buddhadeb Dasgupta or Aparna Sen in Bengal.