Lets Talk About Kollywood

India is a land of diverse cultures. Diverse cultures give rise to diversity in mindsets and different mindsets make a society. Inspired from society, we have movies which are, apart from being our source of entertainment, an indicator of this society. As such we have various Cinema industries in our country. Out of the many movie kingdoms of India, two of them have an interesting relation between them. These two are our dear Bollywood and the now – becoming – dear (to Bollywood) Kollywood. While sometimes this relation has proved symbiotic, it has been parasitic as well!

Example of certain symbiotic relations would be actors like Sridevi, Hema Malini, and in the last decade Aishwarya Rai, who established a niche for themselves in both the kingdoms. The symbiosis continues even today. First it was Shankar and Rajinikanth who signed Bollywood actress Aishwarya for Robot. Now Raju Sundaram and Ajith have signed Katrina Kaif for their upcomming movie. The romance between the two industries continues as we hear the news that famous Tamil star Vikram would soon be rocking Bollywood in Mani Ratnam’s next. And then there is the much talked about debut of Genelia D’Souza with Aamir Khan’s nephew Imran Khan in Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na. But then, we also had certain actors like the famous Shriya (of Sivaji fame) who ran, saving grace, from Bollywood to become one of the most highly paid female actors of Kollywood! Some others of the same league include Jyothika and Nagma. Madhavan who is slowly climbing rungs and Siddharth, of Rang De Basanti fame, are both Tamil protégés. It is rather ironic that heroes of both do not work efficiently in this mutualism. As the famous director Priyadarshan said in one of his interviews, “Bollywood has never accepted heroes from the South. They only accept heroines. It’s just like the South has never accepted Bollywood heroes, only heroines.” Probably, the only two exceptions to this would be Rajnikanth and Kamal Hassan and perhaps A.R. Rahman who is actually a musical maestro.

Well the affair does not end in this bridal treatment! Both the kingdoms are equally adept at being inspired from each other as well as another bark from the tree family – Hollywood. Both have efficiently copied, oops, received inspiration from a great number of Western movies. Where Kollywood incorporates a lot of animation and action sequences, Bollywood often merely puts Indian actors in a foreign screenplay. Nevertheless, they are two lovers who are made for each other.

Then, as they say, a fair exchange is no robbery (only copyright matters). The two often exchange movies! Priyadarshan, an ace director, remakes almost all his Tamil movies in Hindi. The superhit Saathiya was a remake of Alaipayuthey. The recent box office hit Bhool Bhulaiyya was a remake of Chandramukhi! As far as I remember, there was a movie called Nayak too, which was some remake of a Tamil blockbuster. Minnale, starring Madhavan and Reema Sen, was also remade in Hindi as Rehnaa Hai Terre Dil Mein, with Madhavan and Dia Mirza. The national award winning Pithamagan which starred Vikram,Surya, Laila and Sangeetha is going to be remade in Hindi starring Ajay Devgan. Aamir Khan’s next is a remake of the super hit action blockbuster Ghajini. And again, how can Kollywood stay behind? Bollywood hit Baazigar, which catapulted superstar Shah Rukh Khan to stardom, is all set to be remade in Tamil now, by director P. Vasu. Hindi films Taxi No. 9211 and Chameli are to be remade in Tamil. Where the famous Don (starring Amitabh Bachchan) was a remake of its Tamil namesake starring Rajnikanth, it is being made yet again (after a Hindi remake); this time being called Billa! As of now, I am tired of using the words inspired and remake!

A check – both are not just sharing scripts, stories, actors and directors! They are sharing music as well. Most of the Tamil songs remind me of some Hindi numbers and vice versa. Considering that the quality of music is depreciating in both, I guess it is okay if they share. After all, both turn out to be equally bad! How can I forget item numbers? This is a tried and tested formula equally used by both.

Their love is such that they have similar family problems as well. Both are tired of running around the trees and are now trying their hand at offbeat cinema, giving a mixture of movies. Both have clearly divided cinema on the basis of entertainment films and critically acclaimed films. These days, the two are competing on lines as to who makes more expensive movies. A lover’s tiff perhaps! Another unusual similarity I see in both is how they are desperately hungry for a new star to take them forward. This responsibility has been entrusted upon the new generation of the filmi families. Till then, they will continue to revel in the glory of legendary superstars and filmmakers. Where in Bollywood we have an empire headed by the triumvirate of Bachchans, Kapoors and Khans, in Kollywood we have the one man Rajnikanth who seems to be ageless. Well, whatever it maybe, the love of the masses for their stars is eternal as even temples and wax statues have been dedicated to legends of both kingdoms.

Let us see how long the affair of the two would last as now the Abhimaan factor is coming. I hope there is no break-up, but I definitely hope that they would start making new path breaking cinema which would glorify the art of film making rather than reliving the past by remaking movies which have already proved themselves. In the future I hope we get to see more of original scripts, music and new age direction.

Ayushi Uberoi

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