hollywoodu, bollywoodu sodha chesane
Angel lanti nuvve nachi flat ayipotane
tuhi meri maashukaaa, tuhi meri maashukaaa.
I've started my adventure with Indian Cinema and it took me while to notice South flicks.
South Indian movies? Vivacious world of suprises waiting for you on every corner. Entry for expectations is limited (see JALSA), better go with the flow. Movies have their own style and flavour, which doesn't mean they are worst than pictures from Bollywood or anywhere else.
Actually, I hate calling any other Indian movie industry than Hindi as regional, is Bollywood that international, cosmopolitan and global, when Kollywood or Tollywood needs special care like new-born babies?
Anyways, this Alphabet isn't accurate, proper and worth reading, if you think you know more than I do (summa).
I've been trying my best to create not a Beginner Guide but rather a fun list, kind of sye - what do I know about SI cinema after year of intense watching and researching.
Whatever - you'll decide decide if I suceeded in creating something worth while, I'm open for any dyplomatic suggestions in comments, at best - word of appreciation :)
Remember one thing - I'm still a beginner :)
A # age gap
Stalin? Sivaji? I really should belive that those guys aren't OAP roaming with their granddaughters?
Well, actresses lifes never been long, I mean ten years of good offers and go, take care about kids, leave the screen for another Lolita. OK, maybe it's not the bad, but still sometimes I think it's too much. There aren't much actresses like Ramya Krishnan, Meera or Jayasudha, who manage to act after 40th b'day, but they doesn't have that much opportunities like when they've been 20 years old, when guys their age, like Nag or Arjun still acts in lead, with heroines younger and younger.
B # break; boxoffice
BREAK or interval or intermission or whatever is a moment in the middle of the movie, when you can go away and be back after 15, sure you didn't losed anything from the movie.
SI flick often attach interval to the dvd while in Bollywood they are in 80% cuted.
BOXOFFICE is an important thing like anywhere else.
I do pity that old habit of 100 days runs, numbers of centers is now old of stock, while profit is nowadays counted in money earned on tickets, DVDs/BluRays, stellite rights etc.
The biggest SI blockbuster far is Magdheera.
C # comedy; class; college; curse of second half, the
COMEDY is often situational and connected to words. There are many comedians and movies without comedy is a rarity.
Telugu comedians - Brahmi, Ali, Sunil, Khayyum, Master Bharath, Hema...
Tamil comedians - Vadhivelu, Vivek, Karunas, Urvasi...
Malayalam comedians - Innocent, late Cochin Hanifa...
Kannada comedians - no idea. Any help?
CLASS - I'll use long exerpts from stuninng article on Telugu cinema (the difference between entertainers and ambitious cinema) from BFI.
NTR's star vehicles in the early 1980s combined vigilantism and nostalgia for the feudal order to spawn a supra-generic entity called 'mass film'. The mass film mobilises the masses via the star-protagonist against the enemies of state and society. The mass film was the site of contradictory tendencies. On the one hand, films such as Khaidi (A. Kodandarami Reddy/Samyuktha Movies, 1983) launched a populist critique by way of vigilante actions against figures representing feudal authority. On the other, the mass film also included anti-urban/ruralist melodramas, for instance Mangammagari Manavadu (Kodi Ramakrishna/Bhargav Arts, 1984), which resulted in the nostalgic reconstruction of benevolent feudalism in the 1990s in films such as Peda Rayudu (Raviraja Pinisetty/Shri Lakshmi Prasanna Pictures, 1995).
The mass film in the 1980s was complemented by what is locally known as the 'class film'. If the mass film is identifiable by its lower class addressee, huge budgets, star cast, populist politics and of course poor taste, the class film is presumably meant for the middle class audience, has an avowed pedagogic mission and is recognisably superior in aesthetic terms.
Its art-house aesthetic quality is often indexed by the use of a popular version of south Indian classical music and dance. Tracing its origins to Shankarabharanam (K. Vishwanath/Poornodaya Art Creations, 1979), which lamented the erosion of Brahminical high culture and values, the 'class film' developed alongside the 1980s mass film, as the epitome of 'good' cinema. The 'class film' is distinct from other middle class genres in that it occupies a moral high ground that has only on occasion been available to popular cinema. Throughout the 1980s the 'class film' exerted enough moral pressure on directors and stars to elicit their support. Nageswara Rao and the prolific director of the 1980s, Dasari Narayana Rao, came together in Megha Sandesam (Taraka Prabhu Films, 1982), a film about the relationship between a famous poet and a courtesan. K. Vishwanath, the director whose name is synonymous with the 'class cinema', made films with relative newcomers as well as major stars. A good example is Sagara Sangamam (Poornodaya Movie Creations, 1983) featuring Kamal Haasan and Swayamkrushi (Poornadaya Movie Creations, 1987) starring Chiranjeevi. Chiranjeevi went on to act in the 'class film' Rudraveena (K. Balachander/Anjana Art Productions, 1988), produced by a family-owned company. The 'class film' addressed not only the middle class audience that was increasingly alienated by the mass film, but also the state which often enough, responded with awards that were instituted to promote the film industry.
COLLEGE is a place for love and learning (in this order only). Sometimes you have to fight for your rights (see ROWDIES)
CURSE OF SECOND HALF, THE - hurts. Thanks to interval (see BREAK), SI movies has strong division for first and second half. Unfortunately, not many directors are able to repeat fabolousness of first halves and that can kill even the best concept, with drag last hour.
Examples? Athidi, Mungaru Male, Mass...
Thank God there are movies with better second half, like Magadheera, Annavaram, Milana, Puthiya Mugam, Oy...
D # directors; DIY; dubbing
DIRECTORS means genius people with epic visions, like Shankar, SS Rajamouli, K. Viswanath, Gautam Menon, Karunakaran, Mani Ratnam... Connected with IMPORT.
DIY - actors who sings for themselves (SI cinema has the lot of them - Vikram, Mamta Mohandas, Prithviraj, Puneet, Siddharth) or people who dub (see DUBBING) themselves.
DUBBING - article I wrote.
E # ego; evolution
EGO is what everybody has, bigger or smaller but still. It's one of the reasons why it's impossible to remake Twenty:20 is Tamil or Telugu, male stars mostly doessn't want to share the screen with anyone else, there are family issuess, money issuess but Vedam if for sure a ray of hope.
Also it's a reason why heroes, unlike heroines, rarely migrate to Hindi - they would have to create groundwork when they are already popular down South. It's impossible to them to debut in big movies in lead, most doesn't want to share the screen (again) with someone more popular in Bollywood. Surya is a extreme rarity, he decided to star in RGV next because he wants to improve, he doesn't care it's "just" supporting role.
EVOLUTION means progress. And what is progress? For example, Mahesh Babu in Pokiri was throwing poles, in Athidi he use them as a fulltime weapon, hitting baddies with ease.
Kidding, I meant SI cinema hasn't got much complexes, it has cliches, of course, but I haven't seen any shame in it. Spoofing makes me think everything's all right and the best way to improve is not to desperately look around shouting "what I can change? what? What?!" but letting everything came slowly on it's place.
F # families; fanbase; flashback; friendship
FAMILES rule. The most "familized" industry after Bollywood is Tollywood, with few leading clans and some other smaller. Newcomers without family backgrounds aren't able to succeed easily (Ravi Teja for example) as family members do (RCT or RaNa for example).
In Sandalwood there are three active sons of Dr Rajkumar, but the success is known only by Puneeth and Sivaraj. I don't know much about actors origins, but as far as I know, many sons of filmipeople moved to other states like Arjun for example, to suceed there.
In Mollywood there aren't any clans, there M&M rules and young actors face difficulties. Of course, like in Kollywood, familes are present (Sukumaran's family for example) but they do not rule industry like it happens in Tollywood.
Families in movies are always important, it's rare to have a movie with lead characters which doesn't have any relationship with their parents. Families are loud , involved in misc quarells, support kids or not, face troubles, fix mariages which they kids do/don't like etc.
Best mom? Jayasudha. Best dad? Prakash Raj, all the time, even as a villain :P
FANBASE - actors would never survive without people buying tickets for their flicks.
SI fan makes large cut-outs, garlands and will see his idol movie right on the first show.
Fangirls are crazy too, marrying already married heroes :D
Dark side of fans - antifans.
FLASHBACK is in 80% of movies. Pity that this is always narrated in the same way, without anything new. Mostly one first hour is about present times and next is about past and 30 minutes are left for revenge. (Indra or Mass are iconic examples).
I have lot against Ghajini but I can't say that the narration was cliched.
FRIENDSHIP is something which can lead to bromance, help to elope or made hero a toxic avenger.
G # goris
GORIS hurts. Muchos. If you are gori yourself, even more. Ouch. Check out Minai Minai's take on them.
H # heroine / hero (- centric)
Heroine is someone imported (see IMPORT), dubbed (see DUBBING), immensly stupid (brain isn't required) and between her and the hero there's an age gap (see AGE GAP), always.
Hero is a immortal guy who got to kill unimmortal baddies and he always is required to dance inn few mass (see CLASS) songs and say few memorable lines (see YE?), also it's would be nice if he could in meantime save the world. Ah, also he needs to have an intro (see INTRO). If you want heros with grey shades, see ROWDIES.
Oh, I would forget, between those two there's a feeling (see LOVE).
I # import; ińtro; item numbers
Actresses which acted in five langs (and even more! For basic 5 I do count SI ones + Hindi) aren't that rarity that I have tought before, see Priyamani, Ramya Krishna, Padmapriya, Rambha, Nagma, Sridevi, Jyothika, soon Genelia...
Tough it's not hard to get offers from many South industries, it's harder to made a lasting impression everywhere you acts, like Nayantara is a top Tamil heroine but her Telugu career is just OK.
Imported are also villains, guys like Kelly Dorji, Sonu Sood, Mukhesh Rishi or Dev Ghill, but most of them aren't well versed in South langs so they are dubbed like heroines.
But export? Directors (Mani Ratnam, Gautam Menon, K.Balachander, Priyadarshan etc), technicans (Sabu Cyril, Resul Pookutty etc), singers (Benny Dayal, Karthik, SBP, Chinmayi), choreographers (Prabhu Deva!), movies (see REMAKES), composers (AR Rahman, GV Prakash, Ilayaraja etc), actresses (Asin, Sridevi, Trisha)... Actors? Rarity (Venkatesh, Nagarjuna, Rajnikanth, Chiranjeevi, late Vishnuvardhan), see EGO.
INTRO - hero has it, some villains too. I think Telugu industry has the best ones, check my personal top 11.
ITEM NUMBERS? They are in half of produced movies. It's a song, sometimes totally out of place, with mostly one leading dancer with double-meaning lyrics and specific set.
The Queen? Mumaith Khan!
J # jalsa
JALSA means fun. And it's all about having fun, after all.
Even crap movies can be enjoyable if you will use Rajni's filter, it means - take any masala movie as comedy. It works with Vijay's recent flicks, Rajni's Super Star stuff of very special special effects in Gunashekhar's films.
To know more, check Piyaara's tumblr :) That's a person which know how to enjoy.
K # knives; kuthu
Use of them is always shown in a drastic way, see for example climax of Varsham - hurts even the audience.
KUTHU is a typical tamil style of dancing and specific type of songs, with lots of drums and beat which rules the melody. Dance, tough look simple, is quite tough to follow, as I find it like this mostly when it comes to songs like Naaka Mukka or Hey Vetri Velaa.
L # larger than life; love
I admire Peter Hynes choreographies, this guy rocks, check Darling, Ganesh or Ghajini.
It's unsual for many to gave credits to stunt masters like they always won accolades in openining titles in every SI flick with fights.
LOVE - check out my article on it.
M # marriage; masala; mass; moustache
It's Murphy Law that the best guys are always maried :P
MASALA is spicer down South. Compare masala movies from Chennai and a movie BaB. Makes difference, huh? In South masala entertainers there's everything + shark!
MASS - see CLASS.
MOUSTACHE - hmm, controversial. But you can get use to it :)
And even do not respect avatar of your favorite actor without moustache.
N # nickname
NICKNAME is something which actor earns after few years of career. Sometimes, when someone hails from filmi family, he gets the nickname easier, just after one movie.
Most presigious is Super Star, only stars like Rajnikanth are able to get this. In one industry the nickname is never repeated, though it can be changed a little or given to "crowned prince", it happens in families (see FAMILIES). For example ANR has nickname Natasamrat, his son's nickname was based on it. Later Nagarjuna gave his Yuva Samrat to his son, Chaittu, now he prefers to call him King (how modest). Super Star Krishna's son, earlier Prince, Mahesh Babu after blockbuster Pokiri get his dad's nickname.
It's not obligatory to have similar/same nicknames in one family, like Collection / Dialogue King Mohan Babu's son Manoj has nickname Rocking Star.
In Kollywood after Makkal Thilagam (People's Leader) MGR lots of nicknames has "politic" shadow - like Purathchi Thalapathy (Revolutionary Commander) Vijay.
In Kannada cinema nicknames are mostly English, similar to ones from other industries like Power Star Puneet. Mallu stars do have nicknames too, like Super Star Prithviraj. There are of course stars without any nicknames, like Siddharth (tough I heard about attempts to Youth Star), Dhanush or Surya.
Actresses has nicknames too, but it's rare when you compare number of those given to heros.
Sneha has one - Punnagai Arasi, and as I serched, she's the only active young actress to have one.
There is also something like TAG. Also appears before name, it's more obligatory to recognise someone, nickname is just a bonus and you know who's who without using it everytime.
It's mostly name of a significant movie, like Jayam was smashing Jayam Ravi's debut. Nobody knew him as Ravi Mohan. Directors also has it, like Bommarillu Bhaskar, thanks to his debut flick, as well choreographers, for example the guy who created Naaka Mukka.
But there's non-movie tag, it's Pawan Kalyan's tag, given him by his huge fanbase, due
to his mindblowing stunts he does with help of his black belt.
Kuthu Ramya (or Divya Spandana), Bombay Jayashree... Sometimes the tag is followed by "... fame someone", like "Tholi Prema fame" Karunakaran, but it's not a tag then, just a chinna mention.
My hobby? Collecting nicknames :D Enjoy my list, male ones only!, and list with Tamil ones, by South Scope (see PAPER STUFF).
O # OMG; orphan
OMG is a reaction for, for example, this photo:
Nothing like this? Uhmm, try this one:
Yedho seigirai? Illai? Last chance:
ORPHAN it's a word for someone who hasn't got parents. In SI movies it's not rare to be an orphan, quite populer, I would say :) The most memorable orphan ever is for sure the protagonist of Nayakan.
P # paper stuff; poetry; police
PAPER STUFF - magazines and posters.
There are two leading movie magazines in English - South Scope and Galatta Cinema. About South Scope only, these two in comparison.
Also there's a lot of reginal newspapers/magazines like Swati, Cinema (Mallu) etc. I admire SI poster! Best ones ever:
Seriously, the movie with best posters - VTV.
POETRY - in lyrics, movies and songs. I admire especially Tamil lyrics, where people like Vaali or Thamarai are able to creat feasts from words. No doubts Thirukkural couldn't be originated anywhere else than TN.
POLICE is only extremly good (Kaaka Kaaka) or extremly bad (Pokiri).
Q # que?
Everything thanks to movies!
Telugu is the most melodical one while poetry in tamil is immensly beautiful. Malayalam is like "topsy-turvy italian" (my friend said that, he's not into anything Indian :)), and shamefully I admit to mistake kannada with telugu sometimes but only when I listen to kannada songs.
Among all of them, the one most similar to hindi is telugu, tamil is clear from anything hindi, due to it's past (long story). Malayalam needs fexible tongue and kannada? Kannada needs good ear.
R # reality; remakes; rowdies
REALITY is controversial. But for me Tamil and Malayalam filmmakers are genious in that. Reality means mostly no masala - no super-duper fights (see LARGER THAN LIFE), no typical villains, no happy endings.
REMAKES - see this post.
Kannada industry has lust for remakes - about 60% of movies are remakes. I've read many times it can destroy the industry.
ROWDIES are another type of baddies but they doesn't have to be villains. Hero can be a rowdy too. Rowdies in group larger than 3 guys are dangerous, can chase eloped couple or poor person who's against some boss.
There is something like political goonda, for the first time this kind of character appeared in Prathighatana, telugu movie from year 1985. I'm not sure if I'm right, but I think such characters were present for example in Vettaikaran, Chatrapathi, Siva, Mudhalvan, Indra or Sainikudu.
S # sensuality; songs; special effects; stardom
SENSUALITY means that navel is the most important part in woman's body :P Connected with love (see LOVE).
SONGS - feast. For eyes and ears!
STARDOM is a place where the entry is limited but sometimes you can wonder how come some sillful people are out while "pure wood" rules.
Being a star is briefly connected to (see) FANBASE, without fans you can't be a star, right?
T # trophies
TROPHIES - there are lots of them, for example the one given for 100th day of some movie or movie awards like Filmfare South, Vijay Awards, South Scope Style Awards etc with four State Awards from Goverment of each State. In prestige, they are less than only National Awards.
Also awards from Goverment are known are the most just ones, noticing also artistic cinema. I do give my own awards, Bottle Awards, because since childhood I've been experiencing how unjust are most of them :)
U # urban
URBAN is always in opposite to village. Like fiction and reality.
Of course, there are many movies narrated in way where one half happens abroad and the other somewhere in India, but then the division isn't that clear, like we can separate general "spirit" of movies like VTV and Nadodigal.
Urban and village is connected to mass and class (see CLASS), multiplexes and single screens can be parted and labeled as A, B or C Centres, where audience in B and C so not approve any experiments easily, as I heard. Also small-bugdeted movies rather makes money in city multiplexes.
V # versatility; villains
VERSATILITY is a very special thing for actor - he can with ease play everymen or mental challenged person, doing mass entertaines as well artistic ones in the same time. Who's versatile? Mohanlal and Mammootty are Jacks of all trades but young fellas like Surya, Arya, Prithviraj, Sharwanand, Allari Naresh or Jeeva are near them, with Venkatesh being equally brilliant since years. Prakash Raj should have some award for being at the same time the best villain, policeman, goonda, father, teacher and, last but not least, brilliant performer :)
Hero have to rescue people with/out his lady love at least three times per movie. Villain sometimes loves the heroine. Or sometimes he's her father/grandfather/uncle/bother/mother/auntie/lover so it's even more complicated.
The general problem is how to kill the villain without being killed and save people/country/heroine/family (or everything in a row).
W # wardrobe
WARDROBE - costumes. Personally I want to stole clothes from 3 movies - Ready>, VTV and Sarvam.
Most significant South outfits? Langa voni, dhoti, lungi...
X # xtravagance
There's a lot of amazing choreographers like Imran, Harsha, Prabhu Deva, Raju Sundaram, Ashok Raj, Brinda, Nobel, Kalyan, Ahmed Khan, Lawerence, Dinesh or Geetha Kapoor among others. There are so many videos I can watch non stop thanks to amazing moves present there, made by them.
Y # ye?
Like 'Bommaali!!' or 'I'm hero, he's the villain!' (Sonu Sood dialogues) or 'Any doubts??', 'Educated fools!', 'Our thougths are one. - This coat is also one.', 'Ayyo ayyo ayyayo', 'Full happy dil kush!'.
I got custom sounds for Windows alerts, when I switch on my laptop, I hear Mahesh Babu's quote and while I face any error, Ram is telling me this :)
Marvelous scene which is a for me a defenition of mindblowing quotes - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfNvIDxO7aI.
Z # zany
ZANY? Many things are strange.
Lack of subtitles in abroad cinemas (in Poland there are no screenings, but many dvds, not only old ones, doesn't have subs, I've learned to understand
Telugu because of that :P).
Top heroines which cannot act at all.
And so on. But I do admire South Indian cinema and I prefer to focus on stuff which is more optymistic :) Like most of entries below.
Thanks for reading this post. What I said before, I am going to repeat - any suggestions or at best appreciation - are welcomed to be written in comments.
I've used various sources to get needed stuff, special thanks to Mariola's blog. Wiki Auntie, Google Uncle and various other sources helped me, as well my own knowledge (though it's little).
Images? Screencapses I've done, demotywator by Piyaara, cinegoer, behindwoods, idlebarin, google.
Big hug to makers of JDarkRoom!