Have you ever noticed that every Tamil film trailer, irrespective of the genre, has a pattern? I mean it’s all different but looks and feels the same. Confused? Let me break it down and explain.
Be it action, drama, thriller, rom-com etc., you can see the following elements in Tamil film trailers.
- Loud music
- Punch dialogues
- Shots of extraordinary fight scenes
- Slow close up and Dutch angle shots of the heroes wearing their shirts. Also, shot of his arms, eyes, legs and maybe even his moustache.
- Few shots of flashy dance numbers
The directors in Tamil cinema are so focused on showing the grandeur of the film that they miss some core elements that actually makes a good trailer. If it’s a Tamil cop movie, the trailers are highly dependent on the hero’s persona, punch dialogues and title font that appears with fancy video effects, rather than establishing the characters, the story’s set up and to an extent the details of the plot.
In an effort to create a stylish film, the filmmakers in Tamil, some of them inspired from Hollywood movies, incorporate elements like car racing, electronic music, casino scenes and guns. Now, they don’t get it that these are a part of the US culture and many won’t be able to relate to nor understand the plot of the movie.
Despite being stylish with good actors, often, we see movies with these elements not doing well at the box office as they lack the nativity touch; rather they are unIndian-like for Indian audience.
This can be related to the failure of Vivegam directed by Siva and the success of Singam directed by Hari.
Vivegam starring Ajith was praised for the stylish, ‘foreign padam’ like image, but miserably failed when it came to story and translating it into a film. Except a few, which commoner in India would be interested to know about Russian mafia gang, Europol police and arm exchange deals? This is what I meant when I said unindian-like.
Conversely, in Singam, an action masala film starring Surya is a cop film exclusively for Tamil audience. The story revolves around a cop, who dislikes an extortionist with political affiliations. Despite being a masala film with loose story, the film managed to engage its audience with its native elements. The punch dialogues were in Tamil unlike in Vivegam, which certainly created an expectation about the film before its release.
Coming back to the topic- Tamil film trailers. What makes a good trailer? Let’s see this from the audience point of view. If I have to spend money to watch a movie, I would at least expect the movie’s trailer to:
-Give me an insight into the characteristics of the protagonist and the antagonist.
-Engage me- make me travel with the plot
-Give me a surprise element when I watch the actual movie
-Expect the film to do justice to its title
After watching a lot of trailers in Tamil, some of the movie trailers that caught my attention were, Vikram Vedha and Aruvi.
Vikram Vedha: This movie is unique and making a trailer is quite a challenge because there is no good guy in the movie. Both Madhavan (Vikram) and Vijay Sethupathi (Vedha) are bad. However, the difference is how they have explained the character of the protagonists in 2 minutes. After seeing the video we are able to say that Vikram, the cop, is more of a good or bad and there is no in between kind of a character. While Vedha sees the grey part. He looks and analyses the reason behind any problem. He knows he is wrong, but gives out explanation and justification of why his wrong deeds are right.
The film stars two big heroes from the Tamil film industry. The trailer has given equal screen space for both. The very first shot of the film tells who is the cop and the rowdy as you can see the Madhavan holding the gun and Vijay Sethupathi holding a long knife with blood. Also, the song compliments the movie story by revealing the message of the film- The good and bad are equal. After 2 minutes 36 seconds, you can understand what kind of movie it is and who plays what role. Don’t you think this is what a common man will look for while he wants to watch a movie?
Aruvi: This film fits into all the criteria listed out earlier. The first shot of the trailer opens with a small girl sitting and looking at the ‘Aruvi’ (waterfalls). This is followed by quick shots of the grown up Aruvi labeled as terrorist by the media. The trailer is full of contradictions, which engages the audience by constantly making us question is Aruvi is calm girl who loves family or a terrorist or just hopelessly romantic. For example, a card in the trailer says ‘The rebel’ immediately followed by a guy in the voice over saying ‘Romba amaidhiyana ponnu sir’. This definitely builds our curiosity, which in turn makes us to watch the movie. The film also has a twist when the protagonist reveals her disease- this sheerly took the audience by surprise. Finally, the film justified the title of the movie- Aruvi. The protagonist has overflowing love towards her people.
Written by - Sarada Sri