Why Tamizh Padam is a Cult Classic

Tamizh Padam is a spoof movie which is one of its kind. The entire “story” is based on every other story in Tamil cinema. This film heavily relied on all the films that the viewer has already seen. The title says it all, it's a literal depiction of Tamil movies over the years. It generalises Tamil Cinema and comments on various things that are commonly done in Kollywood. Here are a few:

  • Characterization :
  • The protagonist’s character arc only goes up. There are dips but somehow he only succeeds. The Character has no flaw in him. He is portrayed to be a utopian man who always gets what he wants. He always does the right thing and is always there to help everyone. 

  • Sound and Music :
  • This film uses sounds and music to elevate scenes to provoke emotions. Sounds of other films are cleverly used in the right places to enhance the vibe of the film. They are spoofing. The song ‘oh mahaziya’ that was entirely constructed with the lyrics of other gibberish songs (lines that make no sense) of the industry and shows us how many songs have lyrics that actually mean nothing. It also shows us how we as an audience accept it and even enjoy such content.

  • Dialogues : 
  • There are references of so many movies that we can no longer keep a count of. The idea of a “ Punch dialogue “ is very popular in Tamil Cinema. This film justified that requirement largely. Usually such powerful dialogues are placed in a serious context, but here they have used similar dialogues to induce humour. 

  • Hero worship :
  • There are a lot of films where the people in the film worship the story’s protagonist. This film has taken this to another level. Shiva is able to do so many things that no other normal person can possibly do. The intro of the lead or the low angle shots, everything gives a larger than life sort of of an identity.

  • Absence of reality :
  • Reality is not seen anywhere in this film. Everything was highly exaggerated. This heavily comments upon how Tamil cinema has a lot of content that probably does not make too much practical sense. As viewers who look for entertainment in films, we want to escape from reality and our everyday worlds. That's usually why we are fascinated by anything that's outside of the ordinary. This leads to creating situations that's never possible in our everyday lives.

  • Costumes :
  • The film smartly used the Costumes and make up to help the viewer connect to the original character. This shows us how much the original scenes stay in our minds that even the smallest of references are enough to trigger us, and we can easily make connections and interpret what they are saying. 

  • Stereotypes :
  • This is a compilation of all possible stereotypes that we have about our society and our cinema. A “typical” film has to have romance, fight, drama, songs, sentiment and so on. Sometimes even if it is entirely irrelevant to incorporate such a thing, it's still included; which is exactly what is done in this film. Everything that is “expected” out of a movie is added. 

  • Breaking the 4th wall :
  • This happens when a character looks straight into the camera and talks to the audience. This sort of a feel makes a character come away from a story, out of the fiction that it was a part of. This film also creates such a vibe. 

  • Narrative :
  • When flashbacks are initiated the characters look up and the camera pans upwards to the sky. When a character explains the backstory as to why he was in a particular place, the camera cuts and opens when he is done with the story. This film comments on such things comically by making another character insist on the fact that the story was never told.

  • Joining the dots :
  • Even though this is a spoof, they managed to combine very different story lines to create one story. They stayed true to the genre they picked. Humour was present through all kinds of scenes, be it a very sentimental scene or a furious fight it was absolutely humour-filled. 

    The films that we have seen, how much we connect to it and how films have become a part and parcel of our lives is why Tamizh Padam was even possible. We as a community, use so many terms from films in our everyday lives so casually and mostly everyone gets the reference. We celebrate films, we spend our holidays on it and it has almost even become a ritual for many. It was definitely fun to have that little quiz in our heads trying to figure out which film they had recreated. 

    Sharmila GM

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