WRITERS IN TAMIL THAT LEAVE US IN AWE AND…
Ever found yourself struggling to find the right words to express something simple as a singular sentence to send a friend via text? Now imagine an amplified version of this that would extend up to three hours to many strangers show after show? Storytelling is the core of cinema and neither is it a joke nor a lucky spark that clicks. It requires a sedulous amount of reading up, a whole lot of intellect, an observational eye functioning at all times and a gift for storytelling. Whether it is a witty take on society or a raw dramatic representation of it, a film is almost nothing without the story that connects the viewer to the film through its characters or situations. The Tamil film industry is blessed with such gems that have changed the face of storytelling, many a times amongst movies just made merely for entertainment or lost in complexity.
- K. BALACHANDER
From his strong footing and background as a playwright, this man changed the game of cinema by making the story the hero at a time when everyone was either a fan of the Nadigar thilagam or Puratchi Thalaivar. With his representations of society and its atrocities he not only incites the need of thinking but the beauty is he does not spoonfeed the viewer with his beliefs. His works later on explored the female thought or gave birth to heroes that weren’t guided by gender. All his films in one way or the other explore human emotions and the depth each relationship possesses. Whether it is the story of a woman having to take the burdens and responsibilities of running a family or a complex and almost incestual relationship between an older woman and a young chap, K.B touches on the core of these situations that is the humane reaction. He also has a great take on exploring the middle-class psyche and does so further in his TV serials that aired in 90s and 2000s.
- K. BHAGYARAJ
Earthy, raw and a pure representation of the world through the eyes of this man is what makes thousands swoon. With his quirky humour, his honest feelings, a smart choice of casting himself and with an interesting take on societal issues that are generally ignored, Bhagyaraj scores in the relatability angle. Anyone can be Bhagyaraj, anyone can have a pretty neighbor that him and two of his best friends have a crush on or anyone can be a struggling musician who is also struggling to find a decent place to stay in. Some of his works that are considered cult now came merely as an honest yet smartly crafted representation of life as he sees it. Although the characters are set in simple scenarios, their arcs are also respected and given the space to grow and change which doesn’t end with just the hero but every other character as well.
Enjoyed a Shankar film? Then you would’ve definitely enjoyed this man’s work. A prolific writer for screen and off screen, he knows the perfect recipe for a good commercial film, rather the perfect balance of story and the ‘mass’ requirements. Witty with words, his short stories are absolutely interesting to read and some of his ideas are both rooted and unique. An example would be how in Gentleman, the protagonist gets caught by the thaali ring that he wears in memory of his mother. Many films are a mere inspiration or adaptations of his works which is why S. Rangarajan was not just a name to look out for but a writer that inspires many.
- KAMAL HAASAN
All the skill of an actor and craftsman aside, Kamal is a brilliant screenwriter who has penned many wonderful scripts. His grandeur in thought and epic like writing in style brings to light so many of his opinions in the most beautiful manner. Tamil Cinema has films like Mahanadi, Virumaandi, Devar Magan and many others because of this man. The beauty of his writing is that he promotes a thought through the opposite of it, an example would be how Virumaandi promotes non violence but has well crafted violence throughout the film. His writing does not stop at a single layer and only on rewatching do you understand the many layers that are brought in at just the writing phase. An example would be how in Hey Ram, the idea of a clouded vision is physically represented through the glasses after the protagonist’s wife is murdered. It is also a screenplay inspired by the iconic speech by Mark Antony. Whether it is a comedy or a drama, Kamal proves that he is one of the most touted personalities in Indian cinema again and again.
Think of family comedy drama and you automatically think of Visu.A combination of stage and soaps confined into a two hour reel is every Visu movie. With the relatability factor, the keen middle class behavior observations and humor that sells every issue, Visu made films that were entertaining and quite eye opening. All his films had him cast as the helper character that aids in finding a conclusion or solution to arisen problem. His films also brought to light the many issues faced in society such as arranged marriages and the atrocious conditions that came with it in Manal Kayiru or joint families and the monetary divisions of the household in Samsaram Adhu Minsaram. The beauty of Visu’s work lies in the simplicity of it rather than in the grandeur.
An introduction to alternate in Tamil Cinema cannot be begun without this director’s name. From his first movie Thulluvadho Illamai to his latest, Selvaraghavan has always found a new perspective that was lost in all that masala and apparently sweet cinema that we were exposed to. Whether it was romance, coming of age, passion, ambition, child abuse or odd behavior; there was always a darker more real representation of the characters and their surroundings. A personal favorite is Mayakam Enna where the arc of the protagonist is not merely tragic but honest. Excluding the darkness and kind of noir feel that prevails over all his writing, he also promotes interesting thoughts into regular stories in films like 7G Rainbow Colony. Selvaraghavan is also not afraid of experimenting be it Aayirathil Oruvan or Irandam Ulagam where he tried genres most commonly used in hollywood. One of his cult classics that will remain time immemorial is Pudhupettai and remains as a gem in one of Selvaraghavan’s works as well.