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Posts tagged ‘tamil cinema’


I was surprised when the entry fee to PRARTANA open air theatre on the East Coast Road at Chennai  was a mere Rs.120/- for the opening show of BOSS YENGIRA BASKARAN. Of course they collected ramp charges of Rs.30 per vehicle ( i call it vehicle as a “Scorpio” according to me is neither an SUV nor a car and borders on a mini truck) and many of those Scorpios were parked in the bays, obstructing the view of the late arriving aerodynamically designed Honda cars.

I was surprised because in Bangalore and Delhi, the rates of cinema tickets are exorbitantly high and on weekends there is a quantum jump, putting the budgeting families in disarray. As usual i asked a couple of my friends as to why the pricing was so “cheap” and the standard answer was that, by such pricing the exhibitors believe they would be able to attract family viewership. Not satisfied with the explanation given by them, i decided to google and ended up with an AMENDMENT to the Rules regarding Cinema Houses extracted below:-

Tamil Nadu Cinemas (Regulation) Rules, 1957

(vi) The maximum and minimum rates of admission to the theatres in the
Multiplex having more than three theatres with air-condition and with family
entertainment and restaurant facilities shall be of Rs.120/- and Rs.10/-,

G.O. Ms. No.405 Dated :20.05.2009

So that says it all. The Government of Tamil Nadu keeps stepping in and regulates the ENTERTAINMENT industry. What is more poignant is that SOCIALISM in the Thamizh Entertainment industry has reached such levels that there is a prescription of the minimum rate of the seats too, thereby compulsorily forcing the theatre operators to not only allot seats for Rs.10/- but also make it affordable for even an indigent idler in the society!

I LOVE YOU TAMIL NADU! Yaam petra inbam iv vaaiyagam peruga!! There is no such thing called as FREE ENTERPRISE, watching a movie is not merely a liberty in Tamil Nadu , but a SUBSIDISED  RIGHT ( at the cost of the Cine industry, distributors and exhibitors!) for every movie goer. The rest of the country has a lotta catching up to do!!

Entertainments Tax (Section 4)
A. Entertainment Tax on Cinema shows from 12.6.2000 onwards :
(a) At the rate of
twenty five percent of the gross payment for admission inclusive of the
amount of the tax for new films; and
(b) at the rate of
twenty percent of the gross payment for admission inclusive of the
amount of the tax for old films;

Now the Entertainment Tax on a ticket is 25% and that is supposed to go to local bodies and the States revenues. The state does not relent in the collection of Entertainment Tax for Cinemas but it squeezes the theatre operators and does a whole lotta SOCIALISM. There, it seems, is a more succinct expression for  ROBBING PETER TO PAY PAUL and that is SOCIALISM!! If Peter has the capacity and the enterprise to provide a service or manufacture an item and create a demand, the society SHOULD NOT impose such exorbitant taxes and to compound to it by fixing a ceiling to the rates.

ANYWAYS some of the Thamizhargal believe that this is the way to propagate Thamizh!! Long live Thamizh.


The Thamizh cinema had produced one of the most unexplained phenomena in Rajnikanth, the SUPER STAR of Thamizh cinema. To give a brief history of Rajnikanth i should rely on wikipedia:-

Shivaji Rao Gaekwad (born on 12 December 1950),[1] professionally known by his stage name Rajinikanth (Tamil: ரஜினிகாந்த்; Kannada: ರಜನೀಕಾಂತ್; Marathi: रजनीकांत), is an Indian film actor. He received India’s third highest honour, the Padma Bhushan, for his contribution to Indian cinema.[2] He is best known for his mass popularity and appeal, largely drawn from his mannerisms and stylized delivery of dialogue in films. Other than acting, Rajinikanth worked as a screenwriter, film producer, and also a playback singer. Apart from his film career, he is a philanthropist and also serves as an influence in the politics of Tamil Nadu.

Rajinikanth debuted as an actor in 1975 under the direction of K. Balachander in supporting roles. He was later favoured in portraying antagonistic characters and gradually rose to acting in lead roles. After the release of his 1978 film Bhairavi, he became known as the “super star” of Tamil cinema, which was the title given to him by film producer S. Thanu and till this date used by many people to refer to him.[3][4] He also appeared in the cinemas of other nations, including American cinema. He was paid Rs. 26 crores for Sivaji: The Boss, making him the highest paid actor in Asia after Jackie Chan.

CINEMA is an audio-visual entertainment. Therefore there are 2 aspects that are essential for captivating the audience. One is the VOICE and the other is the SIGHT. So to be successful in cinema one has to excel in either of these essentials. The VOICE is absolutely essential for a MALE ACTOR. I have not seen a successful MALE ACTOR’S voice dubbed and his screen presence  alone  used by the Director. For a male actor the VOICE is the distinguishing factor. For example, Katarina Kaif cannot talk in Hindi, but she is a successful actress without her voice ever being a part of the film. Such is the case with a whole host of heroines who land up in Madras from the other side of the hills!! But one cannot separate  the man’s VOICE from his presence.  Rajnikanth had to create a space for himself and he did. He accentuated the pace of his dialogue delivery. But the VOICE alone would not carry the day in an AUDIO-VISUAL entertainment.  So his pace in movement and his mannerisms were kept in tune with the TIMING of his dialogue delivery speed. In fact he speeded up the Thamizh language.

It was this SPEEDING UP of the THAMIZH language which created his space. Maybe, had he arrived in the 50’s this would not have cut much ice with the public, the TIMING changes in the MID 70’s. And there u have the phenomenon. The original and NATURALLY ORIGINAL RAJNIKANTH. Whether he filled up an evolving void or created the void to fill himself up, is a conundrum. (Kaatru vandha dhaal kodi asaindha dhaa? illai kodi asaindhadhaal kaatru vandhadha?)




In the News Channel NDTV, Dr.Prannoy Roy asked the panelists whether the North Indians are likely to elect an Actor centric party like in the South of India.


The Southern states were predominantly composed of the Madras state, Mysore state, Travancore-Cochin state, and a host of smaller vassal princely states besides Nizam’s territories. With the division of states on linguistic basis in the late fifties, states were crystallized based on the language and the culture was duly reflected in the languages such as Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu and Kannada. Therefore there was a UNITY IN CULTURE WITH LANGUAGE AS THE BASIS. This brought out a HOMOGENEITY within the Southern states, whereas in the state of Bihar there are minimum 3 well known languages viz. Bhojpuri, Mythili and Angeeka, with distinct cultural uniqueness yet one cannot view those cultural uniqueness thru movies, but have to travel to Bihar to savour those.

Likewise Haryana has Haryanvi, Punjab has Punjabi, UP has Hindustani, Awadhi and Urdu etc., and each language brings its own flavour but such flavours are not brought out in the main stream Hindi cinema. Instead in the Hindi cinema there is a lot of stereotyping. For example a Tamilian is portrayed as a devout Brahmin timid and mostly called THAMBI!! Likewise, with regard to many states the stereotyping goes on for easier understanding of the illiterate masses of the Indo-Gangetic plains!!

Therefore the Heroes of Hindi movies are a jumble reflecting a wide variety of traits, which could be at variance with one another culturally. They cannot unify the population of even a state, leave alone the NORTH as a whole. At best, they could only get a ticket to contest from an established political party and contribute their popular visibility to the party that had offered them the ticket. In fact in the 2004 elections NONE OF THE MOVIE STARS WHO CONTESTED THE LOK SABHA ELECTIONS from the North LOST! Therefore it is the lack of CULTURAL HOMOGENEITY and lack of a POLITICAL PARTY that had prevented the movie stars from the Hindi industry from having such a sway. However the Cricket stars have done pretty well in the Northern states- eg Chetan Chauhan, Navjot Sidhu, Kirti Azad and even Azharuddin, who have all leveraged their popularity and become prominent politicians. In fact, it would not be an exaggeration, if one thinks that Cricket stars are more welcome in the Northern states than cine stars merely for the above mentioned reasons!!

Moreover there have been many movie stars who had tried their hands at Politics and lost. For each MGR,there are 50 others who faded without a trace. It must be understood that MGR did not make it merely on his film popularity, he was the EYE-CATCHER used by C.N.Annadurai (whose knowledge and social understanding were phenomenal) to popularize the party policies thru his movies. It was this visibility that he gained which came in handy when he was made to throw in his hat in the ring, by the wily R.Venkataraman, for decimating the sway of the DMK.

It would be too simplistic to say that movie stars make it in the Southern states as political chiefs whereas in the Northern states such tamashe is not allowed. There is no cultural unity in the northern movies, further the political ideologies have not been spread thru the movies as it has been done in the southern states.

If one were to look into the recent award given to Vivek, a Tamil comedian, it has been stated by no less a person than Dr.Abdul Kalam that the award was for playing roles that educated the movie going masses in Tamilnadu. The process of education that is carried forward in the Southern languages, thru Cinema, is considerable. In fact, i am filled with pity when the majority of the Gangetic plains of India, does not have a medium to reflect, voice, disseminate its culture except thru the eyes of the Financiers and the cine industry of Mumbai.

Further by hindsight, the PRP of Andhra Pradesh, despite the movie popularity of Chranjeevi could not duplicate the feat of NTR in the recently concluded 2009 Parliament elections in the state. Kerala as a state has never propped any cine star in the political set up of the state. Therefore to class all the southern states, as movie crazy is too simplistic and fallacious.

The important point to be noted is that since Independence, the South Eastern states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have performed better than the national average in terms of literacy, productivity and development in general, so entertainment has become an integral part of the lives of the common man and as a proof, in Tamil Nadu, every household below poverty line has been promised/given a TV. They have moved over from Re.1/- for a Kg of rice to ENTERTAINMENT.

Dr.Roy’s premise seems to have an in-built ignorance in the framing of the question. Bias is inevitable, but giving those biases the respectability of  National debate is preposterous!!

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