Friday, February 15, 2013

A Gulp of Kollywood

Everyday after work when I come home to my paying guest accommodation, I get a glimpse of Kollywood through the eyes of my roommate Kanimozhi (whose name by the way means 'language of the fruits' in ancient Tamil-still can't get my head around that one). Anyway so as I was saying, today I learnt that actor Karthi was actually a software engineer before he went on to become an actor and that Prabhu, whose face I have always found a tad too large, is the son of Shivaji Ganeshan. One thing I certainly realised is that Tamilians as a people are very resilient. They pursue precarious acting professions but only on the bread and butter of a 'real job' like an engineer's or a manager's. Think Hip Hop Tamizhla's Adi who told me once that even if his music doesn't work out he always had his MBA to fall back on.

Actor Prabhu

The other thing which I realised through some of my inevitable celluloid encounters (Kanimozhi can be married to a TV such is her devotion) is that these Kollywood types always have a huge element of the grotesque (the last time I heard that world was in my literature class while we studying gothic literature at the end of the 18th century) either through gory and bloody violence with body parts fall apart or through psychotic characters with a strain of madness. Sometimes I think the people who go to see these movies and the viewership by and large revels in being scared, whether it is the gruesome, spirit of Sonu Sood in Arundhati or Dhanush's crazy character in Kaadhal Kondai or more recently Kamal's violence in Viswaroopam, there is a fanatic zeal in portraying the real as the grotesque as if that would be the only way the audience would swallow the gruesome as the plausible.

 Guns, bombs and pigeons: Viswaroopam
Girls are raped and killed often with body parts torn apart, the archetype of the lecherous relative or neighbour, the psychologically scarred sibling growing up with supernatural energies, sweet prancing whimsical girls are all archetypes that precipitate towards a pervading sense of the grotesque. Makes me wonder what the whole point is? You go through all that trouble to make a film and leave the audience in the end feeling shaken, scared and insecure to live in this world. Maybe it's true the world is like that, it has all the gore, the ugliness and the perverted minds but what's the point in seeing a strip of celluloid that plays all your worst nightmares in front you-and ironically if you're watching in a theatre and you've paid for those nightmares too! Tsk, tsk. Kollywood- I am keeping you at arm's length for now.

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