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2005 : A Mixed melange for Southern cinema
31st Dec 2005 18.00 IST
By P. Sreekumaran
It was a mixed mélange for cinema in the South in the year 2005. While Kannada and Malayalam film worlds witnessed a slew of experiments, Telugu and Tamil cinema traversed familiar ground sticking to the formula format.
The year 2005 will go down as the year of Mammootty in Malayalam cinema. The other underlying message is that super stars alone deliver super hits. Not a good trend. But there is no shutting your eyes to the reality.
Mammootty dominated Mollywood during the year while his archrival on the reel Mohanlal was a pale shadow of his box office best. Others like Suresh Gopi , Jayaram, Dileep and Prithviraj were left way behind.
Like in 2004, in 2005 too Mammootty acted in the maximum number of films. The year saw Mammoos essaying six films, of which two were super hits. Not one of his films bombed at the box office this year too.
He started off with a superhit Thommante Makkal . The Shafi-directed flick also saw the megastar going for a lighter role with scope for a bit of comedy. His other films like 'Rappagal', Thaskaraveeran also set the cash registers ringing. Nerariyan CBI , the fourth in the CBI series, a world record of sorts, also did reasonably well at the box office.
It was a mixed year for Mohanlal. The talented actor had two hits in 2005 unlike 2004 where he could not boast of a single hit. Mohanlal started off the year with a bang. His flick Udayananu Tharam became a super hit. It was a comeback of sorts for Mohanlal. 'Udayananu Tharam' also marked Mohanlal's new milestone in terms of acting. It was a restrained performance from a megastar whose larger than life roles had started to pall. However, he could not maintain the momentum generated by UT. Subsequent films like 'Chandrolsavam' and Udayon did not do well. 'Udayon' caused a big loss to the producer.
In the nick of time, Mohanlal delivered with another hit in the form of Naran . His character Mullamkelli Velayudhan in 'Naran' struck a responsive chord among the audience. It was a role with a difference.
Then came Thanmatra . It is too early to assess its box office rating. But, 'Thanmatra' saw Mohanlal the actor scaling new peaks of histrionics. Without doubt, 'Thanmatra' is one of Mohanlal's best roles since 'Vanaprastham'. Another film that attracted notice was the Santosh Sivan-directed Ananthabhadram based on sorcery, blackmagic and rural folklore. Mohanlal's 'Thanmatra' and 'Ananthabhadram' marked Malayalam cinema's jabs at experimentation.
Young actor Dileep had only three films in 2005 : 'Kochi Rajavu', Pandippada and Chaandupottu . Of this, 'Kochi Rajavu' was a moderate success. 'Pandippada' did not set the box office on fire but it did not cause any loss to the producer. The superhit was 'Chaandupottu'. The film saw Dilip playing the transvestite. It was a huge hit with the female audience too with women going ga ga over the role with distinct feminine characteristics.
2005 also marked a comeback year for action king Suresh Gopi. The comeback vehicle Bharathchandran IPS made gigantic waves at the box office. It was a timely reprieve for Gopi who was fading out fast. Of the young actors only Prithviraj has managed to stay afloat despite a crop of failures. 'Albhuthadweep', 'Krithyam', 'The Police' and 'Ananthabhadram'. These were his four films. Only 'Ananthabhadram' made its presence felt at the box office. In between he hopped over to neighbouring Tamil Nadu and hit the limelight with a villain role in 'Kana Kandein'.
But the biggest blockbuster has been Rajamanikyam directed by Anwar Rashid. The film went on to become a super duper hit with people thronging in huge numbers to listen to Mammookka mouthing the Thiruvananthapuram lingo with gusto.
2005 saw the migration of Malayalee girls to other languages and other-language heroines making a beeline to Kerala to be the heroines of superstars. Both Meera Jasmine and Navya Nair did well in Kollywood. Meera acted in Kasturiman and 'Sandaikozhi' while Navya figured in 'Chidambarathil Appasaamy'. Now she has 'Aadum Koothu' for which TV Chandran had first considered Meera but replaced her with Navya. Comely Kavya Madhavan attracted attention in Santosh Sivan-directed 'Ananthabhadram'. Gorgeous Gopika has 'Chanthupottu' and 'Nerariyan CBI' to count on in 2005.
It was a year of blockbusters in Kollywood. The year was rocked by the Khushboo controversy too. The positive side first.
Superstar Rajnikant maintained his Number One status in Tamil cinema. The phenomenal success of his Chandramukhi proved that when it comes to box office pull, there is none in Kollywood who can come anywhere near Rajni. 2005 was kind to young actors Vikram , Vijay and Surya as well. Vikram rose to the top with fabulous run of Anniyan while Vijay tasted success with Sivakasi . Surya's Ghajini also did well at the box office. The other superstar Kamal Haasan had an indifferent year with his Mumbai Xpress coming a cropper.
As for the heroines, it was a no-holds-barred race for the top slot among Jyothika , Asin and Nayanthara . Asin enjoyed a slight edge with superhit films under her belt in 'Sivakasi' and 'Ghajini'. Nayantara had only 'Chandramukhi' to flaunt while she did two peppy item numbers in 'Sivakasi' and 'Ghajini'. Jyothika also did well with 'Chandramukhi' enhancing her status in Kollywood.
Kollywood also witnessed a raging controversy generated by the remark of actress Khushboo on pre-marital sex. The remark outraged Tamil sentiments and set off a slew of cases against the former No. 1 in Kollywood. Ultimately she had to apologise. But even as the storm was abating, actress Suhasini raked it up by defending Khushboo. Like Khushboo, Suhasini also had to say sorry for the fires of controversy to die out.
Actor Vijayakant chose to dabble in politics by forming a party of his own. The year will also be remembered for the controversial poster featuring Nayantara and Silambarasan. The posters showing the duo locking lips touched off a wave of revulsion in Chennai and other areas of Tamil Nadu. 'Normalcy' was restored only when the police removed the offensive posters. The year also was witness to a suicide attempt by producer Kaja Moideen due to financial problems over the Kamal Haasan-starrer 'Vettayadu Vilayadu'. The 'sultana of smiles' Sneha also found herself in the eye of a storm with her 'boyfriend' attempting suicide.
Year 2005 marked no major departure for Telugu cinema. Experimentations were far and few with directors choosing to play it safe.
The highlight of the year was Telugu superstar Chiranjeevi 's latest movie "Jai Chiranjeeva". The Vijaya Bhaskar-directed film once again established Chiranjeevi's cult status in Tollywood. The film has been salvaged by the larger than life presence of Chiru who plays a do-gooder. Songs of 'Jai Chiranjeeva' are already big hits. "Jai Ganesh" and "Thillana" to mention two. The film shows that when it comes to box office pull, Chiru still reigns supreme.
The other hit films of the year were 'Mahanadi' starring Sri Hari, 'Chatrapathi' featuring Prabhas and the Mohan Babu-starrer 'Political Rowdy'. Then there was Super with Nagarjuna in the lead role and 'Allari Pidugu' of Balakrishna.
'Allari Pidugu' also marked the Telugu debut of Bollywood belle Katrina Kaif . The film did not set the box office on fire, but Katrina made her presence felt.
Ravishing Ramya and Shivarajkumar and Puneet Rajkumar, dominated the Kannada cinema in 2005. Ramya became the Number one with three superhits in her kitty, 'Akash', 'Gowramma' and Amrithdhare . The top five flicks were 'Jogi' , 'Akash', 'Gowramma', 'Amrithdhare' and 'Ayya'.
Bollywood Shahenshah Amitabh Bachchan made a big splash into Kannada films by essaying a cute cameo in 'Amruthadhare'. Tamil superstar Kamal Haasan also figured in a Kannada film after a gap of 16 years. The film, Rama Shama Bhama , has touched a responsive chord among the Kannada film fans. The local superstar Upendra had a moderate year. Only 'Gowramma' raked it in in 2005.
Kannada cinema tried its hand in new experiments in films like 'Gowramma' and 'Rama Shama Bhama'. That the experiment clicked was clear from the fabulous audience response to both the films. The year also saw the State Government honoring the enduring icon of Kannada cinema, Dr. Rajkumar.
Rama Shama Bhama
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