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Rajnikant2007 : Year of a multi-coloured mosaic in South
31st Dec 2007  21.00 IST
By P. Sreekumaran  


The year 2007 did not witness a uniform pattern in South. While Tamil and Malayalam film industries saw the super stars dominating once again, in neighboring Tollywood, small budget films gave the blockbusters a run for their money, as it were. Kannada cinema also blazed a new trail in some respects.

TAMIL




It was well and truly the year of Rajnikant in Tamil cinema. The charismatic Rajni broke all box office records through his magnum opus ‘ Sivaji – The Boss’. Shivajirao Gaekwad – the real name of Rajni – scaled new peaks of popularity not only in India but also abroad. ‘Sivaji’ ran to packed houses even in countries like US, Singapore and, of course, Japan, where he is an iconic figure.

The Shanker-directed ‘Sivaji’ became the top grosser of the year in Tamil cinema. The “sultan of style” cast a magic spell on cine-goers with his swashbuckling performance in and as ‘Sivaji’.

Soaking in the super success of ‘Sivaji’, Rajnikant is all set to act in an animation film, ‘Sultan The Warrior’, made by his daughter Soundarya in the new year.

As if that is not enough, Rajni fans will be delighted to know that the highest paid actor in India may also do a feature film produced by his mentor K. Balachander and Panchu Arunachalam. The grapevine has it that the film may go on the floors in 2008.

Next in popularity was “Ilayadalapathi” (Crown Prince) Vijay . Vijay had a super hit in his kitty: Pokkiri , a remake of the Telugu film with the same title. The ‘Pokkiri’ success helped Vijay re-establish his hold on the masses. ‘Pokkiri’, like ‘Sivaji’, did extremely well in Kerala and even in Sri Lanka.

The number three hero was Ajit who hit the jackpot with Billa . A remake of the Rajni-starrer with the same name, ‘Billa’ created a record of sorts in the first week’s collection matching that of ‘Sivaji’! ‘Billa’ catapulted Ajit to the very top. Technological excellence and super cinematography and a slick James Bond image – all helped Ajit to dazzle on the silver screen.

Surya attracted the eye with ‘Vel’ in the company of beauteous Asin . ‘Vel’ exploded one myth in respect of Surya: that he is essentially an urban phenomenon. The year 2008 is going to be a good one for Surya if the enthusiastic reception to ‘Vel’ is any indication.

Rajni’s son-in-law Dhanush also shrugged off the indifferent streak in his career with a polished show in ‘Polladhavan’ and earlier in Thiruvilayadal Aarambham . In ‘Polladhavan’, Dhanush endeared himself to the masses with a realistic performance unlike the larger-than-life roles he usually enacts. The audience simply liked him in ‘Polladhavan’.

Among the newcomers, Karthi Shivakumar made a dream debut with Paruthiveeran . Karthi, younger brother of Surya, essayed the role of a rough and tough character with a panache and aplomb unseen in a newcomer. No wonder, the film won an award at a film festival overseas, too.

Vikram had an indifferent year with no release. His much-hyped film, ‘Bheema’, got delayed many times and is yet to see the light of the day. The Anniyan hero will have to wait for the New Year to bounce back in style.

If Rajni remained the numero uno among heroes, Nayantara proved the number one among heroines. In ‘Billa’, the glamorous Nayan looked at her glamorous and sexiest best. No other heroine looked so gorgeous and fetching as Nayan did in ‘Billa’. It was a feast for the eyes for the Tamil film fans.

Asin also remained in the top bracket with a super hit ‘Pokkiri’ and year-ender, ‘Vel’. The year 2007 also saw Asin entering Bollywood with the Hindi remake of her super hit Ghajini with Aamir Khan in the male lead. All in all, it was a good year for the Kerala-born Asin Thottungal.

Although she managed to secure the dream role in ‘Sivaji’ opposite Rajnikant, Shriya could not hold on to the top position which the film should have given her. But her Azhagiya Tamizh Magan proved a flop, detracting from her super image in the wake of ‘Sivaji’.

The find of 2007 in a way was newcomer Priyamani who attracted attention in ‘Paruthiveeran’. The girl was literally in the seventh heaven when the honour of lighting the lamp at the India International Film Festival in Goa went to her. And that, too, in the company of Shah Rukh Khan !

Trisha ’s Kireedam was not a super hit. But the character she played in the movie, Divya, went well with audience.

MALAYALAM

The Malayalam cinema saw as many as 64 films being made in 2007. As usual mega stars Mammootty and Mohanlal dominated the box office. But young actor Prithviraj also came into his own with a super hit titled ‘Chocolate’.

Among the top grossers were Mammootty’s ‘Mayavi’ and ‘Katha Parayumbol’, Mohanlal’s ‘Hallo’ and ‘Chotta Mumbai’, Dileep’s ‘Vinodayatra’ and Prithviraj’s ‘Chocolate’. Not to be left behind, action hero, Suresh Gopi also had a hit in his name: Nadiya Kollapeta Rathri . Actor Srinivasan came up with a riveting performance in ‘Arabikatha’.

But it can be said without fear of contradiction that the film of the year is Prithviraj’s ‘Chocolate’. It not only attracted audience attention but also raked it in at the box office. With ‘Chocolate’, Prithviraj has sent a strong signal: that he has hit the big league now. What made ‘Chocolate’ a super hit was the novelty of its theme apart from Prithvi’s standout performance. The film is about a boy studying in an all-women’s college. The college students and youth related to the film in a big way, making it a huge success.

Top director Adoor Gopalakrishnan also made a fabulous film, titled ‘Nalu Pennungal’. The film, dealing with four women, was a huge draw in foreign film festivals. It was Adoor at his creative best.

Comely Kavya Madhavan , Meera Jasmine and Navya Nair had a good year with hits to their credit. Kavya was extremely good in Adoor’s ‘Nalu Pennungal’ while Meera gave a good account of herself in Rasathantram and Ore Kadal .

The entry of Tamil actress Vimala Raman into Malayalam cinema was another feature of 2007. Vimala managed to act with all super stars like Mammootty, Mohanlal, Suresh Gopi and Jayaram – a feat unmatched by other debutants.

TELUGU

The most significant feature of Telugu cinema was that small budget films made their mark, refusing to be dwarfed by the big budget films.

Among the small budget films that did extremely well were: ‘Happy Days’, ‘Mantra’, ‘Anasuya’ and ‘Mee Shreyobhilashi’.

Of course, the pick of the lot was ‘Happy Days’, directed by Sekhar Kammula. The film, with a powerful story line, was a runaway success. The fact that the protagonists were all newcomers added to the freshness and success of the film.

The success of ‘Happy Days’ has proved a morale booster for small budget films. The year 2008 is likely to witness more such films.

The increasing interest taken by corporates in film production also is a new trend in Telugu cinema. As many as of 217 films were made in Telugu in 2007.

The year saw the entry of UTV into film production. The film, ‘Atithi’ with Mahesh Babu in the title role proved a moderate success.

Pyramid Saimira also forayed into film production. It supported the production of a few small films besides building up a theatre network.

The top films of the year were ‘Yamadonga’ (Junior NTR), ‘Desa Muduru’ (Allu Arjun), ‘Dhee’ (Vishnuvardhan), ‘Lakshyam’ (Gopichand), ‘Chiruta’ (Ram Charan) and ‘Tulasi’ (Venkatesh). The Chiranjeevi -starrer ‘Shankar Dada Zindabad’ (the remake of Lage Raho Munnabhai ), ‘Maharadhi’ (Balakrishna) and ‘Annavaram’ (Pawan Kalyan) were also well received.

KANNADA

The Kannada film industry had a reasonably good year with as many as 92 films seeing the light of the day.

The top grossers were winners ‘Dhuniya’, ‘Arasu’, ‘Sixer’, ‘Pallakki’, ‘Hudugaata’, ‘Cheluvina Chittara’, ‘Sri Dhanamma Devi’, ‘Satyavan Savitri’, ‘Manmatha’, ‘Orata I Love You’, ‘Yuga’, ‘Chanda’, ‘Shukra’, ‘Milana’, ‘Aa Dinagalu’ and ‘Krishna’ made profits.

For young Ganesh 2007 was a year to remember. Films like 'Mungaru Male' (released on 29th December 2006) 'Cheluvina Chittara', 'Hudugaata' and 'Krishna' made a business of more than Rs 100 crore! Of his films, 'Mungaru Male' ran for a year, making Ganesh a top notcher.

Dashing Vijay also had a terrific year with a slew of hits: ‘Dhuniya’, ‘Yuga’, ‘Geleya’ and ‘Chanda’.

Puneeth Rajkumar also remained in the limelight with films such as 'Arasu and Milana'. Both ran for more than 100 days and raked in Rs. 20 crore.

Heroines who took the eye were Pooja Gandhi, Amoolya and Rashmi.



Related
Rajnikant
Sivaji
Vijay
Pokkiri
Billa
Surya
Asin
Dhanush
Thiruvilayadal Aarambham
Karthi Shivakumar
Paruthiveeran
Vikram
Anniyan
Nayantara
Asin
Ghajini
Aamir Khan
Shriya
Azhagiya Tamizh Magan
Priyamani
Shah Rukh Khan
Trisha
Kireedam
Mammootty
Mohanlal
Prithviraj
Suresh Gopi
Nadiya Kollapeta Rathri
Kavya Madhavan
Meera Jasmine
Navya Nair
Rasathantram
Ore Kadal
Vimala Raman
Jayaram
Mahesh Babu
Chiranjeevi
Lage Raho Munnabhai
Ganesh
Puneeth Rajkumar





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