2015 in South Box Office.

 

The South India lifestyle is indispensable without cinema. Some of the country’s biggest stars and some of most significant contributions have come from the heartland of South, which is a cocktail of cinema and politics. As 2016 is round the corner, 2015 has been a memorable year at the cinemas for South Indian cinema lovers.

 

Telugu Cinema

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2015 is one of the biggest years for Telugu Cinema in a very long time. They have not only made India’s largest motion picture in the name of Baahubali but also one of the country’s best in recent years.

Packed with the best visual effects and splendid action sequences, Baahubali set the cash registers ringing to become the highest ever grossing movie both nationally and internationally wiping all dynamics of Indian cinema.

If somebody capitalized on the momentum Baahubali gave it was Gunasekhar’s Rudramadevi which is India’s first stereoscopic 3D film. The story of Kakatiya warrior queen Rudramadevi had powerful performances played by Anushka who played the titular role and Gona Ganna Reddy played by Allu Arjun. It was another proud moment for Telugu cinema.

While people were raving about Baahubali and Rudramadevi, Krish arrived with another solid film in form of Kanche. Set in the backdrop of World War-II, Krish nicely wove the war theme into the subtext of rooted differences in the society against the backdrop of a heart-touching love-story. With meticulous attention to detail of period locations, soulful soundtrack (with memorable lyrics) and remarkable cinematography, Krish delivered another classic. A word also to Varun Tej’s master performance.

 

While  Mahesh delivered another heart-touching commercial spectacle in form of Srimanthudu where art perfectly met commerce, Kalyan Ram’s Pataas irreverent humor from start to finish and Temper shouldered by a power-packed performance of NTR (with his 6-packs) celebrated commercial cinema Telugu Cinema is well-known for.

Telugu Cinema’s calendar year is incomplete without Bunny’s films.  Departing away from his regular commercial style, Allu Arjun teamed up with Trivikram Srinivas to celebrate the Dad-Son relationship with S/O Satyamurthy with sharp dialogues and palpable family emotions. Everybody didn’t like it but people couldn’t ignore it either.

Nani has always re-invented the wheel with his out of the box story selections. He greeted this Ugadi with Yevade Subramanyam which dealt with purpose, discovery, meaning and contentment which made people laugh and cry at the same time. Yevade Subramanyam wasn’t the regular commercial film as it stayed long after you left the cinemas and haunted you to think. Nani leaped to the next level with one of the year’s most pleasing films Bhale Bhale Magadivoi.  Packed with clean humor and natural performances, BBM set cash registers ringing like never before for small films.

As Telugu market is growing, so is the space for the small budget films also.  While Sukumar tested his pen with Kumari 21F which was a bold concept dealing with youth, love, relationships, sex and fidelity, Sriram Adittya made a strong debut with Bhale Manchi Roju, a hilarious dark comedy after a long time.  Both Kumari 21F and Bhale Manchi Roju had strong technical values, good writing and respect for audience’s intelligence and passion to deliver good cinema.

 

2015 is one of the most successful years for Telugu Cinema with as many as 25 films , both small and big tasting commercial success.  And now we look forward for Sankranthi 2016 as usual!

 

Tamil Cinema

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2015 for Tamil Cinema was a usual mixed bag of strong family dramas, beautiful dark comedies and striking thrillers. The year started with Shankar’s I which brought grand execution and competent film-making together with the stellar performance of Vikram and state of the art technical values especially for the prosthetic make-up scenes. Everybody didn’t quite like it but it sure deserves a tribute.

Kaaka Muttai produced by Dhanush and directed by Manikandan was a heart-touching drama of two slum kids’ desire to eat a pizza under the subtext of how the rich-poor divide still exists in the society. Very rarely does humor and story-telling marry so seamlessly.

Mani Ratnam had another statement to make in form of O Kadhal Kanmani which dealt about the modern day relationships. A beautiful love story set in Bombay, Ratnam was still young at heart when it comes to interpreting romance in the most exquisite way.

Gautham Menon completed his 3rd instalment of his “Police Trilogy” with Yennai Arindhaal. Ajith moved away from his masala while Gautham returned to Harris Jayaraj and everybody came together to pack another beautiful film with  a love story, a father-son subplot, a daughter-father rapport, a cop’s mission and a foes turned friends story.

Tamil Cinema is still the breeding ground for some of the best dark comedies to come out of India.  2015 had 3 beautiful dark comedies in the form of Rajathandiram, Orange Mittai and Naanum Rowdy Dhaan. While Rajathandiram dressed up a beautiful con thriller under the backdrop of a beautiful revenge sage, Orange Mittai had statements to make on loneliness and relationships under the garb of a nurse-patient conversations while Naanum Rowdy Dhaan reinvented gangster love stories with a slight thriller tinge to it. All the movies had good soundtracks, inspired performances, slick technical values and promising film-makers ideas projecting a beautiful future.

Jayam Ravi’s Thani Oruvan arrived as a surprise bag with Arvind Swami playing a negative role. An interesting political thriller with the right amount of action and drama, everybody raved about Arvind Swami’s crackling portrayal of Siddarth Abhimanyu.

Kamal Haasan had 3 releases this year.  Kamal’s semi-auotbiographical Uttama Villain had a poignant tale of a dying stars last days and his reconcilations  while his 2nd release Papanasam was a beautiful film with strong nativity, meaty performances and tight story-telling. Only Kamal can make people forget the original (starring Mohanlal).

2016 looks exciting as the veterans and the new comers compete with each other to make more exciting films

Malayalam Cinema

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The quiet happening industry sitting in Kochi alleged to sweep national awards every year continued its tradition in 2015 with memorable films.

Following suit of Bangalore Days and Drishyam, this year’s runaway hit Premam (touted to be remade in various Indian languages) was the talk of the town. A man’s romantic journey as he grows from a feisty teenager to a matured adult , Premam was a whiff of fresh air among the current love stories stuck in the wheel of contemporary lifestyle with the typical Kerala charm.  Nivin’s another release Oru Vadakkan Selfie, a well packed comedy thriller treaded the journey of friends from Thalaserry to Chennai as it brought beautiful moments to audiences with the perfect mix of humor, love, friendship and thrill.

Ennu Ninte Moideen, a romantic movie based on a real-life story of Moideen and Kanchanamala, a couple from north Kerala, attracted both classes and masses and was hailed by critics as one of the most evergreen romantic films of Malayalam.

Amar Akbar Anthony, starring Prithviraj, Jayasuriya and Indrajith was a comedy riot with a loads of humor and twists packed beautifully by director Nadirshah reinventing Malayalam comedy with this sleeper hit.

Kerala continued its love for female centric films with Aashiq Abu’s “Rani Padmini”, a road movie noted for the stellar performance of Rima Kallingal and Manju Warrier, and Amala Paul’s Mili which revolves around the life of an introvert woman.

2015 continues to be a great year for Dulquer Salmaan. While he arrived in spring with another sugar free love-story “100 Days of Love”, everyone effortlessly lapped it up thanks to his magnetic chemistry with Nithya Menen. And he gave the year the perfect closing with Charlie, a raw love story packed with beautiful emotions and perfect feel factor. A word also to Parvathy Menon who chipped in with a strong performance with Dulquer. 2016 will continue to keep audience exciting when they look forward for some unconventional cinema from the backwaters of Kochi.

 

Kannada Cinema.

Throughout the early 90’s and 2000’s Kannada cinema relied mostly on remakes from Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam industries. It seemed as if our Kannada brothers saw movies on a light heart i.e nothing more than a mere form of entertainment. Although stars like the Rajkumar brothers, Upendra, Sudeep and Arjun always had their impact on Kannada box office which cannot be ignored.

This scenario changed from 2011 with new directors coming up with exciting scripts which had youngsters. Of course, the competition between the families and the commercial flick from big stars still have their presence with 3rd generation youngsters from Rajkumar and Sarja families making their debuts but this time the show stealers are the new age and independent movies.

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Vidaaya, a movie directed by P.Sheshadri impressed movie lovers and critics alike. This movie was appreciated for its sensitive handling of a bold subject – “euthanasia”. A man left in a vegetative state after a car accident requests euthanasia, and his wife becomes the target of a trial-by-media as a woman who is intent on killing her husband.

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Kendasampige  by Duniya Soori stars newcomers in the main roles. Soori is regarded as one of Kannada cinema’s most stylish and exciting directors and this film have further cemented this reputation. Part romantic rich-girl-meets-poor-boy love story, part road movie, and part thriller, Kendasampige has been ranked as one of Soori’s best works and praised for its casting.

The fact that Ashutosh Gowariker announced a Hindi remake of the Kannada mystery thriller Rangitaranga is enough to tell that its a band apart from other films. Directed by debutant Anup Bhandari, Rangitaranga deals with black magic practices and crime in a fictional Karnataka villag the film was lauded by audiences and critics alike for its strong story, performances, and cinematography.e

“Aatagara” directed by KM Chaitanya is a Indianized take on Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None”. The film deals with 10 characters placed them midst of a fictional reality show on a remote island. Critics agreed that the film, had enough worth for the audience’s money.

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“Naanu Avanalla…Avalu” translates to “I am not he…. but a she”. Yes, you got it right. This movie directed by B.S.Lingadevaru deals with the life of a transgender. Sanchari Vijay, the actor who portrayed the protagonist won Best Actor at this year’s National Awards for his portrayal of Living Smile Vidya, a transgender upon whose autobiography this film is based. Widely praised for its humanistic depiction of the transgender community, the film was initially boycotted by single-screens for its non-commercial subject; however, after support from top Kannada stars like Yash and Sudeep and filmmakers Ram Gopal Varma and Girish Kasaravalli,  the film ended up finding a respectable release.

 

SOUTHIE: SURYA TEJ BORRA

Surya, based out of Hyderabad works in Google. An evangelist of internet and digital space, he takes keen interest in cinema, spirituality, travel, music, books and cooking vegetarian food.