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Tamil Cinema in 2008: A Quick look

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The year 2008 was a year of mixed fortunes for Tamil cinema.
A total of 110 films were made or dubbed in Tamil. Of these only a few were successes. Quite a few were flops. With the remainder just squeaking through with meagre profits or going under water with minor losses.


The colossal flop for 2008 was “Kuselan” directed by P. Vasu starring the super star Rajnikanth.

The pair had delivered a super-grosser in “Chandramukhi” that ran for more than three years at theatres thus beating even the record set by “Haridas” starring the legendary MK. Thiyagaraja Bhagavathar .

Just as P. Vasu remade the Malayalam hit “Manichitradhal” into “Chandramukhi” earlier, the bearded director remade another Malayalam hit movie “Kadaparayumbol” into “kuselan”.

The hitch was that Rajni played only a small role in the film. Almost like a cameo appearance.

But in a bid to woo the masses a massive publicity blitz sought to convey the impression that Rajni was the hero.

That he was not. The real hero was Pasupathy.But he was virtually blacked out in advertisements.

The excreta hit the oscillator when rasikas found they had been duped. Their hero super star was not the hero.

Result? The film bombed at the box office despite a superlative performance by Pasupathy.

Those who wanted to be kuberas by duping the masses were turned into Kuselars overnight. No Krishna! No “aval”!!


As anticipated the mega hit Tamil movie for 2008 was “Dasavatharam” starring Kamal Haasan in ‘dasa’ or ten roles. It was a lavish spectacle where Kamal scored with magnificient acting.

Make-up artistry combined with appropriate body language cum mannerisms helped Kamal excel.Among the different roles Kamal played were George Bush, an American assassin, a Japanese kung fu expert and a Vaishnavaite old woman.

Starring opposite him was the lovely Asin who is now making waves in Bollywood pairing off with Amir Khan in a Hindi remake of “Ghajni”.

The film directed by Ravikumar had the director himself gyrating to the beats of “ulaga nayagane” a paean in praise of Kamal. Despite the cost of production the film was a hit and made money amply.


The best Tamil movie for 2008 was “Vaaranam Aayiram” starring Surya in a double role. As far as acting was concerned Surya demonstrated that he has come a long way. Acting as father and son , Surya was really great.

Starring opposite were Simran, Divya and Samira Reddy who has made a mark in Bengali movies. The duo were captivating

[Nenjukkul Peyum Mamazhai-by Thamarai]

The songs written by Thamarai with music composed by Harris Jayaraj were all hits.

Goutham Vasu Menon who gave us “kakka Kakka” with Surya delivered another hit. The movie dealing with a father-son relationship was a tribute by the director to the memory of his father and had shades of an auto biography


Many of the hits in 2008 were small budget movies with lesser known actors. “Anjathe” with Naren and Prasanna was directed by Myshkin.

Then there was “Subramaniapuram” directed by debutant M. Sashikumar and “Saroja” by Venkatprabhu

Another hit was “Kadhalil Vizhunthen” that had Vijay Anthony composing music. The hit song for 2008 “Nakka Mukka” was in this film

Among Other hits were “Yaradi Nee Mohini” starring Dhanush and Nayantara ; “santhosh Subramaniam” starring Jeyam Ravi and Genelia D’Souza; “Sakkarakatti” starring Santhanu the son of K. Bhagyaraj and Poornima Jayaram

Another film that did well was “Dham Dhoom” starring Jeyam Ravi and Kangna Ranaut. The director Jeeva died in Moscow while shooting for the film

THE find of the year was Poonam Bhajwa who acted opposite Bharath in “Seval” and Jeeva in “Thenavettu” Both were hits. She has stunning looks and acts well.

A conspicuous feature among hit movies were the songs and music. From AR Rahman to Yuvan Shankar Raja the music directors played a constructive role in ensuring box office success.


Among the movies that crashed at the box office the prominent flops were “Bheema” starring Vikram-Trisha, “Kuruvi” starring Vijay-Trisha, “satyam” starring Vishal-Nayantara and “aegan” starring Ajit-Nayantara.

“Kuruvi” produced by Tamil Nadu chief minister Karunanidhi’s grandson , was artificially converted into a “hit” by being screened continuously in theatres without a viable audience.


Among movies expected to make the grade in the new year are “Villu” starring Vijay directed by Prabhudeva, “Ayyan” starring Surya,”Kandasamy” starring Vikram and “Thalaivan Irukkindran” starring Kamal Hassan.

There are also Rajnikanth’s “Sultan the Warrior” directed by his daughter and Ajit’s untitled film.

Let’s hope 2009 will be a promising year for Tamil movies


Email: dbsjeyaraj@yahoo.com

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  1. There was big talk about VAARANAM AAYIRAM but for me, it was just another typical Tamil movie except for Surya’s acting which was great.

    I liked Raman Thediya Seethai more than VAARANAM AAYIRAM.

  2. Dear Mr.Jeyaraj

    I have always admired your writings and suggested my friends to read your articles. I have often told them that SL Tamils are very lucky to have you as a fellow Tamil being.
    I am very disappointed that you are writing about Tamil Cinema, which has apparently qualified to enter to your website. I thought these third rank Tamil film were only enjoyed by people, who have poor quality of taste. I am surprised and disappointed that an intellect like you spend time on writing about rubbish!

    DBSJ RESPONDS: Please dont be so snobbishly arrogant. I enjoy seeing films, reading about them and film personalities. I have also written on cinema and cinematic topics. I intend doing so very often in this blog

  3. I was not at all arrogant.

    Could pls. link me your articles about cinema topics.

    Sorry I did not know you spend your valuable time to enjoy rubbish (rubbish is strictly my view sir, don’t get offended!).

    I still admire your service to the Tamil Nation and proud of you as a Tamil.

    DBSJ Responds: Here is link to articles on films

  4. Dear Sir,
    What did you think of Naan Kadavul by Bala? I was disappointed since being an anthropologist I had expected a study of the aghoris. Arya’s role did not have the nuances that Vikram’s had in Sethu or Pithamagan. There is so much on this sect that could have been enthralling.
    The life of the beggars was well portrayed and the ending was stunning.
    I would like to know your views on it.
    ps. to the gentleman who calls Tamil films rubbish-Tamil films are not rubbish. They are the testaments, fragments and crevices through which a culture comes alive, and is also sometimes made. Any cultural production is a genre, a field unto itself and yet connected to society. What this gentleman thinks of as rubbish could be films of a particular genre.he might appreciate films such as poo, kanchiviram, bharathiraja’s films etc.
    maybe he could relate to such films as “the forsaken land” with its non linear narrative and breathtaking cinematography that makes the barren landscape a character. That was a stunning film.

  5. Hi Sir,

    This is my frist time reading your blogs. Well, actually I read one yesterday titled, “Tigers, Tamil Diaspora and the Tamil civilian plight”. I cam to your site from a link posted on Globe and Mail. Anyhow, I LOVE your writing. I JUST LOVE IT. And it’s amazing to me that you are of Tamil descent. I mean, of course, Tamil people have acheived greatness in their lives. But to me, you are different, because by reading your blogs, I feel as though I know you personally, especially after reading your introductory blog.

    I am a Tamil myself, and ventured into the blogging realm just this new year. I feel as though there is so much to learn from you. I wish you best of luck in everything you do. I understand why you love to write. I wish I studied journalism when I had the chance., and now that I know I love to write too, I try….

    Thanks for reading!!!

  6. Jeyaraj,
    I just read your articles under Tamil cinema. Wonderful as always. I know this is a difficult period and you have more important things to concentrate on. I hope you will find sometime later on to write more under this section.
    May God keep you in the best of health so you can continue doing what you do best.

    Thank You Swathy. I definitely want to write on cinema. Hopefully I will do so soon……………DBSJ

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