These days, it feels pretty good to be a Tamil film rasigan. Some of the best films in the country are produced in Tamil. A majority of the top technicians and film makers at work today cut their teeth working in Tamil films. (Cinematographers - Ravi K. chandran, Santosh Sivan, PC, V Manikandan, KV Anand; Musicians - ARR, Illayaraja; Editors - Sreekar Prasad, Suresh Urs, Antony).
More than anything, there has been a renaissance in Tamil film industry (at this point you might think that I am going to start lecturing on film history or I am going to link this renaissance to the European one and bore you to death...relax...you are safe...I have as much knowledge about renaissance and film theory and history as Ajith has about acting, or Balakrishna has about underacting.) In plain language - there has been some really awesome, kickass Tamil films released in the last 5/6 years and the directors who made those films are getting better and better - which means more awesome, kickass films in the future.
And that makes me really really glad. There was never any shortage of talent or directors who broke barriers and gave some solid films. But, mostly those were breakthroughs in how they tell stories rather than what they say. Tamil directors have been great innovators of form, but not so great creators of content (how many two-wives, one-poor-suffering-husband combination stories can one tolerate). Not any more.
There is a bunch of new guys, who are exploring new issues, putting lot of thought into how to say it and giving entertaining, searing, scorching, throbbing films, that are filled with heart, without compromising their heads. Here are some directors to watch out for. And rent their films immediately - and do yourself a favour.
Balaji Shaktivel - director of Kaadhal (2004) and Kalloori (2007) (apparently he also directed Samurai - the film with one of the most loaded, double meaning songs ever - and sung by none other than Nithyashree Mahadevan- look for "Oru Nadhi..."; at this point, we can treat this as an abberration). I saw Kalloori and was blown away by his story telling, his decency, his camera work and how he found a way to picturise ordinary lives with such extraordinary detail. The scenes where Tammanna offers the hero a lift in her Kinetic Honda is just pure poetry.
Sasi - director of "Poo"(2009). He took a kickass short story by Tamil Selvan (One of the best writers at work currently, period. If this guy was writing in English, he would be the rave by now.) and made a beautiful film out of it. First rate visulatisation, uncomprosmising acting, thoughtful screenplay. Once again peering into seemingly ordinary lives and retelling the stories with heart and verve.
Vasantha Balan - director of "Veyil"(2006) and "Angaadi Theru" (2010). What this guy has achieved with "Angaadi Theru" so early in his career, few directors have achieved after decades in the industry. What performances he has extracted from his team! His industry, his vision, his execution, his talent, his courage - hats off!Watch out! Watch out!