Like every other year 2012 has had its own share of surprises, disappointments, star-son launches and dark horses riding out into the sunset in style after having looted commercial success. The year has been an easy ride for some (like Vijay), tough for others (too obvious to points fingers at) and a mix-bag for some else. It's undeniable to state that Tamil cinema discovered a few good men, their talents and harbingers of hopes in the name of small budget, successful movies ushering in a change.
Nanban opened the box office this year as also the first release of the year on January 12th. Shankar's direction, ensemble star cast and the tried and tested formula of Chetan Bhagat's best selling novel - already adapted into films in Hindi and Telugu - the movie had no issues about its positioning. Needless to mention, what unfolded was a sure shot blockbuster of a movie that turned over, if not everyone at least Vijay's fortunes. Vijay, who experienced a slow down in his career in the past year has seen an upsurge in the success of his movies. Although his subsequent release Thuppakki was a runaway hit, it had its share of problems because some religious organizations felt that some scenes are contentious in nature and are hurtful of their religious sentiments. But Thuppakki tided that over and became a superhit.
The most interesting phenomenon witnessed during the year 2012 is probably the rise of small budget movies. It all started off with the unassuming Kadhalil Sothappuvathu Eppadi that traced urban romances. The movie made enviable amounts of money and instilled confidence in many of the small time producers and directors. Result? Movies like Atta Kathi, Pizza, Manam Kothi Paravai, Madhubana Kadai and Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kanom are released to critical acclaim. Pizza and Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kanom even went on to make good money and Vijay Sethupathy, the lead man in those movies became a star in his own right finding his foothold in the industry.
Another important trend Tamil cinema will probably see in the coming year is releasing a movie on DTH. Kamal ruffled more than a few feathers when he took that decision for his soon to be released Viswaroopam. Producers, theatre owners and distributors went up in arms against Kamal for that decision. Kamal, however, removed unmoved. The movie will be beamed into homes just a day prior to its release for a one time payment of 1000 rupees for single screening. Kamal has reportedly made almost more than half of his investment with that decision. It's not quite clear whether it is a welcome move for either theatres of movies but it's definitely a path-breaking decision from the veteran of our times, Kamal.
Of the fair share of deaths the industry witnessed this year, the most heartbreaking was that of Taruni Sachdev - who perished in a plane accident in Nepal at the tender age of 14. Another death was Shubha Phutela who passed away barely in her twenties owing to jaundice and kidney related issues. She was the female lead in Maalai Pozhudhin Mayakathilaey.
On the whole, there were surprises (movies like Naan Ee and the box office mayhem it created) and rude shocks in 2012. The year also gave us much to look forward to in 2013, having set the platform for quality, small budget, less starry movies. Here's to another year of watching good movies and hoping for innovations.