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Episode 108: Tamil Male Stars and Promising Young Filmmakers – How does it work?

The recent big announcement in Tamil cinema is the collaboration of director Nelson (Kolamaavu Kokila, Doctor, yet to release Beast with Vijay) with Rajinikanth. Since the time Rajinikanth collaborated twice with Pa. Ranjith and once with Karthik Subbaraj, there have always been calls for the biggest stars – meaning male actors who guarantee huge weekend openings at box office – to work with young, promising filmmakers making a different kind of cinema, themselves a coterie that came into being around 2008 in Tamil cinema. The list of filmmakers has only grown since then and it’s been a great decade. From calls for Kamal Haasan at his height of stardom and experimentation to work with some of them to Rajini working with them and Vijay collaborating with Lokesh Kanagaraj, and Ajith with H. Vinoth (and we’ve had more than a decade of Dhanush-Vetrimaaran), fans believe this is a treat. Currently we have upcoming films like Lokesh Kanagaraj’s Vikram with Kamal Haasan, Vijay’s Beast with Nelson, Vetrimaaran’s Vaadivaasal with Suriya and Pa Ranjith’s film with Vikram to name a few.

At The Other Banana, we wondered how healthy these pairings are for Tamil cinema? An industry notorious for the way it manages production and budgets, do the numbers make sense and does the quality suffer? What is the equation between the star actor and the filmmaker? What do they get out of each other and are they satisfied? Who are the biggest stars today, who were the stars we thought could take Tamil cinema to great heights in 2005 and where are they today? What do distributors feel about this subject? Do the filmmakers matter to them the way they do for fans?

To talk about all these things and more, reporter and journalist Subha Rao joined us. Subha has covered Tamil cinema for close to twenty years now and she has been at the forefront from the days of Rajini-Kamal to today’s Ajith-Vijay. Young kids might find it hard to believe but there was a time when Ajith used to give interviews and Subha has interviewed him among others like Vikram et al. We’ve linked to some of her recent and past works before. She comes armed with a wealth of knowledge and experience and stories from distributors and filmmakers and what they think about this topic. Listen on.

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Edited by Ashoka

Show Notes:

Subha’s Ajith interviews from back in the day here and here.

Subha’s piece on female superstars referenced in the episode.

Subha’s essay on Allu Arjun and Pushpa, and how the former became a huge star.

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