A tiny debate with Arun Arnala last evening: Stemmed from the bad/not so good reviews that Kadal has been getting.
While both of us felt bad that Maniratnam's movies are not doing as well as those of his earlier gems like Nayagan, Mounaragam etc, Arun's worry was more about the commercial aspect of the movie while mine was the artistic. His sympathies was with the producers of such movies who invest crores of rupees only 'trusting' of these directors to give them good returns. While he agrees that no director makes movies just for the fun of it, directors should be more careful in balancing out the commercial aspect of the movie too. (Probably it was empathy too, having a lost a lot of time and energy in a similar pursuit - just for the love of cinema.)
My point: Why can't we look at the artistic value of the movies? Why can't you look at it like, say, an artist's painting? (Wasn't Ravan(an) like that anyway? A moving, singing painting)
Him: That's because a painter invests only his energy, time and a bit of money for the canvas and paints. But that's not the case for movies. The supposedly 'big' directors want 'big' technicians as well - which is where most of the money goes. They won't work without their Rahmans, Resul Pookuttys, Rajiv Menons and Thotta Tharinis. So when such big bucks are spent, directors should be more careful about the biggest job which is screenplay and story. Because if that fails, everything else fails. A case in point, Director Shankar has been very careful till date, about all of this. Take Bharathiraja, Balachander..whatever's happened to them? There's no point in investing a million bucks on them anymore.
Me: But these directors need good music and cinematography for a complete package. Can't these directors make art-house movies with the same technicians?
Him: There is a commitee in the High Court wherein middle income groups are helped in availing the services of highly experienced and senior lawyers at very nominal fees . Similarly there should be a system where bigwigs of movies should get together and say, okay we will cut our fees by half and we will make movies just for the sake of art. Perhaps Balumahendra is already doing it.
I think that's a great idea! So here's my request, "The movie biggies - Maniratnam, Bharathiraja., Rahman, Kamal Hassan, Gautham Menon, Rajinikanth and many more, we love cinema as an art, we've loved your work and will always respect you. We are sure you love movies as much as we do (in fact even more). So why don't you put money in the back burner for just a while and gives good pieces of art?"
Why not make small but brilliant movies just for the sake of the art? Why not take the multiplex route? Like Kahaani perhaps? Only those who really care will come and watch the movie. At least we won't have those catcallers sitting in all the 4 corners of the theater and shouting "Ayyo, bore pa." "thala valikkudhu" and so on, much to the annoyance of 'snobs' like me! If the movie does well in the theaters good for you, if not, there's always the DTH operators to fall back upon! At least, the producer gets his money.
Just because their movies don't do as well, I don't want to believe that our veteran/Class A directors have no talent left? ( That's anyway been a long time rant of mine.) There's still so much to discuss about their movies. Raavan(an) still intrigues me (gosh I love talking about this movie).