Chennai: Superstar Rajinikanth’s comeback after a gap of four years, actor Vijay’s problem-laced releases and the horror genre were the highlight of the Tamil film industry this year. With a health scare in the previous years keeping Rajinikanth away from films, 2014 saw him return to the silver screen with two films—Kochadaiiyaan and Lingaa.
Much to the surprise of his fans, the star chose the platform of animation in the much-hyped Kochadaiyaan to return to the big screen. The film was directed by his daughter Soundarya.
Kochadiayaan may not have satiated his fans’ craving of seeing their superstar’s inimitable mannerisms on-screen but it catapulted Rajinikanth to a unique club, making him probably the only Indian actor to star in all formats of movie-making—black and white, colour and motion capture.
Lingaa, in which he starred alongside Sonakshi Sinha, had its share of controversies with a Madurai-based writer claiming ownership for the story but the movie did not miss its date in cinemas with court green-flagging its release.
Another top star Vijay’s release-time problems with his movies continued as Tamil outfits went up in arms against his Kaththi (Knife) directed by AR Murugadoss, alleging the producer had links with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The film also faced legal wrangles over copyrights issue.
Vijay and Murugadoss had to weather a severe storm before their multi-million venture hit the silver screens with a compromise formula being worked out to blackout Lyca Productions’ brand from all promotional material. His Thuppakki and Thalaiva had faced similar pre-release problems from some groups.
Vijay also became the target of an online debate, with his detractors questioning his criticism of foreign cola companies in Kaththi while he himself had endorsed one of them a few years back.
Another veteran Kamal Haasan had no releases this year but was was busy filming—Papanasam, Uthamavillain and Vishwaroopam Part II, all lined up to hit theatres next year.
Tamil cinema was jolted by the death of veteran star SS Rajendran (SSR) and ace filmmaker Baalu Mahendra. A veteran yesteryear star and a contemporary of screen legends MG Ramachandran and Sivaji Ganesan, Rajendran had carved a niche for himself with his theatrics and dialogue delivery.
Mahendra, also a cinematographer, left behind a rich legacy of critically acclaimed movies including his last venture Thalaimuraigal that dwelt on the relationship between a man and his grandson.
The Tamil film fraternity rallied behind AIADMK supremo and former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa following her conviction in an assets case by a Bengaluru special court.
Filming activities including screening of movies in theatres were suspended for a day and the industry staged a one-day hunger-strike protesting her conviction and jailing in the Rs 66.65 crore disproportionate assets case.
However, the big four of Tamil cinema- Rajinikanth, Haasan, Ajith and Vijay did not participate as they were preoccupied with shoots outside the state. The horror genre came back to spook the Tamil audience, with top directors Sundar C and Mysskin among others trying their luck with the supernatural. Sundar came out with his horror-comedy Aranmanai, while critically acclaimed Mysskin directed Pisasu.