Chitra Prakash Sun, 11 Jun 2006
Chennai, June 11 (IANS) P. Vasu, whose Tamil hit "Chandramukhi" will open the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) festival in Dubai on June 14, feels the southern film industry has "much to offer" to Indian cinema.
"Anyone espousing the cause of Indian cinema will have to go beyond Bollywood," says the director of the film, which stars Tamil superstar Rajnikanth.
"Chennai is the birthplace of south Indian cinema," Vasu told IANS in a chat. And he promises that after the IIFA screening of "Chandramukhi", south Indian films "will be in great demand and very popular".
Excerpts from the interview:
Why don't actors from the south make it big in Bollywood? They also don't get many national awards.
It is not that they do not make it 'big'. When the industry in Bollywood grew, the language it adopted was Hindi, keeping in mind only the northern Indian audience.
Yet, a Hindi film like "Sholay" saw great success in the south too. Stars like Padmini, Vyjayanthimala and Sri Devi became Bollywood's own. In a reverse tide, in the 1980s and 90s, actors like Khushboo, Simran and Jyothika all came from the north and have made it big in southern cinema.
Anyone espousing the cause of Indian cinema will have to go beyond Bollywood, take up new ideas, thoughts and popularise films from south India in the north. Every technician, every director and producer in the north must know and get acquainted with the technical skills the southern industry has to offer and the great actors that the southern industry has.
As for the national awards, it is just the choice of 10 men. It does not mean the entries that did not win were not chosen for the awards, or the films that did not compete were not as good as those that won. Some of the biggest names like Amitabh Bachchan and Sivaji Ganesan never got national awards.
For making a mark before a world audience, Bollywood is going bilingual and 'crossover' films are gaining popularity. Kollywood (the Kodambakkam-based industry) has not ventured into bilingual films yet.
Someone surely has to try and very soon. Southern films especially have to enter international competitions, which we want to do.
What does an event like IIFA festival mean for the southern industry?
It is like a gathering of the alumni at the alma mater. We will all be there, Mammootty, Mohanlal, Madhavan and Vikram. After this first event, I can assure IIFA that films from south India will be in great demand and very popular.