Tamil films are going places

Apr 22, 2011 PS

K V Anand's 'Ko' with Jiiva, Karthika, Ajmal and Piaa Bajpai is releasing worldwide this Friday. The film will be screened in all major metros and towns in the Hindi heartland like Chandigarh, Lucknow, Jabalpur, Gurgaon and Vadodara with English subtitles through a popular multiplex chain. Kollywood, thanks to subtitling, is finding an all new audience in towns where Tamil cinema could not penetrate earlier.

Gautham Vasudev Menon's 'Vinnayithaandi Varuvaayaa' (VTV) was the first Tamil film which became popular in Mumbai and Delhi multiplexes after it was released with English subtitles. It was followed by Superstar Rajnikanth's 'Endhiran', which actually opened the floodgates. Earlier, the government-run National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) used to subtitle Tamil films mainly for the festival audiences, but now, that has changed as north Indian audiences are taking a liking to Tamil films.

Says Rekha Haricharan aka Rekhs, who subtitles Tamil films, "After the success of VTV and 'Endhiran', it has become a must for any major Tamil film to have English subtitles. In a span of six months after the release of 'Endhiran', nearly 23 Tamil films have been released with English subtitles. Because of subtitles, North Indians are able to understand and enjoy a Tamil film. Outside India, English binds the majority of the urban population in all cities and countries." The cost of subtitling is only around a lakh, a pittance compared to the budget of an average Tamil film. "The whole work can be completed in a week's time," reveals Rekhs, "The quality of translation is also important, as it should reach across to the audiences."

It is a popular misconception that only art films targeting festival audiences have to be subtitled, as now, Indian multiplexes in major towns and overseas distributors are insisting on English subtitles for Tamil films. This year, all big summer releases like 'Ko', 'Vaanam', 'Engeyum Kadhal', 'Deiva Thiirumagan' and quite a few other films will have English subtitles. Kollywood sure is going places.

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