Kollywood is not Bollywood

Kaththi – probably the most awaited movie of the year for Vijay fans brought along with it a strong social message. But critics are quick to pounce upon as Vijay, who acted as an activist against Cola companies in the movie, was also the brand ambassador for Coca Cola few years back. The fans of the actor backed him saying he is just an actor, and not an activist or ideologist. When such things happen in Bollywood or even Tollywood, nobody would dare raise a question. But Kollywood is neither. Kollywood is different.

Why? Ever since the beginning of Tamil Cinema, it has been a medium of activism and ideology. And that is the reason why Tamil cinema is considered to be the gateway to Tamil Nadu politics. Kollywood has produced most politicians than any other film industry in the country. And there is a reason for the same.

There was another news last week, the demise of one of the greatest actors of Kollywood, SSR. He is an ardent follower of EVR and his atheist principles. Because of his principles, he never acted in any film that was religious. It should have been quite tough in those days, when religious movies dominated the industry. And SSR was not alone – actors including MGR, MR Radha and Tamil cinema’s greatest comedian NSK – lived on the same ideologies in both reel and real lives.

The trend continues with the Rajni – Kamal era too. The actors acted in roles based on their real world beliefs. When both clashed, they simply refused to act.

So, what changed? It is a new era of Vijay – Ajith. So far, they have acted in movies that did not have a strong social message. So, nothing really mattered. They were acting for money, let them do it. But we need to remember one thing that audience hardly changes. From being come from a generation where ideologies are everything, it is hard to digest the fact that one can behave completely differently in reel and real life. Yes, he is acting for money. But, this is not Bollywood, where only money matters. And that is why movies like Chennai Express, Band Baaja Baaraat, Bang Bang are bound to fail here.

I don’t want to criticize Vijay here. Other actors do it too. But what Vijay has done here, is a very bad precedent. This is Kollywood – there is more to a movie than just money.

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