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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Why should boys have all the fun?

Cinemimi [Wednesday, September 21, 2011]
Cinema by and large is construed as a male bastion and the feeling is that women have no big role to play; in worse scenarios women can't play big roles. Apart from the traditional domain of acting, Tamil cinema has not seen too many females attaining sustained success.

Of course there are a few female directors, cinematographers, lyricists, editors and musicians, but the stress filled and inciting but the real domineering chair of a producer had not been occupied by females for long.

It is true that there were many names of women that were shown as the producer in the film's credit titles. But if you probe deep they would have been namesakes and the real complex work would have been done by other men in the family.

Women film producers graced Tamil film industry even as early as the beginning of Tamil cinema. TP Rajalakshmi who acted as the heroine of the first Tamil talkie Kalidas was the first female producer in this part of the world. She created history by writing, directing and producing the film 'Miss Kamala' in 1938.

After that there were a few other women, particularly leading actresses who enjoyed the privileged status as producers. Anjalidevi and Bhanumathi are better known among others to handle the tough job of a producer. They were fairly successful but still unknown whether all production work was handled by themselves.

Then there were many who passionately produced films like Savithri, Sowkar Janaki, Pandaribai, KR Vijaya, Sri Priya and a few more. For these people success was a rare fruit and most of them could not handle the production stresses and quietly swallowed the bitter results.

Savithri turned a director producing 'Praptham' with Sivaji in the lead only to be treated harshly by fate. Sowkar Jankai received only critical acclaim for her production 'Kaviya Thalaivi' and not the money back. KR Vijaya is said to have produced films like 'Naan Vaazha Vaipen', but all in someone else's name.

Sri Priya tasted super success with 'Neeya' as a producer but could not reproduce the same success for other films like 'Natchathiram' or 'Shanthi Muhurtham'. Sri Priya is one among the producers who had produced a decent number of films.

But the new millennium changed the dynamics and a lot of young women producers came into being and fight for their due recognitions. Radhika and Khushboo are well known female producers among the new lot. As they were actors of repute they knew the functions of cinema and managed to produce commercially viable films.

Now even more women have started producing films and the most important thing to be noted here is that these women call the shots without proxy. As producing a film is not just only putting the money but to travel with the film ensuring it is made the way the producer wanted, the young group is as tough as a producer should be.

Selvaraghavan - Dhanush's sister Dr. K. Vimalageetha is also one in the family of women producers.

K. Balachander's daughter Pushpa Kandhasamy is another producer of substance who handles the affairs neatly. Soundarya Rajnikanth-Ashwin successfully produced the film 'Goa' and is ready with her second film as the producer 'Sultan, The Warrior or Hara'

Mano Akkineni, granddaughter of legendary LV Prasad, took part in day to day production activities of her film 'Drohi' in the capacity of its producer. Mano initiated a change in the perception as her film 'Drohi' was not a candy floss romance but a commercial action film.
Punnagai Poo Geetha
Punnagai Poo Geetha was a hands-on-producer for her films 'Arinthum Ariyamalum', 'Kundakka Mandakka' and 'Pattiyal'. Recently Geetha took over the production of Sonia Aggarwal's forthcoming film 'Oru Nadigayin Vakkumoolam' and the film just got bigger than before.
Shreya Reddy
Shreya Reddy is one who handles production on behalf of her husband Vikram Reddy. She is a no-nonsense producer who will be there always in the thick of the action. Her recent fuming over the unprofessional behaviour of Boopathy Pandian regarding her new film to be produced with Vishal amply testifies the coming of age of women's production ventures.

There are no soft takes any more. Women producers mean business as well. It's a good sign and we hope they don't fall into the beaten tracks and we expect more socially significant films from them...


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