Remember your school days – when you had Physics and Maths as subjects?
How much you understood of these subjects depended largely on who the teacher was. If it was an interesting teacher, you understood the nuances of the subject. If not, these two subjects became the toughest subjects in your Time Table.
Back in the early 2000’s, there was no social networking and YouTube. Cinema watching was still an intensely personal affair. You didn’t have access to in-depth live tweet reviews, nor the dissection of the films on articles and videos on the day of release. Watching a film was still about making a plan with your friends, going to a hall, fighting to get the tickets, buying a cool drink, chips, and settling down to watch the movie. Your only barometer of the film’s success was the whistles and claps and dances of the audience.
Back in those days, the director wasn’t discussed in as much length and depth as it is today. A film was a three-hour vehicle into fantasy-land, and that was it. Of course, there were legendary directors who had made their mark, but the craft of filmmaking wasn’t discussed with the nuances of today.
ARYA – The Character
For once, the hero wasn’t the sort who would chase the heroine and sing songs of eternal love. One who thought the girl has a right to choose her partner, and yet, would go to any length to impress and win her affection over. The character of Arya won over the affection of the audiences (and the girl, eventually!). Not only did Arya do wonders at the box office, it also remains one of the best films of the decade, adding many more shades to the role of a conventional Telugu film hero.
ALLU ARJUN – An Identity
Arya gave Allu Arjun a distinct identity of his own – even though he had been doing interesting movies before Arya, none of them had set the box office on fire.
CINEMATOGRAPHY – Rathnavelu’s Gem of Work
Rathnavelu was Sukumar’s pick as cinematographer, whom had already built up a reputation for excellent frame composition.
SUKUMAR – A Director of Substance
When Sukumar broke into the scene with Arya, it suddenly made the audience sit up and take notice. Arya wasn’t your typical romantic story. But perhaps the most surprising element of Arya was the amount of talk that the film generated for the director – Sukumar. People began to follow his filmography, generating a keen interest in all his projects. Sukumar continued with his knack for experimental plots – with Arya 2 adding many shades of grey to the hero’s character. Later, Nenokkadine was another classic example of Sukumar’s vision as a director.
To be frank, except those who were deeply immersed in movies, the general audience who just wanted to be entertained for 3 hours never noticed the Director of a film all that much. This era with the likes of VV Vinayak and SS Rajamouli who were in the beginning of their career helped the director’s brand rise in prominence in the minds of the viewers.
Finally ‘DIL RAJU’ – A People’s Producer with Guts
‘Dil’ Raju redefined the way movies are to be made. For a great content, he showed that budget wasn’t a barrier. He and Sukumar sensed the pulse of audience. Unlike the awareness of cinema we have now, a decade back, not many films that came tried to play with the intelligence of the audience. Experimenting was confined to any one genre and never was in the mainstream.
Sukumar will always be given credit for his attempt to increase the intelligence of his audience, which is where you will achieve to make meaningful cinema.