Indian cinema means Hindi cinema aver those who belong to the Bollywood film industry. Foreigners and Hindi film field know only Amitabh Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan. In the Bollywood award shows, Hollywood actor Will Smith participates. Nicole Kidman dines with them. George Clooney expresses wish to see Hindi films.
Many films made in Marathi, Bengali, Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam and Tamil are of world standard. Directors like Mani Ratnam, Girish Kasaravalli, Adoor Gopalakrishnan and Aravindan are world famous. Despite that, the idea that Indian cinema means Hindi cinema is prevalent. This is strengthened by the big budget, glamour and star value of Hindi films as also the fact that Hindi is our national language.
To disrupt this entrenched belief is a bit hard. One can stand outside a lion's cave and roar louder and also prove that one is stronger than the lion. One can proudly maintain that more than any others, Tamil artistes have made their mark in the Hindi film industry.
The whole of India, especially the Ambani family, is eagerly awaiting January 12. That's the day Mani Ratnam's 'Guru'is to be released. Such an expectation has not been seen in recent times for a Hindi film. More than the fact that the film is based on Dhirubani Ambani's life, there is great expectation because the director is Mani Ratnam.
One can say proudly that Mani Ratnam has made his mark in the tightly knit Bollywood industry. His film 'Roja'made in the 90s created a stir in the Indian film industry. AR Rehman's music also entered the hearts of the Hindi speaking people.
Mani Ratnam's next film 'Mumbai'was a super hit and made record breaking profits. Following this, his 'Nayakan'was dubbed in Hindi and released. Bollywood came to recognize that Mani Ratnam was a force to reckon with in Bollywood.
As far as cinematographers are concerned, those from Tamil films who have gone to Bollywood and made a name are Ravi K Chandran, Jeeva, Rajiv Menon, Santosh Sivan, Manikantan, KV Anand, Thiru and Ravi Varman. Tamil cinematographers enjoy special status and are highly respected there.
Having made many innovations in cinematography, PC Sriram has gone now to Bollywood to wield the camera for 'Cheeni Kam'starring Amitabh Bachchan and Tabu.
Word is on that when the film is released, half of Bollywood would turn into PC fans!
The other Tamilian who has created as big a stir in Hindi after Mani Ratnam is AR Rehman. Big film makers like Deepa Mehta, Subash Ghai and Aamir Khan all prefer our AR Rehman. A prominent English monthly has mentioned Mani Ratnam and AR Rehman as 2 of the 10 top names in Bollywood.
Tamilians had started making a mark in Hindi films even many years earlier. Great directors like Bhim Singh and Sridar have directed many successful Hindi films. But the actual impression made by Tamilians in Bollywood started from the time of K Balachander. His film 'Ek Duje Ke Liye'starring Kamal Hassan ran for almost a year and created a Bollywood record. His other 2 films 'Ek Nayi Paheli'and 'Sanam Teri Kasam'also did very well.
Around the same time, Bharatiraja directed 2 Hindi films. Both were remakes of Tamil films. One was 'Red Rose'(Sigappu Rojakkal) and the other was 'Lovers'(Alaigal Oivadhillai).
With prominent Bollywood actors Raj Babbar and the late Smita Patil, director Durai made the Hindi re-make of his famed Tamil film 'Pasi.'Like the Tamil version, the Hindi version created a great impact.
The king of screenplay as Bhagyaraj is called, also directed some Hindi films and made a name for himself.
Shankar's 'Indian'staring Kamal was dubbed in Hindi as 'Hindustani.'This is one of the Tamil film stories that found great welcome in Bollywood that was also amazed at the technical expertise in the film. Shankar's 'Anniyan'was also dubbed and released in Hindi. It was received favorably. Vikram's acting in the film was especially spoken about.
The remakes of Agathiyan's 'Kaadhal Kottai'and Adhiyaman's 'Thotta Sinungi'were also good attempts.
Apart from Tamil film makers remaking their films in Hindi, Hindi film makers are also known to remake Tamil films in Hindi. Vikram's 'Dil,'Madhavan's 'Run'(Hindi version directed by cameraman Jeeva), 'Sethu'(Tere Naam), 'Alai Payudhe'(Saathiyaa) are some examples. Shakti Chidambaram's 'Charlie Chaplin'was produced as 'No Entry'in Hindi starring Salman Khan and Saif Ali Khan. Since the film was a great hit, Bonnie Kapoor has approached Shakti Chidambaram for story for its sequel.
Revathi's efforts also deserve mention. 'Phir Milenge'directed by her has come in for lot of critical acclaim.
After a long gap Bharathiraja is currently directing a Hindi film 'Cinema.'Unlike his other efforts earlier, 'Cinema'is not a remake of a Tamil film. It is a direct Hindi production. Nana Patekar was so eager to act in this film after hearing the story.
Besides, the young turks from Tamil film industry are gearing themselves to test grounds in Hindi film industry. After producing 'Kaakka Kaakka'and 'Vettayaadu Vilayadu'in the range of Hollywood, Gautam is likely to direct a Hindi film following 'Varanam Ayiram.' A R Murugadoss is making his entry into Hindi field through the re-make of 'Gajini'starring Aamir Khan. Selvaraghavan has been waiting for many years for a chance to enter the Hindi field. Many producers like Bonnie Kapoor are waiting to abduct him to the Hindi field.
Along with them, Mishkin of 'Chithiram Pesudhadi'fame is waiting on the wings to feel the pulse of Bollywood.
Directors, music directors, cinematographers and actors like Hema Malini and Sridevi have left their mark in the Hindi field. But how about the heroes?
Only one person has made his presence felt. He is none other than Kamal Hassan. The dubbed versions of 'Ek Duje Ke Liye', 'Moonram Pirai, 'Nayakan'and 'Indian'are still showcasing Kamal as a great actor. He also succeeded in directing and acting in the Hindi version of 'Sakshi 420.'Though his Hindi films like 'Hey Ram'and 'Abhay'have not been successful, he still remains one actor who evokes great admiration from the stars like Shahrukh Khan saying, "I would like to touch him" and Mallika Sherawat claiming, "I will do anything for Kamalji." Following him Madhavan too is on his way up in Hindi films.
The impression that Indian cinema is just Hindi cinema may not be demolished. But no one can doubt that there will be a time when Tamil stars would become inevitable in Hindi cinema.