Cheran has given an interview to a publication where he says that anyone who's critiquing his work is his opponent. In the same interview, he says Raj Kiran is a better actor than Vikram. "Vikram is an illusion. The 3 roles that he did in Anniyan with different get-ups is no big deal," he said in a direct attack on Vikram.
No one should criticize his films. If they still go ahead and do so, "I'll object in strong language." Cheran still maintains that such people are not nice people. He does not like others to criticize him, but he can criticize Vikram? Among Vikram's fabulous acting in films like 'Sethu,' 'Pithamagan' and 'Kasi,' why single out 'Anniyan'?
Those who know Cheran are not surprised. 'Desiya Geetham' was a super flop. "Films that deal with people's problems are rarely welcomed by people. If they had, 'Desiya Geetham' would have run for 100 days," claimed Cheran. After 'Autograph' and 'Thavamaai Thavamirundhu' saw success, there's a change in the way Cheran talks. "The people do not hesitate to support good films!"
In the posters of 'Autograph' and 'Thavamaai Thavamirundhu,' one can see lines like "The fruit of hard labor," "Support for the nice people" and "Super victory for people's cinema." If this is the fruit of hard labor, does that mean he did not labor over his films that flopped? Was he not a good man when he was directing those films? Where did the people's power go then?
Cheran prides himself on doing straight forward films, but how straight forward is he?
Are all the films he has made, born out of his own thoughts?
No! And his one time assistants can vouch for that. Can you believe that the inspiration for 'Desiya Geetham' was a serial? The truth is not always sweet.
In 1997, the weekly mag Ananda Vikatan started a special serial in the Deepavali special.
Titled 'Action - #16,' it was a 10 week serial penned by writer Malarone. There are 4 boys, all of them are nice and interested in society's welfare. Their 16th step is to kidnap the minister. They put their plan into action. To make him unrecognizable, his head is shaved.
If this story sounds familiar to you, you will recognize that the inspiration for Cheran's 'Desiya Getham' is the serial 'Action - # 16.' In 'Desiya Geetham' also, there are 4 young men and they are nice, socially aware people. They kidnap the chief minister but they shave off only the centre of his head.
"Just like in my serial, the 4 young men in Cheran's film have their distinct characteristics. One is born to lead. The second one takes everything in his stride. The characterization has been adapted exactly as in the story," says Malarone, the author of the serial. Cheran's assistant of those days also vouches for this.
The issue does not stop here. Before Malarone wrote 'Action - # 16,' he wrote 'Otraiadi Kaadhal Paadhai' in the Pongal malar. The story is of a young man who falls in love (honestly) with many girls at the same time. "I had named the story as 'Anbai Sumandhavan' but the Vikatan editor changed it to 'Otraiadi Kaadhal Paadhai,' said Malarone as he went back in time.
The hero of this story falls in love truly like the 'Autograph' hero. But nothing comes to fulfillment. An interesting element is that, just like each love story takes place in a different landscape in 'Autograph,' the hero of 'Otraiadi Kaadhal Paadhai' meets his lady loves during the course of his travels in different places.
We can give more examples of how 'Autograph' is a take off of 'Otraiadi Kaadhal Paadhai.' But that is not our intention. Nor do we want to pinpoint to everyone that Cheran is stealing the story of writers to make into films.
Our aim is clear. As he claims, Cheran is not a true artiste. There are a thousand more artistes who are more dedicated and knowledgeable. There are people in Tamilnadu who have written stories similar to what Cheran has done and what he had thought even before Cheran himself did. Cheran must first stop his egoistic claim that he alone is a true artiste and what he produces alone is cinema. He has to cultivate the attitude to accept criticism. Only then can he be in a position to create movies that could be accepted internationally. Only after that can he get the status where he can claim himself to be the heir to Satyajit Ray as well as assuming other labels.
Indeed Cheran has that capability and dedication.