I have written about this subject several times in Kannada. This time I am writing in English to reach some Kannadigas who cannot read Kannada, but who can talk and understand Kannada. This article is written with each major section that is directly or indirectly affecting our Kannada movies and Kannada language.
What people talk about Kannada movies?
I have heard most of the Kannadigas and non-Kannadigas talking about Kannada movies badly. They always complain that there are no good movies made in Kannada. They start complaining about Jaggesh and Kashinath movies. For them, my question is, how many movies does Jaggesh act in every year? 3, 4 or 5 maximum ? That’s all. Kashinath stopped acting in movies long back. How can they just take Jaggesh and Kashinath as reference and criticize the whole of Kannada movies? Is that the correct way of reviewing Kannada movies? If we go with this kind of comparison, there are similar actors to Jaggesh and Kashinath in every language. I don’t see any difference between Jaggesh and Govinda. Only difference is Govindas’ skin is white and he speaks “Hindi”.
Why people talk about Kannada movies like that?
Is it because of false propaganda or lack of advertisement, marketing or the bias reports of news media, magazines or is it because of lack of “Abhimaana”?
Most of the people (including Kannadigas) who talk bad about Kannada movies have not seen good Kannada movies or they just go by the newspaper and/or magazine’s reviews and believe that. Our Kannada newspapers criticized movies like “A” and ”OM” too. People who believe in newspapers certainly will not turn towards Kannada movies.
And one of my Kannada friend was not aware that in Kannada they make close to 80 to 90 movies every year. He was under the impression that, the numbers of total movies made every year are 4 or 5. That shows Kannadiga’s awareness about Kannada movies. But same people keep track of every other language movies and details up to date.
In Kannada, every year 80 to 90 movies are made. Out of that at least 10 movies will be good. Another 10 movies will be “Okay” kind of movies and remaining 60 will be junk. No doubt about that and I too agree with that. Okay, now we will go to our neighbors Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and our national language Hindi movies. The reason I am bringing our neighbors here is, our critics and people are comparing our Kannada movies against these other language movies.
I did some research and verified with my Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam friends. The above statistics match with Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam movies too. In last year there were only 4 “Hit” movies in Tamil. Being a Telugu as my mother tongue, I know what Telugu movies are up to? 2 heroines in every movie with some 6 songs and the same crazy names ending with “Mogudu”, ”Pellam”, “Dhonga”. (No creativity in naming also). And god knows what’s there in Hindi movies except glamour. Hero or Heroines are born and die in Europe in every movie these days. Hindi movies are made specifically for NRIs these days. They don’t want to show our true India picture any more, because they don’t care about India. Do they?
Critics Comparison (With respect to What ??? )
So, our “critics” compare Kannada movies with these Tamil, Telugu, Hindi movies. Why such comparison is needed in the first place when Tamil, Telugu and Hindi movies are also rotten. Most of the Hindi movies are not only shot in Europe, USA but they also copy tunes, dance steps and everything from English Movies. Is that the creativity? Do our reviewers ever understand the difference between creativity and copying? Our Kannada critics have double standards in reviewing Kannada and other language movies. God knows what is the politics behind that.
Okay, I will give a break about Kannada movies and it’s quality. What is happening with our Kannada TV media? TV media is equally strong media like movie and it need not depend 100% on movies. It can cover vast subjects. Why can’t some Kannada entrepreneurs start some Kannada TV channel? When outsiders like Sun TV and ETV can open a Kannada channel, why can’t our own Kannadigas start some our own Kannada channel? Are we lacking “something” here? Do we have technical difficulties?
(Bangalore is Silicon Valley of Asia, Isn’t it?), Don’t we have enough resources for this? Don’t we have enough millionaires to invest in this kind of venture? Then what’s preventing our Kannadiga entrepreneurs to start some Kannada channel? So, without any analysis or study we can easily tell here that, it’s the problem with “our Kannadigas” in enterprising/exploring new things.
Who is preventing “criticizing Kannadigas” to step into and venture in making some new, good movies or starting a TV chancel? None. It’s just in our blood that, we just keep on criticizing our own people, culture, movies, media, everything and keep on praising what our neighbors do and we won’t take necessary steps at all to do some new things.
Who said Deccan Herald (DH) is Karnataka’s newspaper? They are located in Bangalore, for namesake. And they are located on MG Road and they can’t come to KG Road to review our Kannada movies or activities of Gandhi Nagar or write some encouraging articles about good Kannada movies. Many workers in DH are Tamilians. So, why would they write about Kannada movies? Every week there will be a article in DH in “Entertainment” section about every artist including clap boy from Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam or Hindi movies. But you can’t find an article about our directors like Desai, Nagathahalli, Upendra or music directors Hamsalekha, Gurkiran or not even about one of our best actors in India, Ananthnag. If this is the case, they can as well move to Andhra or Tamilnadu. Finally it looks like some of the news media in Karnataka are trying to kill Kannada movies systematically.
Do we ever advertise or take credit for our “Achievement”?
Last year Punith Rajkumar’s maiden movie “Appu” was a huge hit in Kannada and this movie was remade in Telugu as “Idiot”, which was also a huge hit. Now this movie is being remade in Hindi and recently in interview in Sony TV the entire movie crew of Hindi version of “Appu” movie gave the credit to Telugu version of “Appu” (Idiot) and not even a single member of them mentioned about the original Kannada movie Appu. Same thing happened to Dr.Rajkumars’ movie “Anuraaga Aralithu” which was made in Telugu (Garana Mogadu), Tamil (Mannan) and then in Hindi (Jamai Raja) and finally credit went to Telugu/Tamil version. Same thing happened with many other Kannada movies. What it shows? It is lack of campaigning about our own achievement? We are restricting our limits to Karnataka itself and sometimes not even with in Karnataka. Most of the people outside Karnataka don’t even know that Dr.Rajkumar is a singer too. Is it the fault of news media or achievers themselves or who else????????
People – What is the ethnic distribution in Bangalore ?
Everyone knows that there are only 45% of Kannadigas in Bangalore and the remaining are non-Kannadigas.( The definition of non-Kannadigas is left to individual here) Interesting thing and fact here is, the other 40% or 45% of the population of Bangalore who think they are non-Kannadigas are living in Bangalore for more than 50 to 100 years. Their mother tongue is Tamil or Telugu or Malayalam or Hindi. Do they consider themselves as “Kannadigas” or not? That is left to the individual. Being a Telugu as my mother tongue, I consider myself as a Kannadiga as I was born and brought up in Karnataka. Does majority of such non-Kannada speaking people consider themselves as Kannadigas? If they consider so and if they start watching Kannada movies or start thinking that they too belong to the place where they live from 50 years, then it will be all together a different story. Unfortunately it is not that presently.
Mathadhana –50 Days. But any average Tamil/Telugu movie–100 Days,25 weeks.
It is very sad that the great movie Mathadhana couldn’t even complete 100 days and that means it has not reached many, many people. Also it means that not all Kannadiags are supporting good Kannada movies and other non-Kannadiags who are in Karnataka from last 50-100 years are also not supporting/watching Kannada movies. And these non-Kannadigas support their “mother tongue” (Tamil,Telugu,etc.) movies in Karnataka irrespective of the quality of the movie.
Mathadhana movie had a good story and neat narration and excellent acting by great actors Ananthnag,Devaraj and Avinash. But the movie was NOT shot in Europe or USA and the movie was made in Kannada language. Probably this is the reason why it didn’t run for even 100 days in Karnataka. But most irritating part here is even 3d class and average Tamil,Telugu,Hindi movies runs for 50-100 days easily in Bangalore.
Tamil, Telugu movie land – Are they really big market ? How ?
Our cosmopolitan Kannadigas criticize Shivaraj Kumar because he is dark in complexion, where as in Tamil/Telugu people don’t care for the skin color of the hero. They support every hero irrespective of their color and there is no chance to screen other language movies in those states. So, naturally the native movie land grows there. And their cousins who are settled in Karnataka from last 100 years still go and watch “only” their mother tongue movies. That’s how their movie land is growing big. In Tamil movie land people support heroes like Vijayakanth, Parthiban, Pandyan,Vijay, etc, etc. And Telugu people are really happy and will encourage any Telugu movie as long as there are 6 good songs, dances and 2 heroines. But we Kannadigas keep on criticizing for every movie. With our attitude problem, will the Kannada movie land ever come up?
It is definitely Kannadigas and Kannadigas’ lack of Abhimaana for their language.
When we don’t have concerns about our own language, outsiders can easily take up and occupy our place, position and we will be outsiders in our own land very soon.
Whom to Blame?
Producers of Kannada movies have to be blamed first. They should fight for screening good Kannada movies and restrict the Tamil, Telugu, and Malayalam movies to only limited theatres. Why good Kannada movies are removed from the theatres even when they were doing well at box office and given to other language movies. But why our producers are also keeping quite about this? This is a big puzzle for me. Why can’t at least producers and directors of good movies come out and protest against such things?
Was there any sincere effort made to promote at least good Kannada movies in Kerala, Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh or Maharastra any time? And our people will watch Roja movie in theatre 3 or 4 times and will watch a great movie like “Mutthina Haara” in T.V.
What can be done to improve our Kannada movie land ? Some Suggestions..
One measure is to stop screening some rotten and junk Tamil, Telugu movies in Karnataka and start giving preference to good Kannada movies FIRST. If they enforce this rule strictly, good movies like Mathadana, Naaga Mandala, and Amrutha Varshini can reach more and more people including both Kannadigas and non-Kannadigas.
Dubbing of Tamil, Telugu movies to Kannada language should be introduced instead of directly releasing in their languages. By this means at least producers and distributors of other language movies will think twice before dubbing all their movies. This will also give at least some jobs/work to Kannada artists and local non-Kannadigas will start learning Kannada at least by this means.
1) By Government
When they make close to 100 movies per year in Kannada movie industry why can’t somebody or government start a state-of-the-art Movie Institute in Karnataka so that new local talents can study, explore new things in movie industry. When there are 100’s of engineering and medical colleges exists in Karnataka why can’t film studies be taught like professional courses too. A state which has 5 crores population definitely deserves one good film institute
2) By Kannadigas
I haven’t seen many Kannadigas talking proudly or educating non-Kannadigas about our good Kannada movies like Om, Amruth Varshini, Nammoora Mandara Hoove, America America, Naaga Mandala, Mathadana, Beladhingala Baale, A, etc, etc. Because they themselves haven’t seen above-mentioned good movies. They just keep on praising other language movies. It’s high time that our Kannadigas should start feeling proud about good Kannada movies and stop assuming that “all other language movies” are “always good”, which is not the case.
Another important thing is Kannadiags and some people within movie land should stop “asking” or “questioning” about Dr.Rajkumar’s contributions to Kannada movie land and start doing something constructive instead of just blaming Dr.Rajkumar for everything. No one can take control of such a big industry (60 to 70 crores turn over every year). There is no point in blaming Dr.Rajkumar for everything. Dr.Raj has given his contributions to Kannada movie in his own way. We can’t ask/demand only Dr.Raj for every good thing to happen in Kannada movie land. There are many others too. And should we depend upon a single person for everything? We shouldn’t. Blame game will not take us anywhere. It is important that everyone take the initiative to start correcting the problems. At the same time Raj family should seriously think about making DVDs or VCDs and original video cassettes of Dr.Raj movies for NRI-Kannadiags first.
3) By producers and distributors of Kannada movies
Our Kannada producers/distributors should start aggressive marketing. There are some extraordinary movies made in Kannada too and those movies struggled to run even 50 days sometimes. That is because of theatre problem, advertising, reviews, word of mouth, etc,etc. Producers have to be more aggressive and they have to fight in getting good theatres first. They should screen good Kannada movies in some good theatres. If I want to watch a good Kannada movie in good theatres like Urvarshi, Lido or Pallavi, it’s a dream or impossible. But for a Tamilian who is living in a hut or on footpath in Bangalore can watch his favorite hero MGR’s movie in a class theatre like Pallavi where morning shows is reserved for MGR, Shivaji Ganeshan’s movies. This is extreme. Shame on our Kannadigas who are sitting quietly and watching all these happenings.
Most irritating part is when other language people come and ask us “Why there are no good Kannada movies made in Kannada?” Those people haven’t seen any faces other than their state heroes. They don’t know that there is an actor called “Ananthnag” in Kannada. They haven’t heard about Vishnuvardhan much. That means in their states Kannada movies are not at all screened and nothing is written in their local newspapers. By watching only their language movies how they can come to the conclusion that Tamil or Telugu or Malayalam movies are superior over Kannada. Aren’t they frogs in the well? At least we Kannadigas have a chance to do a comparison between 4/5 language movies and can say which are good and which are bad. I am really surprised when other state people come and criticize our Kannada movies without knowing a bit about good Kannada movies and background. Whom to blame for this? Why there is no effort to screen good Kannada movies in Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradhesh,Kerala or Maharastra ?
Excellent, class movie “Om” was released exactly 10 years back in 1993. Till now there is no original video cassette or VCD or DVD released by the producers/authorized rights holders of this movie. If this is the kind of marketing we do, when and where our Kannada movie land will expand or grow? Even though I have watched the “OM” movie 6 times, I am ready now also to buy the original video cassette or VCD or DVD of “Om” movie at least 25 copies for me. (I would like to give it as a present/gift to friends on occasions) Is anybody in movie land listening to my request/suggestion? I am sure there are many movies like Om. There are no original video cassettes/VCDs/DVDs of many, many, many good Kannada movies. And surprising thing is, we can’t find even Dr.Rajkumar’s original movies collection in video format in USA too. This shows how poor we Kannadigas are in marketing our own strength.
Finally it is the “Chicken or Egg Problem” with our people and the movie land. Without proper and aggressive marketing, we can’t expand our market and we ourselves without encouraging good Kannada movies our movie land will not grow/expand.
To say in simple words, we have problem at both the ends. Kannadiga’s attitude has to change and at the same time producers should change their marketing/distributing techniques to reach more Kannadigas and to make Kannada movies more popular.
(Comparison made with other language movies here are only for giving the facts and not to criticize the other language movies. Good and bad movies are made in every language including English/Hollywood. People just should not assume that bad movies are made only in Kannada and good movies are made in all other languages except Kannada.)