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The Trend Setters of the 80s - I

Contributed by Sumanth Soundararajan

Selecting ten trendsetting movies from the eighties can be dauntingfor the sheer number of trendsetters that came along during the period. Giants of the southern movies like Manirathnam, PC Sreeram, walked intothe arena, while names like Rajinikanth, KamalHaasan and Illaiyarajaturned into brandnames. So here's my shortlist of the showstoppers of that eventful, youthful & vigorous decade, the 1980s .

Karagattakaran I would count this one as the mother of all recentmovies with the village green as backdrop. So many "villageblockbusters" have sprouted on the scene, it's hard to choose a prototypical one, but Ramarajan in a bright yellow shirt actually becamea rage ( even on college campuses), and so did the music of this film.
Oru Thalai Raagam If you think of modern versions of Devadas, youwould come up with big eighties fare like Vazhve Mayam, IdayathaiThirudathe and so on, but this movie did not have big names and spranga huge surprise at the old "Kalla". T.Rajendar drifted into politicallybent material in the years after this movie.
Amman Kovil Kizhakkale The movie was no big shakes, but the musicwas. I still remember the lyrics of at least two songs from what I wouldcall the collection that best represents Illaiyaraja in the eighties.After all, there was quite simply no competition around - you see, theywere waiting for the man to drop his wand out of boredom, which he neverdid!
Punnagai Mannan I am sure a lot of people will dispute this choice,but I took it because it is a typical Kamal/KB movie with plenty ofplot-twists, abrupt mood changes among the main characters, flashbacks &flashforwards, and a dose of high (melo?)drama at the end. The music wasa definite plus, and so was Revathi.
Varusham 16 I went again & again to the local "Kottai" to watchKarthik woo a petite & cute looking Kushboo, the drama unfolds with all of us knowing it's going to be a tragic/catastrophic climax. I thought Fazil did a great job. This movie was a neat surprise when itcame out.
Oomai Vizhigal The buzzword in our movies today is FX. Well, one isreminded of Hollywood in the seventies (and the emergence of Lucas &Spielberg). All your "Film Institute" guys are ruling the roost todaywhen it comes to making modern effects mix with our brand of movies. Butit all started with this VijayKanth padam; but I thought that wig hewore in the movie was totally out of place.
Poove Poo Choodava Sure, SV Shekar's first heroine turned out a bigname. I liked the fun part of this film - the kids running around an oldPadmini. Also one noticed the comedy-for-15-minutes-followed-by-tragedy-for-5 cycle that has become an unwritten rule for today's movies. I would say Fazil started the trend.
Padikaadhavan Quintessential Rajini. My recommendation for anintroduction to Mr.macho. Actually, the best scene from this blockbusterwas Rajini rushing into Sivaji's office, then firing off his lines atJaiShankar & then turning to stone when he looks at Sivaji. Rajini 101.
Apoorva Sagodarargal Kamal turned around a bad phase, if Iremember right, with this one. Appu's heartbreak at being told he'switness to Rupini's wedding had me sobbing like a child. Also, CrazyMohan's lines were the real "X factor" if you will, of this padam. Minusthe violence, definitely a great Kamal movie.
Mouna Raagam You might have wondered where Maniratnam & PCS wouldfigure on my list; here they are. I think the big news of the eightieswas that Tamil films were turning into trendsetters for the country,and the two Gurus who opened the gates were Maniratnam & Sreeram.

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