Have you ever experienced a déjà vu moment while watching a film, where you felt like you had watched the exact scene earlier? Well, chances are that you might have watched its short film version years back. Kollywood has seen a good number of feature films that were based on unique shorts.
Over the course of the last decade, short films have arguably been a way for new-age directors to get their tickets to Kollywood. It has helped them create a fan base even before entering the industry. And some of these cherished shorts have also received full-length adaptations by filmmakers loyal to their roots. The latest to join this ‘shorts-to-feature club’ is director Pradeep Ranganathan with his second film Love Today, a remake of his popular short. As this rom-com hits the screens tomorrow, let’s take a look at Tamil feature films and their famous mini counterparts.
Love Today (App(a) Lock)
If you are someone who was quite active on YouTube five years ago, you might be familiar with the ‘First Clap’ short film competition conducted by Movie Buff. App(a) Lock was one of the shorts that was shortlisted for the contest, finding love among many.
Phones are like a small world that’s private to just us. It irks us when we give our phone to someone to see an image and they start swiping without permission. But what if your lover, of all people, gets to keep your phone for a whole day and check anything and everything?
When a nervous Karthik visits Nikitha’s house to speak about their marriage, her father has no questions, but just one lethal suggestion: that the couple exchange their phones for a day. He assures that if they still want to get married after 24 hours, he will arrange for the wedding. While the short film ends on a comical note, the feature film, which will be released tomorrow, will narrate their fights and their families’ reactions. Will they still choose to get married? What do you think?
Meyaadha Maan (Madhu)
Streaming On: Zee5
Directed by Rathna Kumar, the short Madhu is the pilot version of Vaibhav and Priya Bhavani Shankar’s Meyaadha Maan. This story is one of the most realistic depictions of one-sided love. But sometimes when we finish watching a short or a film, we have the question of ‘what if’.
So, when Madhu marries someone else in the short, there is regret in her eyes that make you wonder what if she had chosen to stop the engagement. As if answering our wishes, the director changes the climax of the short in the first act of Meyaadha Maan. As a result, what you get is more doses of fun. But to put things into perspective, Meyaadha Maan is what we call an expectation, and Madhu, a reality.
Naan Sirithal (Keka Beka Keka Beka)
Streaming On: Zee5
There is a saying ‘Thunbam varum velayil siri’, a Tamil equivalent of ‘Smile through your problems’. Keka Beka Keka Beka and Naan Sirithal take these sayings quite literally. The central character of this world might be an empathetic person. But he struggles with a unique issue — when he faces a problem, he begins laughing.
Imagine watching your favorite star getting beaten in an action sequence, with a friend sitting next to you, enjoying it in laughs. Even worse, what if you have a best friend who laughs while you are contemplating suicide? With a disorder of laughing at the most inconvenient of times, the protagonist gets entangled in multiple issues. While the feature film has its flaws, one thing is common in both the films — Kishore in Keka Beka Keka Beka and Hiphop Tamizha Aadhi in Naan Sirithal have infectious laughs that leave you in splits.
Streaming On: Disney+ Hotstar
Ram Kumar, who is now famous for his serial killer drama Raatchasan, is yet another filmmaker who became popular through the short film reality contest ‘Naalaya Iyakkunar’. And he went on to make a feature based on one of his shorts in the show – Mundasupatti, a period comedy film.
In a village, where people equate photography to death, a photographer and his assistant try to make a living. It is funny how every time the protagonist takes out his camera, the village men run for their lives fearing the camera to be a deadly weapon. And when the photographers accidentally lose a photo of the deceased, they try to recreate a fake photo, which leads to chaos in the short. With an added love angle, the fresh concept is entertaining even as a full-length film. But as with most short-to-feature films, the big-screen film feels a tad longer with the comedy falling flat in a few parts.
Kadhalil Sodhappuvadhu Yeppadi (Kadhalil Sodhappuvadhu Yeppadi)
Streaming On: Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ Hotstar
If one needs a guide on all the ways one can mess up in a budding romance, this film should be the perfect find. Throwing cold coffee on your partner in a fit of rage is quite the trend now with Mismatched and Never Have I Ever, but Parvathi (in Kadhalil Sodhappuvadhu Yeppadi) was way ahead of her time. She throws a glass at her boyfriend and breaks up with him, injuring his eyebrow and his heart.
This Balaji Mohan short plays out like highlight reels of a feature film. But if you want to invest some time in the real emotional drama of their love story, you could watch the feature, which also has a romance between an older couple.
Kadhalikka Yaarumillai (Highway Kaadhali)
One of the shorts that brought Amritha Aiyer of Bigil fame to the limelight is Highway Kaadhali The short uses cinematic liberties to explore a cab ride in one’s afterlife. Everyone is bound to make mistakes but what if Yama Dharma makes a mistake and takes a wrong life? This interesting plot gets better when a human being accidentally rides the cab.
This introverted guy who boards the cab finally finds the courage to talk to a girl named Sneha. But he soon learns that he is not talking to Sneha, but in turn her ghost. In a fantasy film about cab drivers fighting to deliver the maximum amount of ghosts, this guy bargains with Yama Dharma to get Sneha’s life back. While Kamal Prakash’s short had Pradeep Ranganathan and Amritha Aiyer play the lead roles, the feature film will star GV Prakash and Raiza Wilson.
Maya (Night Show)
Streaming On: Jio Cinema, YouTube
It’s a night show, and horror film to top it off. You are the only one watching it in the whole theatre. If you manage to watch it without any spike in your heart rate and without closing your eyes, you are in for a huge prize. But can you make it through the show? With such a thrilling premise, Nayanthara-starrer Maya is easily one of the most unique horror films to have come out of Tamil cinema in the last 10 years. Director Ashwin Saravanan made his debut with this film and it was a fresh take in the horror genre with only one intention: to scare you.
The Night Show is more about the film within the film. When a director is on a hunt to find a dead person in an abandoned mental asylum, he is found mysteriously murdered, leaving his ally, an auto driver, to run for life. The exact bit plays out in the feature towards the interval, but with a twist.
Pannaiyarum Padminiyum (Pannaiyarum Padminiyum)
Streaming On: Amazon Prime Video, YouTube
When we buy things that are close to our hearts, it slowly becomes a part of who we are. Similarly, when a village landlord gets his own car, the prestigious ‘Premium Padmini’ brand, it becomes an object of fondness in the entire village. The emotional short film takes one through the love that the village folk share with the car. Director Arun Kumar, who made his debut by extending this famous short film, managed to deliver a similar feeling with his feature film. Although it feels a little stretched, the Vijay Sethupathi-starrer still makes for a pleasant watch.
Streaming On: Netflix
Don starring Sivakarthikeyan and Priyanka Mohan marked the debut of director Cibi Chakravarthi. It narrates the coming-of-age story of a college student who aspires to become a filmmaker. While Bittu is not available to stream, Chakravarthi has mentioned the short and its inspirations in Don in a few interviews.
Bittu starred two actors, who went on to play important roles in the feature film as well – Kaali Venkat and Bala Saravanan. Interestingly, Chakravarthi, who was Atlee’s assistant director, had shown the pilot film to Vijay during the filming of Mersal. And the actor is said to have appreciated his work. Such words of praise eventually pushed the director to make it into a full-length feature film.