From behind-the-scenes stories of classics in 'Touring Talkies' to deep dives into recent films in 'Unni Vlogs', here are 8 YouTube channels that are essential viewing for the South movie buff.
As movie buffs, we develop an instinct of sorts to explore and watch movies in our native languages. Later, we expand our horizons by viewing films from other languages. We also tend to explore behind-the-scenes information from our favorite films. It's also essential to explore interviews, documentaries and discussions about the current and bygone era of cinema. Nowadays, searching for such specific topics is made easy. From the snippet on 1968 Tamil cinema by french filmmaker Louis Malle which gave us a rare glimpse into the making of Thillana Mohanambal starring Sivaji Ganesan and Padmini to the 1973 BBC segment of Man Alive which showcased a first-person perspective into the life of actor Rajesh Khanna and his day to day entourage, these rare captures provide us with visual information about those past times. Here is our list of the essential South YouTube channels that provide information on both classics and current cinema:
Globetrotter Santhosh George Kulangara has evolved to become a household name across Kerala with his travel journals. His video journals evolved as travel vlogs and received a wider reach through his YouTube channel "Safari". The channel also included "Charithram Enniloode" (History through me) a segment for cinema enthusiasts where stalwarts of the Malayalam film industry provide a gold mine of information through the format of the video podcast. Ace scriptwriter Dennis Joseph where he dwells upon the backstories of his scripts, like how Mammootty was initially approached for Rajavinte Makan and how the script of No.20 Madras Mail created a rift in his longstanding friendship with director Joshiy to how director Bhadran's Sowparnikam gave way for Spadikam. He also tells us how his interaction with a doctor about extrasensory perception became the inception of Iyer the Great.
Many more sessions with renowned artists like Lyricist Shibu Chakravarty, director Lal Jose, Babu Namboothiri, and ace poster designer Gayathri Ashokan are also available.
The Mallu Analyst
Vrinda and Vivek's youtube channel provides a disparate view on Malayalam films and pop culture. Their analysis explores aspects of body shaming, misogyny, and the extent of logical reasoning against cinematic liberty which is imbibed in films in the name of entertainment. From subjects such as how humor has evolved in Malayalam cinema to exploring films such as Njangal Santhushtaranu which normalize misogyny, the channel produces content worthy enough to enhance one's intellectual reasoning or at the least make you realize there are always two sides to a coin.
Unni Vlogs Cinephile
If sarcasm was a weapon then Unni is an expert in using it. From decoding trailers and posters to post-release explanations, from Gadgets to Short film reviews, Unni Vlogs is a supermarket equivalent for all things Malayalam. From the Hilariously sarcastic take on Mohanlal starrer Big Brother to an intricate analysis on the recent Prithviraj starrer Kuruthi Unni provides a narrative vlog on recent Malayalam cinema. His witty Q&A segment explores the long-standing quarrel between Mammootty and Mohanlal fans to a very personalized question "Who am I?" where he dwells upon his YouTube journey is worth a watch.
If 'Charitram Enniloode' is a soft breeze film-making nostalgia in Malayalam cinema then Paruchuri Palakulu by veteran screenwriter/actor Paruchuri Gopal Krishna is a whirlwind of Telugu cinema facts. He talks about the changes being made in Chiranjeevi and Radha starrer Kondaveeti Donga, and how the interval sequence of Narasimha Naidu starring Balakrishna and Simran was changed during the eleventh-hour edit session. He recollects working with N.T Rama Rao in Naa Desam and the whistle-worthy dialogues in Aadhi which starred Jr NTR, there is a sizable amount of information about our favorite Telugu films spanning decades. Apart from providing trivial snippets Paruchuri Gopal Krishna also provides a brilliant masterclass on aspects of scripting and casting.
From interviews ranging from film stars and politicians to discussions with health experts, the channel has it all. But, what stands out are the interview segments conducted by the late actor, journalist T.Narasimha Reddy fondly known as TNR who recently succumbed due to Covid. With a segment named Frankly with TNR, the duration of interviews varies from an hour to over seven hours! Interviewing celebrities predominantly from the Telugu film industry, TNR's best works include sessions with actor Jagapathi Babu, Ram Gopal Varma, Mohan Babu, and Tanikella Bharani.
This segment in their youtube handle includes interviews with prominent political leaders among which the sessions with the famous theater personality and actress Arundathi Nag who is also the founder of the famous Ranga Shankara Theater in Bangalore along with actress Padmavathi Rao is something to look for. From their early days in Delhi and Mumbai to them associating together in the 1981 classic Geetha and the inception of Ranga Shankara, the interview covers their nostalgic journey through life and more.
Another session with prominent actor Ananth Nag is a three-part interview where he gets candid about his association with director Shyam Benegal and his take on awards to making statements "not all intellectuals are free and independent" to his journey with his brother and veteran actor Shankar Nag this three-part interview is an unabashed, unbiased version of the veteran actor.
An interesting session with actor Honnasandra Narasimhaiah Chandrashekar popularly known as Mukhyamantri Chandru where he gained the name from one of the longest-running Kannada plays 'Mukhyamantri' is also not to be missed.
If you are someone who loves to explore yesteryear cinema or seeks knowledge on films during the MGR, Sivaji era, look no further because Touring Talkies provide episodes and umpteen number of snippets covering Tamil cinema from the early '50s to till today.
From biographic episodes on actor MGR to how director Bharathiraja associated with Shivaji for Mudhal Mariyadhai, from discussions with film crew members of that past era to the way film industry functioned during the times of celluloid, the channel contributes much such information and encounters about popular films and the stars associated with them which are presented by journalist/actor/director Chitra Lakshmanan, screenwriter Kalaignanam, and others.
While Touring Talkies covers from the retro to the recent in Tamil cinema, The Rise – Nalla Cinema is a fairly new channel that focuses on intricate details from the bygone era of Tamil cinema.
From segments such as 'Dhinam Oru Cinema Thagaval' which gives viewers their dose of information on yesteryear cinema such as classics like Sathi Leelavathi (1936) directed by Ellis R. Dungan which also was the debut feature for veteran actor MGR to the 1944 hit Haridas starring M. K. Thyagaraja Bhagavathar, T. R. Rajakumari and N. C. Vasanthakokilam, whose record of the longest-running Tamil film in a single theater (784 days) was broken by Chandramukhi in 2005.