TJ Gnanavel On Why Love Today Surprised Him

In the Tamil Filmmakers Adda 2022, Jai Bhim director TJ Gnanavel speaks about the transformative period in Tamil cinema and why he views it as a democracy
TJ Gnanavel On Why Love Today Surprised Him

TJ Gnanavel rose to fame with his sophomore directorial Jai Bhim. The legal drama, which starred Suriya, Lijimol Jose and Manikandan in important roles, spoke about state violence against marginal communities. Speaking as part of the Tamil Filmmakers Adda 2022, the filmmaker opined that 2022 is a transformation period in Kollywood where content and big-scale films co-exist. 

TJ Gnanavel looks at the co-existence of both these spaces as the democracy Kollywood enjoys today. He says, “In 2022, there has been more discussion about content in cinema and there is an emergence of South industry. So, when we closely observe Tamil Nadu, we can find that it has a good balance of content and big-scale films. Unlike Kerala which is more content-oriented and Telugu and Kannada industries that have big-scale films, when you look at Tamil Nadu, you will get a content-heavy film like Iravin Nizhal and at the same time, you will also get films that celebrate big stars.”

Pradeep Ranganathan’s Love Today, which is based on his short film App(a) Lock, is another film that impressed Gnanavel. The filmmaker says that such YouTube content helps showcase unique and potential stories.  “YouTube gives you an opportunity to create out-of-the-box content. The origin of Love Today is a short film on YouTube. The scope for the product, the reception it received, how many people viewed it: these are the metrics that give a producer confidence in backing a project,” says the director. 

He further adds that Love Today blew away audiences with the way it portrayed content on screen. “Even without their knowledge, the audience are laughing and clapping at the film, while it criticises them. Everyone watching the film has been able to relate it in one way or another. They either relate themselves to the film or know someone who is similar to the characters in the film. In addition, the film also busted the myth of what a hero is supposed to look like. So Love Today is an example of art creating a platform to view self-criticism in an entertaining manner,” notes TJ Gnanavel. 

Similar to YouTube, he suggests that different kinds of content have their own spaces and that business certainly plays a role in determining whether the story is released in theatres or OTT. “A series like Suzhal cannot be made for theatre viewing. A web series of that form lends itself to the OTT space. And distributors have problems with films that run in excess of over two and a half hours as there would be lesser shows screened in the case of longer run times,” opines Gnanavel who adds that there are other people to look after business so his responsibility is to deliver good content, no matter what space his content lends itself to.

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