From behind the screens

Gone are the days when only actors appearing on the silver screen hogged the limelight. Artists who work behind the scenes have long complained that they do not get their due share of recognition, but there have been a few exceptions – lyricists like Kannadasan, Vairamuthu and Vaali, and directors like K. Balachander, Bharathiraja, Balu Mahendra and Mani Ratnam.

But trends are changing these days and people are giving equal importance to film artists who work behind the screen. These days, directors, lyricists and cameramen attract almost the same number of autograph-hunters as actors. Plus there is a growing healthy trend in Kollywood where these off-the-screen artists are given a chance to appear on silver screen as a tribute to their efforts or a celebration of their success – not just guest or cameo roles, but sometimes even lead roles.

Kamal Haasan is one who made it a point that artists who are not in the limelight should get their due share of respect and recognition. That is the reason he always gives a chance to his makeup artists, choreographers, etc, who otherwise have very little chance to be known to the world. Example: Brindha in Nammavar (in the days when there were no reality shows to recognize dance masters), makeup artist Brian Jennings and lyricist Kapilan in Dasavatharam. Kamal agrees he almost had to “smoke Kapilan out of his shell” to appear on the screen. Similarly, Kollywood forced makeup artist Sundaramoorthy to become an actor.

Now, lyricist Pa. Vijay appears in te lead role in Thai Kaaviyam and lyricist Sneghan is acting in Yogi, which stars director Ameer in the lead!

Recently, eight assistant directors and even lightmen were given prominent roles in Kunguma Poovum Konjum Puravum. And in Mayandi Kudumbattar, ten directors are acting in prominent roles.

This healthy trend, similar to “take a bow session” of stage plays – where all the artists from scriptwriter to actor to set designer come on to the stage to accept the applause – is fast catching up with cinema.

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