It has been about 20 years since an “Amman” film, which is a sub-genre of the devotional genre, was made in the Tamil film industry. And that streak has been broken by RJ Balaji, who has written, directed and acted in Mookuthi Amman. The film stars Nayanthara as a deity who comes down to earth to take on religious dogmatism. And Balaji plays the sidekick of Mookuthi Amman.
Balaji, a staunch believer in the god, saw an opportunity to bring back the genre that has been long forgotten. “These days in Tamil films, the hero either will be a rowdy or police. I think right now we are in a place where we need movies that teach good values,” Balaji told indianexpress.com.
Growing up RJ Balaji enjoyed devotional movies. “I really enjoyed all films made by AP Nagarajan like Kandhan Karunai, Thiruvilaiyadal, Thirumal Perumai. Later in the 1990s, I have a strong memory of enjoying movies like Durga, Thai Poosam, Amman,” he recalled.
The god-based movies that came out in the 60s and the 70s were made with the main intention of imbibing the audience with strong moral and social values. Late director Kodi Ramakrishna revived the genre by making a spectacle movie Ammoru in 1995. And the success of the film led to filmmakers exploiting Kodi Ramakrishna’s template of Amman taking a break from saving the world and taking revenge against bad guys on behalf of their devotees.
“I just wanted to make a happy film. This film is entertaining and fun. And the good message is just a bonus. We need films that make people happy and teaches them good values. If you call a movie family-friendly, then it should show a kid how to treat a woman,” said RJ Balaji.
Balaji also hopes that Mookuthi Amman would inspire aspiring filmmakers to handle female characters with sensitivity. “I was returning with my family from a trip to Japan. And all flight attendants were from Japan. I was watching a Telugu film, and an air hostess asked me what are you watching. I was watching a scene where the hero was running behind the heroine. And she was shocked. And she said it was bad. For me, it is a very normal thing. But, for a woman from Japan, it is a very strange thing. I want to make films for kids, and people who are watching should take away something from the movie. It may not be religious or political. It could be just how to treat a woman,” he said.
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