Elephants have been used as an added attraction in Tamil cinema ever since a pachyderm played the heroine Thavamani Devi’s friend in the 1941 film Vana Mohini. Over the years, we have had memorable moments featuring the tusker in films like Avvaiyar (1953), Nalla Neram (1972), Annai Oru Aalayam (1979), Ram Lakshman (1981), and even the recent Kumki (2012). Now, Kollywood has started expressing its attraction for elephants in the film titles. Suriya’s Vaaranam Aayiram (2008) used the tusker reference (taken from Andal’s pasuram) to signify the strength of its everyday hero. Now, it seems the industry, which is wellknown for hero worship, is taking this element to its logical conclusion by referencing its hero (and other characters) with the elephant.
The film to which this trend, if you could call it that, can be attributed to. Prabu Solomon’s film is about a mahout trying to pass off a temple elephant as a trained kumki elephant, after he falls in love with the tribal girl whose village he is called for to protect. The film made anything related to elephant good for filmmakers.
FILM Ettuthikkum Mathayaanai
KS Thangasamy, who had earlier directed the small-budget film Raattinam, is making this film with Arya’s brother Sathya in the lead. We hear that the title refers to the unsurpassable challenges that the hero faces in the film. And, what better way to convey that than with a reference to elephants?
FILM Pattathu Yaanai
The term denotes the royal elephant and in the film, it signifies the might of the lead character, who wants to turn over a new leaf in his life but is being pulled back into violence by goons. Ultimately, he has to use brute force, like an elephant, to stop them from messing around with his life.
FILM Madha Gaja Raja
Vishal seems to have taken a liking for the tusker as is evident from the fact that two of his films finding a place in this list. This title doesn’t refer to the elephant but to the elephant God — Lord Ganesha. In the film, Vishal’s character (a cable operator) is named Raja, though his friends refer to him as ‘Madha Gaja Raja’.
FILM Madhayaanai Kootam
GV Prakash’s debut film as a producer is directed by first-time director Vikram Sugumaran, a former assistant of Balu Mahendra. The film is set in the deep south, Theni and surrounding areas, and stars newcomer Kathir and Oviya in the lead. The title refers to the unruly bunch of characters that populate this film.