Difference #1 :
Normal Cinema : Everybody lives in the posh localities of Chennai, in homes with bright white walls, a glass-top dining table, and if possible, a grand big oonjal in the living room.
Serious Cinema : Everybody lives in, or hails from either dusty dry parched red-muddy or lush green paddy-fielded villages.
Difference #2 :
Normal Cinema : Malls. Cafe Coffee Day. That’s where the skinny-jeans clad, sleek-straight-left-open-haired heroine whizzes past the hero – laughing musically with her similarly dressed gang of girls.
Serious Cinema : Sandhai (village weekly markets). Kovil Thiruvizha (temple fests). That’s where the paavaadai-dhaavani clad, oiled-tightly-plaited-tied-with-orange/green-ribbon-haired heroine whizzes past the hero – laughing musically with her similarly dressed gang of girls.
Difference #3 :
Normal Cinema : Cars fly over lorries and ambassadors, land smoothly, and then swoosh forward with gusto.
Serious Cinema : They don’t exist. All people are too poor to afford automobiles. If at all, only the villain’s goons appear in one – heads & aruvaals jutting out of the windows – during the climax sequence.
Difference #4 :
Normal Cinema : People wear fashionable sunglasses all the time – indoors, at night, inside movie halls (and probably to bed and in the shower too, who knows!).
Serious Cinema : People roll eyes all the time – not to mock anything or out of annoyance – they just do, it is the character’s natural body language.
Difference #5 :
Normal Cinema : The sky is always all lovely blue, with just the right scattering of fluffy clouds. Or inky black, cloudless, with a rich smattering of stars irrespective of air-pollution levels, and a radiant moon.
Serious Cinema : No light, no sun, no sky. You, along with the characters are perpetually groping in the dark – literally. If you are lucky, you get dark grey clouds pouring down just when the protagonist gets all weepy. This does not apply when he/she loses control and wails, howls or vechifies oppaari.
Difference #6 :
Normal Cinema : Fight sequences are always beautifully speed-choreographed with henchmen flying & landing head-first on concrete, but with their head intact – no blood except for gun shots & knife stabs. This is neat & tidy, sleek cinema.
Serious Cinema : Fight sequences involve people falling over each other, slashing aruvaals & uruttukattais aimlessly, and smashing each others’ heads with huge stones – and of course freely flowing blood – and continuing for ever, making you wonder if they are cats with nine lives.
Difference #7 :
Normal Cinema : Every film has a ‘bedroom scene’ involving pristine white sheets tastefully thrown over bare backs and bare feet.
Serious Cinema : Every film involves a rape scene (at least attempted earnestly, and just missed), preferably a brutal gang-rape, or a woman forced by ‘circumstances’ to ‘relent’ to some sleazy guy.
Difference #8 :
Normal Cinema : All lead women are fair-complexioned – ‘white as milk’, and speak more English than (horrible, giggly) Tamil.
Serious Cinema : All lead women are fair-complexion-made-dark-by-two-tonnes-of-makeup who don’t speak English (remember, they are too poor?), but speak very urban English sounding Tamil twisted into supposedly rustic, rural Tamil.
Difference #9 :
Normal Cinema : Nobody has limp/frizzy/disheveled hair – even after a bike ride on a windy ECR. And all young women leave their hair open – curled, uncurled, permed, streaked, straightened to vermicelli – just like everybody in hot, humid, conservative Chennai does in reality!
Serious Cinema : We are repeatedly enlightened about how men trim their nose hair*. And lunatic Aghori ascetics sport nicely colored and blow-dried shiny locks falling softly across their faces**
* I really did not know about this nose-hair-trimming business till I watched either Virumandi or Pushpak last year – I swear!
** You think I exaggerate? Refer Naan Kadavul’s hero’s hair for proof.
Difference #10 :
Normal Cinema : You can bear to watch most. At least when bribed with enough pop-corn and crackpot friends to laugh with – at sequences intentionally or unintentionally funny, or with funny running commentary.
Serious Cinema : You can’t get yourself to finish most. If you force yourself to (because of some flash of insanity), you keep wondering a) what is happening b) what is being said c) what is being meant, especially by those ‘bad word’ sounding words and ‘double meaning’ sounding phrases d) why you decided to watch this depressing stuff e) why you are still watching.
That’s all. Phew! If that doesn’t get me a 10 on 10, I don’t know what would!
P.S. If you have to know, I got insane enough to watch Paruthiveeran and Naan Kadavul last night, and got all similar bad memories triggered.
P.S. Okay. With that earth-shattering wisdom off my head, moi get back to research now – of the kind I am expected to do. And back to Kadhala Kadhala or MMKR playing in one corner of my C++ populated screen. 😛