When movies are made in a pattern, there will be someone who will break the monotony and give a surprise. Oomai Vizhigal did that, and the technological breakthrough it brought in to Kollywood was immeasurable.
Oomai Vizhigal (1986)
Oomai Vizhigal is a thriller with a political angle. Written and Produced by Aabavanan, R.Aravindraj directed the movie. The music was by Manoj – Gyaan, Cinematography was done by Ramesh Kumar. They were completely unknown in the movie world, and the only credentials they had were – Students of Adyar Film Institute (now MGR film Institute). They made an indelible mark in Tamil Cinema.
Oomai Vizhigal is a crime thriller with a political angle. Although there were multiple side stories in the movie, I will try to give a synopsis. Young girls are murdered at Chola Picnic Village owned by the mysterious PRK (Ravichandran). Raja (Asst.Editor) of Dhinamurasu magazine tries to investigate the murders with the help of his editor Chandran (Jai Shankar). Vijay (Arun Pandian), Raja’s friend also joins them. Despite threats, they try to investigate the murders. Through Devi (Ilavarasi), Raja’s girlfriend, Dhinamurasu group comes to know about Sattanathan ( Malaysia Vasudevan), an MLA’s involvement with PRK and these murders. Sattanathan’s goons attack Dhinamurasu’s office and also finds out that Devi is the informer and murders her.
DSP Deenadayalan comes into the investigation and how the whole team brings out the political nexus forms the crux of the story. I am not writing why the movie is titled “Oomai Vizhigal” (Silent Eyes). If you have watched the film, you will know it, and if you haven’t, I will not do a spoiler.
Why is it so special?
- The sheer magnificence attached to the movie. Multiple stars, big budget and complex, intriguing thriller – everything was big with this movie.
- The technological attitude it brought to Kollywood. I think for the first time an ultra slow motion was used for chasing sequences. The audience was awed by some of the camera work. There is one specific sequence considered to be a landmark scene in Tamil cinema. I have linked the video. Check it out from 7:30
- The fantastic performances of actors made the movie memorable. Jai Shankar, Chandrasekhar, Arun Pandian, Vijayakanth, Saritha did their part perfectly. A cameo by Karthik was well received, but the pick of the lot was Ravichandran. He came back after a hiatus, and the transformation from a lover boy to bloodthirsty villain was beyond imagination. Malaysia Vasudevan can’t be discounted either.
- Manoj Bhatnagar and Gyaan Varma had an exciting debut with music especially the background score were pretty impressive. I don’t need to tell you about the popularity of “Tholvi Nilayana Ninaithaal” and “Nilai Maarum Ulagil.”
Why is it on the list?
- It broke the pattern of movies that were made at that time.
- Although there were film institute students who already made a mark, this one made sure they were taken as serious filmmakers. They showed how a big budget extravaganza should be made.
- The technological attitude that it gave to Tamil Cinema. People started talking about cinematography, slick editing and audio mixing etc.,
- One of the best thrillers you can see in Tamil cinema.
- Adyar Film Institute was instituted in 1945. Now it is called as the M.G.R. Government Film and Television Training Institute and is situated in Taramani.
- Aabavanan made many more movies with the same extravaganza – Senthoora Poove, Inaindha Kaigal (in contention for the list) and Karuppu Roja. The importance he gave for sound is fantastic – Karuppu Roja was the first movie in India to use DTS.
- Aravind Raj made Uzhavan Magan after Oomai Vizhigal and after some failures is coming back with a movie titled “Kavithai.”
- Manoj Bhatnagar and Gyan Varma made few more memorable albums – Inaindha Kaigal, Uzhavan Magan, Senthoora Poove and Thaai Naadu. Manoj Bhatnagar even tried his hand in direction and made some forgettable movies like Good Luck and Endrendrum Kaadhal.
- CinemaScope format was first used in Oomai Vizhigal by Ramesh Kumar. He is running his film school – Magic Lantern. They used high-speed films and special CinemaScope equipment from Russia to achieve it (Update: Raja Raja Chozhan(1973) was the first movie to release in CinemaScope, but Oomai Vizhigal became the first movie to be shot in Cinemascope. Later Cinemascope became a norm in Tamil Cinema)
- Ram Gopal Varma was impressed with the sound design of Senthoorapoove so much that he made his friends to release the movie in Telugu. When he made Siva, he consulted Aabavanan regarding sound design and mixing. Siva was the first movie to credit sound designer in a Telugu movie.
- The best of Tamil cinema by Dhananjayan
- ‘Set’ to make waves – The Hindu
YouTube link to the movie
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