GANDHINAGAR: About 122 films released in 2014 and offered a bit of everything. Right from old wine in new bottles to flights of adventurism. The industry invested around `320 crore overall in cinematic fantasies. Over `150 crore, including the earnings from satellite rights, were reaped.
Business Sense: This was a healthier year business-wise compared to the lean pickings of last year. It began with Gharshane and ended on happy note with Yash's Mr and Mrs Ramachari being declared a hit. The first success of the year was Sri Murali's starrer Ugramm. Directed by debutant Prashanth Neel, the film successfully ran for 100 days and was appreciated for its refreshing tenor.
Though Rakshit Shetty's Ulidavaru Kandante did not succeed at the box office, the film began new conversations about content and style and the actor-turned-director was much appreciated for his efforts.
The other films which had a good box office run were Sudeep's Manikya, Yash's Gajakesari, Puneeth Rajkumar's Power ***, Shivarajkumar's Bhajarangi and Dhruv Sarja's Bahaddur. Films like Chandralekha, Oggarane, Drishya, Adhyaksha, Dil Rangeela, Brahma, Love in Mandya were among those that managed to run for 50 to 75 days.
The rest of the films were either flops or below average and the list included Ninnindale, starring Puneeth. Ambareesha is ambling towards 50 days, if only because of Darshan's huge fan following.
Remaking formulaic hits: The year catered to populist as well as cerebral tastes also proved that certain things in Kannada cinema will never change. The fascination with remakes for instance.
The fact is that this year, the industry had a total of 22 remakes. And even a few top stars of Kannada film industry thought that a remake was the easiest way to top the charts. Films like Ravichandran's Drishya, a remake of a Malayalam film Drishyam, Manikya, a remake of Mirchi (Telugu) and Puneet's Power Star, a remake of Dookudu (Telugu) were well accepted. However Upendra's Superro Ranga, a remake of Kick remained below average.
Old classics resurrected: Dr Rajkumar's Kasturi Nivasa which was re-released in colour garnered a lot of attention from the audience. Rajkumar's other film Mayura and Vishnuvardhan's Khaidi were also rereleased during the year.
The emergence of Tulu cinema: In 2014, around seven Tulu films were released. Nirel, Barke, Chali Polilu, Madime, Pakkilu Mooji, Bramhasri Narayana Guru made waves. Ravi Basroor's Gargar Mandala was also released in Bengaluru.
Fresh directors shine: It was reassuring to see budding directors like Prashanth Neel (Ugramm), Nanda Kishore (Adhyakshya), S Krishna (Gajakesari), Chetan Kumar (Bahaddur), and Santhosh Ananddram (Mr and Mrs Ramachari) finding their place in the sun with fresh themes. An actor like Rakshit Shetty also catered to a different section of viewers with his directorial film Ulidavru Kandante.
Yash takes the lead: Though stars like Darshan, Sudeep, Puneeth Rajkumar continue to rule the roost, this year it was Yash who romped home with the lion's share of success. In 2014. Yash delivered yet again after having scored big in 2013 with films like Googly and Raja Hulli. This year he succeeded with Gajakesari and Mr and Mrs Ramachari. Dhruv Sarja who had his second release this year also made it big. Ganesh continued to entertain the audience with Dil Rangeela, which released after Shravani Subramanya. Sharan remains this year's favourite too for his film Adhyaksha, which proved to be a bonafide entertainer in all aspects.
A sparkling year for Radhika Pandit: Though Radhika Pandit had just two film releases, she still succeeded with both Bahaddur and Mr and Mrs Ramachari scoring big at the box office. Amulya tasted success with Shravani Subramanya followed by Rachita Ram in Dil Rangeela. For actor turned politician Ramya, the year was not significant as she shuffled two careers with mixed releases. Aryan was the only film that released this year, which was not well appreciated by the audience. Actress like Ragini Dwivedi and Priyamani had their ups and downs. Shruti Hariharan who is being considered for different kinds of films, proved to be a versatile actress.
Outsiders who created a buzz: The major attraction this year was Southern actress Trisha making an entry into Sandalwood with Power Star, and she was also one of the reasons for the film's success. Another Southern actress Navya Nair's also made her presence felt with her successful film Drishya.
Awards and recognition: December 1 directed by P Seshadri won the 61st National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Kannada and for Original Screenplay. Prakruti recieved a National Award for Best Screenplay (Adaption). P Sheshadri's December 1, Nikhil Manju's Haj, Mahantesh Ramdurga's Agasi Parlour, Panchakshari's Prakruthi, Prakash Babu's Atti Hannu Mattu Kanaja were picked for various film festivals and also swept awards in various categories.
The prestigious Rajyotsava awards were given to singer S Janaki, Vaijanath Biradhar Patil, RT Rama and MS Rajshekar.
- Pooja Gandhi's Abhinetri was accused of plagiarism. While films like Adhyaksha, Power *** and a few other films had to go through various hurdles.
- Jaggesh and Ramya engaged in a twitter war over their film Neer Dose.
- The dubbing controversy (about other language films being dubbed in Kananda) continued to haunt the industry even in 2014.
- Nayana Krishna accused of being a part of a blackmail case absconded from the industry.
- Directors like Guru Deshpande and Om Prakash Rao were caught in a sex scandal.
- Land issues around the memorial of late actor Vishnuvardhan continued to make news.
The news makers
- Thomas D'Souza was elected President of Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce
- Director and producer Rajendra Singh Babu was elected as the Chairman of Karnataka Chalanachitra Academy.
- Rajinikanth and Chiranjeevi attended the inaugural function of Rajkumar's Memorial.
- Actor Shivarajkumar received a doctorate.
- The industry came to a halt when Ambareesh, a senior actor and politician got admitted to the hospital. The entire industry and Ambareesh's fans prayed for his good health.
The year starts with Kushi Kushiyagi followed by Shivam, Abhinetri, Vaastu Prakara, Raate. Most awaited films of the year 2015 will be Rana Vikrama, Ranna, Airavata, Masterpiece, Vajrakaya, DK, Male, Raja Rajendra and Ganesh's 25th film Buguri among others.
Pawan Kumar's upcoming C10H14N2 is another film to watch out for in 2015.