Film Career of Bala
Bala, born Bala Pazhanisaamy Narayana Thevanpatti in the Theni village of Tamil Nadu, made his directorial debut with the Tamil film ‘Sethu…’, a romantic drama that opened in December 1999 at a single suburban theatre but later became a popular commercial success. The film also gave a breakthrough to actor Vikram, who played the lead in the film and was struggling in the Tamil film industry for almost a decade without a hit and recognition up till then. More than 60 distributors had seen the film and were reluctant to screen it because of its tragic ending. The film got released on a low profile without any advertisement or promotion, but after the first few days, it started running to packed houses merely through positive word of mouth. The film was said to have initiated a "new wave". It received much critical acclaim and became a hit, going on to win the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil and wins in the Best Film category at the Filmfare Awards (South) and Cinema Express Awards. Both Bala and Vikram were also recognised for their work in the film. Its success led to its remakes in Kannada, titled ‘Huchcha’, Telugu titled ‘Seshu’ and in Hindi titled ‘Tere Naam’, starring megastar Salman Khan.
Bala next wrote and directed ‘Nandha’, another drama film that starred Suriya and Laila in the lead roles. It released in 2001 to critical acclaim and commercial success and won multiple awards at the Filmfare (South) and Tamil Nadu State Film Awards also earning a nomination under the Filmfare Award for Best Director for Bala. His subsequent venture ‘Pithamagan’, a Tamil action drama featuring a multiple star cast of Suriya, Laila, Vikram and Sangeetha in the lead. The film met with critical acclaim and was also declared a "Super Hit" at the box office, grossing around 33 Crores INR. Owing to the success, the film was dubbed into Telugu and released as ‘Sivaputrudu’ (The son of Siva) in 2004 and was also remade in Kannada as ‘Anatharu’ (2007). It won multiple awards, including the Filmfare Award for Best Film (Tamil) and the Filmfare Award for Best Director for Bala. Bala co-produced the 2005 Tamil comedy drama ‘Maayavi’, directed by Singampuli.
Bala’s next directorial project released in 2009. Titled ‘Naan Kaduval’, it is a drama film based on the Tamil novel ‘Yezhaam Ulagam’ by Jeyamohan, who also penned the dialogues for the film. Featuring Arya and Pooja in the lead, the film revolved around Rudran, portrayed by Arya, who in his childhood was left in Varanasi by his parents only to become an Aghori. The film had been in making for over 3 years, and upon release on February 6, 2009, it received immense critical acclaim, winning 2 National Film Awards, including the Best Director Award for Bala, 4 Vijay Awards including Best Director for Bala, 3 Tamil Nadu State Film Awards and a Filmfare Award. He next wrote and directed the comedy drama ‘Avan Ivan’, set in the backdrop of Theni, illustrating the relationship between two boisterously playful half-brothers. It released in 2011 to a mixed critical response and was a box office success.
Bala’s subsequent directorial and production was ‘Paradesi’, a drama based on real life incidents that took place before independence in the 1930s. It released in 2013, along with its dubbed Telugu version, to mostly positive reviews and reportedly made average box office collections. The film garnered Bala multiple Best Director awards, and was nominated at multiple international film festivals. Bala subsequently produced the 2014 horror drama ‘Pisaasu’, directed by Mysskin, which received highly positive reviews and became one of the most profitable films of the year with a grossing of around 8 Crores INR. He also produced the 2015 Tamil drama ‘Chandi Veeran’, directed by A. Sarkunam that received mixed to negative reviews.
Bala wrote, produced and directed the musical drama film ‘Tharai Thappattai’, released in January 2016, featuring Sasikumar and Varalaxmi Sarathkumar in the lead. Rediff noted for the film, "Tharai Thappattai has all the elements that you expect from the brilliant director and while it may not appeal to all, it is definitely worth a watch."
Filmography of Bala
The range of films that Bala has written, directed and produced is enlisted hereunder.
Awards and Honours received by Bala
Bala has received numerous awards and recognitions for his illustrious career, highlighted hereunder.
Indian Film Directors
Indian Film Producers
National Film Award for Best Direction
Tamil Film Directors
Popular Hindi Films
National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil