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Will Cross-Genre Films Work Here? How to Make it Happen?

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There’s some sort of a grey frontier line on which each of us are standing where we cannot step on either sides of the line – The IPL vs Cauvery.  Most of us know that it’s logically very wrong to bring in IPL and a social issue concerning just our state. At the same time, many believe that it is the only way to bring in the necessary Media attention. But, did it pay off? Can’t predict. Now, let us talk in film language about this issue. IPL is a sports league meant for entertaining the audience. The cauvery is a social issue blended with a lot of politics. What do we call each of them? We could term each of them as a separate genre and the result is a Cross-genre!

Based on the analogy used above, one could have a very mixed opinion on the Cross-genre. But, from all these years, we have been offered with many such Cross-genre films that have had a quite successful run. So, I’m going to talk about how Cross-genre enhances the movie watching experience in some and how it also degrades in some. Read further to know.

Cross genre  is itself considered as a separate genre. How we have genres such as action, comedy, romance. Cross genre gives rise to a new one by combining any of these. We have Romantic Comedy, Action drama, Tragicomedy and many more! One would also wonder if there are any films without the cross-genre! It’s because most of the films that we have our a mix of two or more genres.

When the audience don’t know they are in for the mix of two genres?

This cross-genre particularly enhances the experience of the audience when they get the unexpected. When a film promises to be of a particular genre and the events take in such a way that the genre completely changes, the audience is all pleased! For instance, Jigarthanda (2014). This film before it’s release and also until the end of first half was a complete gangster story. Suddenly, when the film takes the comedy route, the audience is amused! This is because, the audience never in the first place predicted something of that kind would happen in that story.

The thing in cross genre is that one could draw in themes and elements from two genres to satisfy many sections of an audience. In jigarthanda, some would’ve liked the first half and some would’ve loved the second half. However, at the end of the day, both of these sections were satisfied.  That’s one strong benefit of adopting a cross-genre in one’s film. Another example would be Talaash (2012). This film was a complete investigative crime thriller until its climax. No one actually thought that it would completely change its route and take shape in the horror genre. But, It did! This film mixed crime & horror so convincingly that all of us were so much delighted!  

The thing to be remembered here is that, both these films changed its genre in a very organic manner that didn’t look out of place. The genre transition happened due to the events of the film and not out of the events. One could say, the two genres were integrated in these films and hence they were enjoyed by us.

What if the audience knew?

However, there are some films that succeeded big time inspite of being named as a cross genre flick even before the release. Take Maragadha Naanayam (2017). This film was promoted as a fantasy comedy and people went to theatres in the hope of some laughters. The film had integrated the fantasy element and events in a way that kindled our laughter bones in many places! In fact, one could term this film as a combination of fantasy/heist/comedy.  Similarly, this film satisfied many sections of audience. It had ample scope to satisfy the kids, Youngsters and also the family audience! This was an example of how a film that promised to be of a particular genre and succeeded unlike the previous ones.

Misfires of cross genre!

Now let me talk to you about some films that were unsuccessful. Gulebagavali (2018) is a film that promised to be a heist comedy.  However, in contrast to Maragadha Naanayam, the comedy didn’t work at all places. It couldn’t deliver what it promised at all places because the comedy wasn’t integrated with the heist. The comedy was quite forceful and staged in between the heist.

Kabali (2016) that promised to be a gangster flick with ample scope for the usual superstar’s signatures. But, what we got was a gangster drama with ample scope for emotions which was quite unexpected. This backfired for the film as it wasn’t what it had promised. But, even if it had authentic emotions, the blend of emotions with the gangster mass didnt happen so well. Ranjith initially depleted all  the mass moments that we were wanting to witness  and then gave us his emotional drama which is the core of Kabali. I feel that there was a bit of director audience disconnect, and in my view, if the core was established first, which is the search for his wife, and then the Mass thing happened, Kabali would have been a very much successful movie altogether

Let me give another example. Maayavan (2017) was a science fiction thriller film with ample scope for suspense. At Least, that’s how it was promoted. The film tried its best to be the same, but failed big time. This film’s science fiction element wasn’t that captivating enough for the ones that love science fiction. The mystery element was also not that convincing enough for the ones that like mystery. It basically couldn’t satisfy us in spite of integrating these genres as the events that lead to this were weak even as separate genres. In such a case, when these were combined too, it produces the similar output.

However, one of the easiest ways of trying out many genres in a single film is making an anthology. Using an Anthology, one could satisfy all sections of audience from comedy to suspense. Something what Solo (2017) did.

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