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Scream Stream: Karthik Subbaraj's Pizza is a trendsetter which set a new benchmark for horror films

The movie, which was later remade into other languages, is regarded as one of the finely crafted spooky movies in Tamil cinema  

Scream Stream: Karthik Subbaraj's Pizza is a trendsetter which set a new benchmark for horror films

A still from the film 

Last Updated: 10.38 PM, Oct 11, 2021


No other film industry in India has made as many movies in horror genre as Kollywood has in the last decade. Though many of them, including the successful ones, had ample humour elements in them, a handful of other attempts stood out for being unique and unabashedly spooky. 

Pizza, which marked the directorial debut of Karthik Subbaraj, was one such movie. The film, which released without much expectations in 2012, went on to become one of the best made movies of the year in Kollywood, and had set a benchmark for movies in the horror genre. 


An innovative attempt in storytelling

The movie's story revolved around Michael (Vijay Sethupathi) and Anu (Ramya Nambeesan), an ambitious live-in couple who are madly in love with each other. The former is a pizza delivery boy while the latter is an aspiring writer who is interested in stories related to supernatural elements. Michael's employer and colleague, played by Aadukalam Naren and Karunakaran respectively, are the other two pivotal characters in the film. Michael, who goes to deliver pizza at a haunted house, gets the shock of his life when he finds the spirit of three people there. 

However, what makes things worse is his discovery that his girlfriend Anu, who became pregnant recently, is also a ghost. A terrific twist in the climax, apart from the effective spooky portions (Gopi Amaranath, Leo John Paul and Santhosh Narayanan, who handled cinematography, editing and music respectively, are at their best) and spine-tingling tail end, aided by strong writing are the prime highlights of the movie. What makes Pizza a trendsetter is the manner in which the director handled red herring fallacy. Karthik leaves no scope for the audience to predict the story flow or the character arc of its leads. 

A still from Pizza
A still from Pizza

Gripping performances from the lead cast

Vijay Sethupathi, who appears in a lanky avatar in the film, single handedly shoulders a lion's share of its sequences, which helps Pizza become an edge-of-the-seat thriller. He pulled off varied emotions and different rasas effortlessly, making the viewers empathize with his situation in the spooky scenes. With equally compelling performances from Aadukalam Naren and Karunakaran, the film ticks all the right boxes, and entertains the audience by holding their complete attention till the end.  

Pizza changed the fate of these actors and technicians

The runaway hit marked the first film of Vijay Sethupathi in a lead role. Needless to say, there was no turning back for the actor who has now become a name to reckon with, thanks to the projects he was later part of, in different languages. The film was the second outing of music composer Santhosh Narayanan who is currently one of the most-preferred composers in Kollywood for ambitious projects. 

Karthik went on to become one of the bankable filmmakers in Tamil cinema. Karunakaran and Bobby Simha, who played notable roles in the film, became busy actors later; the latter went on to win a National Award for his performance in Karthik's Jigarthanda after a couple of years. CV Kumar, who bankrolled the project, became a household name in no time with a few more successful films in his kitty. Actor Kavin, who appears in a brief role in the movie's beginning, earned a huge fan base after many years. 

A still from the film
A still from the film

Pizza was sold like hotcakes

Made on a budget of less than two crores, the film became a huge money-spinner at the box office. Thanks to the rousing reception from Tamil audience, Pizza was later dubbed into Telugu and remade into Hindi under the same name. It was remade into Kannada and Bengali under the titles Whistle and Golpo Holeo Shotti respectively. 

Pizza is streaming on MX Player and its Telugu version is available on Disney+ Hotstar.

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