Tamil films have started triggering debates over the language of Tamil. The fresh debate over the root of the words ‘Ayan’ and ‘Aegan’ has raised many questions over naming Tamil films. ‘Ayan’ (starring Suriya) means Brahma, the God, who creates and ‘Aegan’ (starring Ajith) means Siva, the God, who destructs. Though both words find a place in Tamil dictionary, it is said that the titles would be changed, as these words do not have their roots in Tamil. They, according to some scholars, were borrowed from Sanskrit and hence they cannot be considered as Tamil titles.
Last year DMK government announced entertainment tax exemption to the films that have Tamil titles. The move was taken by the Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi to discourage the then trend to have English titles for Tamil films. The filmmakers and producers started naming their films after Tamil titles. Now, following the objection to give tax exemption to “meaningless Tamil titles”, Tamil Nadu government has announced that the concession would not be extended to the films that do not have relevant titles. This has triggered a deep concern over the ‘relevance’ of the titles and many producers are preparing proper explanations to justify their titles.
Though the titles ‘Aegan’ and ‘Ayan’ cannot be termed as irrelevant ones, some argue that they are not original Tamil words and hence they advise the producers to find some alternate to get the tax exemption. Though Vairamuthu, veteran lyricist and a Tamil scholar, has categorically told that ‘Ayan’ is a Tamil word, the controversy ceases to die. One wonders how could the words taken from or inspired by other languages long back could be termed as non Tamil words.