Monday, March 27, 2006

Star Movies

Last week, Rediff had a nice article on movies that made stars out some Hindi actors. I was nodding in agreement as I read about the movies since they were exactly the ones that introduced me to the actors or made me like them. Along the same lines, here are 5 Tamil actors and the movies that proved to be watersheds in their careers.

Rajnikanth – Thambikku Endha Ooru
In the early part of his career, Rajnikanth was predominantly an action star. Sure he had comedies like Thillu Mullu and dramas like Aarulirundhu Arubathu Varai on his resume, but action films like Billa and Murattu Kaalai were what he was known for. But Thambikku Endha Ooru threw comedy into the mix and showcased him as an action-comedy star – a role that attracted all sections of the audience. With movie’s big success, he knew had hit upon the right formula and he stuck to it after that.

Vijay – Poove Unakkaaga
Vijay started off his career in low-budget, vulgar movies like Rasigan that targeted the front-benchers almost exclusively. While the steady stream of such movies kept him in the public eye, they did not earn him respectability and the A-center and family audiences gave his movies a wide berth. All that changed with Vikraman’s Poove Unakkaaga. It made him a loverboy and gave him respectability. He built upon the movie’s success with a string of movies where he played the loverboy.

Vikram – Sethu
This has to be the most obvious entry in this list. Vikram was languishing in obscurity until then, starring in flops and playing second-fiddle to stars like Ajith (Ullaasam). But he then came out of the dark to take Tamil cinema by storm with Sethu. From a college guy in love to a mental patient, the movie brought out the actor in him and Tamil cinema had a new macho star.

Surya – Mounam Pesiyadhe
For a long time, Surya struggled to find the right break. With a face not really cut out for action, a soft voice and awful dancing, he starred in a series of flops trying to play a regular loverboy. But director Ameer finally found the perfect role for him. He cast Surya as a man of few words in Mounam Pesiyadhe and made the moviegoers (especially the ladies) sit up and take notice of him. After that it became easy to accept him whether he played a cop, a rowdy or a man with short-term memory loss.

Simbhu - Manmadhan
Since his debut, Simbhu was probably the most disliked actor in Tamil cinema. He was seen primarily as a wannabe-Rajnikanth (his tag of 'Little Superstar' didn't help) with his punch dialogs and finger-swishing. But with Manmadhan, he proved that he wasn't all noise. He came up with a good, engrossing screenplay and topped it off with a good performance that hit all the right notes.

12 Comments:

At 4:44 AM, Blogger Srijith Unni said...

As far as surya, is concerned, I believe "Nanda" is a better choice than "Mounam Paesiyadhey".

And, also how can we forget "Ram" for Jeeva.

"Vaali" for Ajith.

 
At 6:58 AM, Blogger Vidya said...

If I remember right .. there is a song in "Poovey unakkaga" that made me sit up and says "Vijai-yaa adhu" .. man wasn't he a handsome hunk ?? :). He kind of managed to get out of his not-so-decent-muttai-paroota image after this movie.

 
At 7:18 AM, Blogger Priya said...

Balaji, great post. good choices.

I would also add Ajith - "Kathal Kottai".

 
At 8:27 AM, Blogger anantha said...

BB: Spot on about Thambikku Endha Ooru and Rajini! As for Vijay, I think he must be the only one among the current bunch to have escaped with positive gains out of a Vikaraman movie. Maddy and Surya did not have such luck ;)

 
At 8:28 AM, Blogger anantha said...

BB: Mounam Pesiyathey.. for a time, me and my roomies used to watch that movie or at least parts of it, EVERY DAY! Really, EVERY DAY! Actually that movie had lots of subtle comedy and very good background score!

 
At 9:40 AM, Blogger Filbert said...

Though Poove Unakkaaga was Vijay's first genuine hit, I thought it was after 'Kaadhalukku Mariyaadhai' that he started reeling out hits and even his mediocre movies started becoming hits. And I agree with Srijith what he says about Surya. Nandha was the eye-opener for Surya, much before Mounam Pesiyadhe.

 
At 9:52 AM, Anonymous ram said...

more "watershed" or "star-making" movies:

Prakashraj's suave villainy in Aasai.

Kamal, the star- Sakalakala Vallavan
Kamal, the ultimate actor- Nayagan; think he ventured into his own brand of offbeat cinema only after this one and I think Raja Paarvai in '81 was more of an experiment whose commercial failure made him stay out of producing movies for a few years.

Sathyaraj- 24 Mani neram (en character-aye purinjikka maatengara!)

Simran- Vaali

Sneha- Parthiban Kanavu (mainly for commercial success)

 
At 7:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But looks like Simbhu is going back to where he started - his aping of the Superstar! If he continues this way, he wont stand (or the industry wont stand him) for too long!

 
At 10:22 PM, Anonymous Sandya said...

Yenn Balaji, ungalukku Ajith-aiyum, Kamal-aiyum pidikkaadha?.. You have mentioned biggies like Rajini, Vijay, Vikram, and smallies like Surya and Simbu.. it looks too obvious when you miss someone like Ajith and Kamal.

Anyways, for Ajith, it would definitely have to be Vaali and for Kamal, Sakalakaala Vallavan.. these two films are major turning points for them. Unfortunately for Madhavan, he has done some 'out of the box' roles, but nothing in the 'watershed' category.

The people who are still looking for these watersheds, Mr.Arunkumar, Mr.Dhanush, Mr.Srikanth, Mr.Shyam.. and the many "Misters" in this list will go on forever!..

 
At 11:14 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

srijith/filbert, for surya, it was a toss-up between 'nandha' and 'mounam pesiyadhey'. i finally picked the latter since he played the usual rowdy role in 'nandha' while his role in MP had more nuances and perfectly suited his strengths. but yeah, i could go with either :)

vidya, yep that 1 movie completely transformed his image :)

anti, true. maddy didnt do too bad but that surya movie was really bad :)

ram, was thinking of movies that gave stars who had been around for a while, a big change of image rather than just commercial hits or movies that made them famous. among the ones u've listed, i did think of simran in 'vaali' but didnt write about her since 5 was a nice number :)

anon, yeah he seemed to go back to his old ways a bit in 'saravanaa'. lets see what he does in 'vallavan'.

sandhya, u should know by now that i really have no real dislikes when it comes to tamil actors :) just that i couldn't think of any real watershed movies for those 2. 'sagalakalavallavan' never entered my mind though i did consider 'vaali' for ajith :)

 
At 11:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

a post on simraaaaaaaan's comeback gets 19 replies n a post on spreading awareness among ppl about their rights gets only one reply.....ennaapa indha ulagam

 
At 4:46 PM, Anonymous Sivajini said...

having been a primary target audience(teenage girl) member at the time when most of the latter guys became famous, I must say with Vijay most of my friends and
I only took notice of him in Khadaluku Mariyadai with Shalini, he did something different with his hair and he played the loverboy to perfection.

Wasn't Asai the film that brought fame to Ajith. And then it was the stupid movie with him and Devayani.

A lot of my girlfriends and I still remember Surya from Ayo Ayo marendanada, we knew he could act in Nanda but we only took notice of him in Kaaka Kaaka and then Pittamagan( he literally stole the show)

Balaji, the only choice I will agree with you is Vikram, but it surprises me that no one remembers how good he was in "House Full". I'm just trying to bring out the perspective of a young female.

 

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