Oh Vikram, where art thou?
  It’s not only his birthplace that Vikram shares with Kamal; he’s also often measured up to the legendary actor. Or should I say, used to? The multifaceted Vikram, who hard-earned his due after almost a decade of his existence in films, seems to have stuck in a mismanaged whirlpool of choices. The past five years have been unbelievably uneventful for a senior and established actor like Vikram and it does seem like a matter of flawed choices.

Very few actors have been successful as Vikram who struck a balance between commercial cinema and serious cinema at the same time. He is synonymous with experimenting with his roles, breaking away from the stereotypes without being cagey about the hero-image. This is also something very unique about Vikram similar to Kamal.

He managed to pull off a commercially successful potboiler Dhill in 2001, in which he played an aspiring student who wants to become a police officer entangled in a web of ego clashes with an official. In the next year, in his next film, he turned himself into a melancholic blind singer who sings his
heart out poignantly, seeking alms to run his family. Although the Filmfare best actor was bestowed upon him, his next big critically acclaimed successful role came only with Pithamagan in 2003. Needless to say, he won both the National level and the State government awards for best actor for his portrayal of an orphaned graveyard caretaker. His most recent success seems to be in 2005 with Anniyan, the Shankar directed fantasy thriller.

Ever since 2005, Vikram seems to have had banked too much on a few projects, the choices that have created a void in his career graph. The choices that have made him stay away from other possible ventures. Not to nitpick at those choices, but 2 years for an oh-so-ordinary Bheema and one whole year for Kanthaswamy were grossly miscalculated choices. I’m sure Vikram has had his reasons to believe in those projects, but sadly nothing path breaking evolved out of those.

Over and above, two announced projects that have turned out to be drop outs, do not definitely look good. There is Maniratnam’s Ravana that will serve as a launch pad for Vikram in Hindi as well. It is slated for a June release which hopefully will bring us a refreshing dimension of Vikram to the fore.

There is no denial to the fact that movie making is only a guessing game and it’s only natural that calculations slip. More often than we assume in fact. But that is all the more reason to be chary about taking chances with predictable scripts. These are the coming-of-age times of Tamil cinema and whoever refuses to grow up with it gets to stay behind.

So why do we anyway need Vikram back in action? It is because we need challenging actors to save us from the crushing monotony of regular movies; because we hate to see Vikram go back to his straggling days; because Vikram exudes a boyish charm that is almost irreverent to his age and is unseen in any other actor and also because Vikram has a salt and pepper voice (although not exactly right for singing) and the most perfect modulations, thanks to his expertise in dubbing.

In the end, let’s just hope it’s a phase in Vikram’s career which will fade out soon. Here is to good movies and better choices.

PS: His website (I assume it’s his official website), seems to be in an abandoned state as well. It says Kanthaswamy to be his upcoming movie and lacks updates.

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