Going Bollywood...!
  We are quite used to the practice of trading in our homely lead ladies with Bollywood for their petite and long legged beauties. As a matter fact, that’s pretty much where the North – South divide diminishes. Thanks to the pan-Indian presence Bollywood guarantees, our women, starting from Hema Malini to Sridevi to Asin to Trisha (the latest in the ever-growing list) have had no qualms attempting their luck in Hindi movies and, needless to say, many were quite successful.

Breaching the Tamil boundaries and percolating into other language territories (Hindi, no less) as a way to expand their reach was largely limited to the women so far. For whatever incomprehensible reasons, men in South Indian movies ventured only as far as Hyderabad (in Telugu movies). Regional Kannada, Telugu and Malayalam movies have either only heard about the promising stars of Tamil or have seen them in their dubbed movies. This, of course, does not apply to some of the big stars of our generation namely Rajini, Kamal, Mohanlal, Mammooty, Vishnuvardhan and Chiranjeevi. They existed in all languages.

And rarely, as a one-off thing the big stars also starred in Hindi movies; either in guest roles or in multi starrers.Not to mention, even as they refused to descend from their hero’s throne in the regional language movies, they starred in character roles in Hindi movies (for instance, Mohanlal in Company and Aag).

This attitude, however, seems to be waning with the Gen Next actors earnestly showing more interest in gaining a national presence. Suriya leads the list with the Ramgopal Varma directed biopic Raktha Charitra, in which he plays Maddelacheruvu Suri. Although he doesn’t play the lead role, Suriya’s role is said to have a huge chunk of the movie’s share. Whether Raktha Charitra will revive RGV’s flagging career and catapult Suriya’s regional status to national status remains to be seen. Suriya is also attending Hindi classes to perfect those aspirates.

Although Suriya’s Bollywood aspirations could well be termed as just a regular thing - maybe he liked the director and the script - there is every reason to prove this is more than just that. Following Raktha Charitra, his 7am Arivu, directed by Murugadoss, will be made in Hindi as well. Just so to cement his presence in Hindi and to cash in on the media space he has earned. This will be much easier since Murugadoss is also a known name in Bollywood after the release of Gajini.

Apart from Suriya, Vikram who aroused curiosity among the Hindi speaking audiences with a string of dubbing movies starting with the Shankar directed Anniyan (Aparichith in Hindi) has already debuted in the language with Mani’s Raavan. Now all his Tamil movies will be dubbed in Hindi to cash in on whatever publicity he made as a handsome police offer, married to Ash in Raavan.

The only other actor in the list, Madhavan, is already a national star. Siddharth, who debuted in Shankar’s Boyz went ahead to do Telugu and Hindi movies and it looks like he’s already disowned Tamil movies.

On the other hand, Big B is making his Malayalam appearance in the Major Ravi directorial called Khandahar. Amitabh plays the role of an Airforce officer Lokanaadhan Sharma, hence in all probability he will stick to Hindi in the movie. Interestingly, Neil Nitin Mukesh also plays an important role in Kandahar.

Transcending artistic barriers is not unheard of, much less so in today’s globalized world. This not only creates better avenues and reach for the actors, but also provides nationwide recognition for talents. So while wishing Suriya all the best, I also hope all our promising talents do not confine themselves blaming the language barrier and take challenging opportunities in other languages, head on.

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