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By Arun
About the same time last year everyone was so much delighted with Tamannah Bhatia. She was making all the right moves in Kollywood; playing roles that endeared her to the audience, not going down the glamour route, choosing with wisdom and even getting more familiar with Tamil than any other North Indian import.

Look at the initial phase of her career and she had garnered more respect from audiences and critics than most of her contemporaries who were trying to do the same. The way she chose movies like Kalloori and Happy Days (Telugu) told us that she was prepared to do things that were not conventionally stardom material. And, what was
even better is the fact that she was doing them all with a fair measure of success. Of course, there was the occasional commercial outing like Padikkathavan. But, you have to give that to an actress who works in an industry which runs basically on commercial content.

2009 and early 2010 were years that basically cemented her place as an actress who had been accepted by the audiences. The variety of roles she had in that year were truly praiseworthy, starting from the routine heroine act in Ayan, to the disillusioned with life woman in Anandha Thandavam and the bubbly but confused girl in Kanden Kadhalai. Her innocent role in Paiya too was liked by the audiences. Yes, none of them were award winning performances or anything of that sort, but these were roles that sent the message that she was here to stay on her terms, for quality as well as success.

But, since Paiya, it has all been downhill for the lady. Yes, everyone has a bad patch now and again. But, analyzing her three movies since Paiya show that there has been a serious change in role selection criteria – at least it appears that way. When she was going great in Kollywood, why at all did she have to do Sura? The film appeared a completely jaded and jinxed project. It had nothing in it for the heroine (in fact it had nothing in it for anyone at all). Tamannah’s character in Sura could easily be one of the contenders for dumbest heroine of the decade infamy if there was one. The only justification that can be given for jumping onto such a project is the opportunity to star opposite Vijay. But that was an uncharacteristic decision from an actress who has shown the courage to work with newcomers.

Sura was a mistake, everyone makes them and it can be pardoned. But, it was followed up by Thillalangadi.and then Siruthai. Both remakes of Telugu blockbusters and both were conspicuous by the increased glamour quotient being offered by Tamannah. The glamour quotient is all right, but it is the way it is offered that makes it acceptable or repulsive. In both Thillalangadi and Siruthai, it was more of the latter than former because the heroine seemed to be kept in there for just that and nothing else. Some have said that ‘Tamannah was wa(i)sted in Siruthai’, literally! Really it all looked like nothing but a glorified item girl who gets to do duets with the hero in Thailand (rather than with the villain in a bar).

But, the most disappointing aspect of all is that there seems to be no originality in any of this. Well, one has to admit that there is very little reason in asking for originality in glamorous roles. Having seen Kanden Kadhalai (a remake of Hindi superhit Jab We Met), we know that she can do better than just a photocopy appearance in remakes.

But, cinema wisdom suggests that an actor is only as good as the character written for him/her and the director handling it, unless it is Kamal Haasan, Prakash Raj or any other acting genius. It looks like the Tamil industry conspired to compromise the credentials that Tamannah had earned over a couple of years. And, it is funny to hear people within the industry grumbling about the lack of quality heroines. You get as good as you give! And at present, the Tamil film industry doesn’t seem to deserve the better Tamannah, it is happy with the wa(i)sted version.
Tags : Tamannah, Kalloori, Anandha Thandavam, Paiyaa, Kanden Kadhalai
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