"Take risk, become Superstars"
By Behindwoods Visitor Joseph David
The views expressed in this column are that of the visitor. Behindwoods.com doesn't hold responsible for its content.
I refer to the article titled "The Constants of Tamil Cinema" found at http://www.behindwoods.com/features/column/index-ss-21.html.

I can understand the writer's concern that though there are many actors who are capable of sterling performances, they are not duly recognized or their talents exploited.

The writer quoted one example, Delhi Ganesh. Yes, Ganesh is an extremely talented actor. But talents alone cannot provide the platform for success. The reason the same actors like Kamal and Rajini winning awards constantly is not just because they are talented; they know the art of incorporating talent into entertainment. And that came with the risks they took in their career.

As a 23-year old and probably the most dashing young hero of that time, Kamal took a major career risk by acting in 16 Vayadhiniley, wearing only a loin cloth. Rajini didn't mind being the parattai and later had no qualms about shaving his moustache for Thillu Mullu. Throughout his career, Kamal has been the man for experimental stuff, in many occasions facing failures. Today, people want Kamal to be different because they know that he takes those risks and adds talent to it to entertain.

Even in the days of Sivaji Ganesan, there were actors who were class performers. Ashokan was one of them, but being typecast as a baddie all along, he stayed with it. But Sivaji, the all-time great, took risks by playing the baddie in many movies such as Thirumbi Paar, Antha Naal, and
Nagesh
Rangoon Radha. Even his role as the hero in Annaiyin Aanai had negative shades. And how about Puthiya Paravai? The great villian M N Nambiar was once asked who would be his toughest competition. His reply was, "It would definitely be Sivaji. Luckily he chose to be the hero, or I would be out of work."

The greatest comedian, Nagesh, played a tragic hero in Sarvar Sundaram and was later the villain in Aboorva Sagotharargal. So did our own James Bond Jaishanker. When his career as a hero took a dip, he emerged as an awesome villain in Murattukalai.

There are obviously many Sivajis and Kamals in the industry but the reason they don't get to the limelight is because they don't take risks. Anybody can play the do-gooder all their life and win fans, but awards and acclaim go to the risk takers. Even the great MGR experienced that. He won the hearts of millions by being the ideal hero, but how many awards for performance did he win? No disrespect meant here - just counting the facts.

Yes there are some actors who have dared to experiment, but when their efforts are commercially unsuccessful, they don't walk that path again. Kamal experimented with Raja Parvai, Guna and Vikram. All three were commercial failures, but critically acclaimed till today. Did those failures deter him from doing Anbe Sivam? His comedy flicks Singravelan, Maharasan and Kathala Kathala failed. Then why did he go on to do Thenali, Panchathanthiram and Vasool Raja? Sheer confidence in the risks he takes.

In every era, there will be great actors, and then there will be great risk-taking actors. In the final analysis, it's the experimenters who merge talent with risk who walk away with the awards. And the fact is, we don't have many of them in Tamil cinema.

Joseph David
Malaysia
josephdavid2020@gmail.com
 

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