By Meera
Arya - Two men army, arya, Ullam Ketkume


There are very few stars that are as comfortable as Arya to share the screen with their contemporaries. Off the nearly 25 films that Arya has starred in, roughly half of them are multi-starrers. Yet with his charming smile and smoldering looks he has enthralled the box office and audiences and resolutely marked his territory.

With roots in Kerala, Arya’s tryst with stardom came in the form of the late director Jeeva. He offered this engineer a chance to star in Ullam Ketkume as an aspiring cricketer. This film also marked the entry of Asin and Pooja. The release of Ullam Ketkume was stalled due to production nightmares and Arya’s first theatrical release was Arinthum ariyamalum. With Yuvan’s spirited music and Arya’s freewheeling dance moves Theepidika Theepidika was a chartbuster. Although Arya’s played second fiddle to Navdeep as his adopted elder brother, his roguish nonchalance was the one that stole the show.  When Ullam Ketkume finally saw the light of the day Arya was able to consolidate his stance as an actor.

In Vishnuvardhan’s gangster drama with Bharath, Arya’s only pursuit was to emerge successful enough to star in a coke ad. He slipped effortlessly into the role of a ruthless underworld hitman lacking melodramatic emotions but a fierce protective instinct for his ally. He had no angst in sharing the limelight with Bharath and kept his focus on the box office bull’s eye. In Lingusamy’s Vettai too, Arya had no qualms in locking arms with Madhavan. Madhavan had attained Pan India fame and was star from the big league but Arya let that sit lightly on his sleeve. In the end, both Arya and Madhavan come across as real life brothers with no dearth in acting prowess.

One would think it was his performances in movies like Pattiyal and Oram Po that earned him a berth in Bala’s Naan Kadavul as an aghori. Most actors would salivate over appearing in a Bala movie but Arya has not one but two to his credit. His steely determination in refusing other movies until Naan Kadavul’s completion and undeterred focus in portraying Rudran earned widespread accolades. When Naan Kadavul opened, Arya exploded with his astounding performance. It was Bala’s movie but Arya had managed to grab a trickle of the arc lights.

Arya’s buoyant attitude and breezy personality made him a perfect fit for comedy. Boss Engira Baskaran banked as much on Arya as it did on Santhanam. If Arya had waged wars over length of dialogue or sported an am-the-hero loftiness, this movie would have bombed. Yet after a long hiatus, it was Tamil cinema’s successful full length comedy. Settai had not one but two comedians aiding the protagonist. In certain portions, it was extremely difficult to identify that protagonist but nobody seemed to care.

He added flavor to his resume by playing the villain in the Telugu movie Varudu. As Allu arjun’s nemesis, Arya’s menacing and powerful performance was lauded. In Madrasapattinam, the 1940s love story, he enacts the anguish of a love stricken dhobi deftly. Urumi with Santhosh Sivan saw him collaborating with a plethora of established stars. Although Arya would have fit the role of Raja Arulmozhi Varman in Kalki’s Ponniyin selvan to the tee, he has Selva’s Irandam Ulagam and Atlee’s Raja Rani to rely on. The recently released teaser of the upcoming Ajith movie sees Arya in suave looks increasing our anticipation manifold.

Arya has not succumbed to the ugly tentacles of stardom but has instead focused on colluding with like-minded directors and heroes. Within a short span he has numerous note-worthy performances to his credit and that remains his magic mantra.

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