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Is Suriya saying 'NO' to 'S-U-P-E-R-S-T-A-R'?

Tamil cinema, for a very long time, has been plagued by the superstar syndrome. Although the term looks very complicated, it has a simple meaning behind it. When you have star actors who have proven their worth, you compromise on the story to ensure that their superstar status is held high so that that the film does well at the box office, despite an okayish story.

From the film industry’s perspective, the superstar syndrome is not progressive to both directors and actors. Once you have a star actor on board, the director is forced to maintain the image of the actor and shape the film accordingly. Similarly, the actor is also forced to choose similar roles with different professions, because his/her fans won’t accept anything that is less than MASS.

Actor Suriya has been one of the very few actors in Tamil cinema who has transcended boundaries while choosing his roles. For the past 10 years, he has been surprising the audience with his script choices. Look at the versatility of the man - he has acted in 13 films since 2008 and each time, we get to see a Suriya we haven’t seen before. Right from the elderly Krishnan in Vaaranam Aayiram, to Athreya in 24 to Duraisingam in Singam series, the man fits into whatever role he is given.

Suriya is a director’s actor rather than being the other way around. In all his films of late, we don’t see him as Suriya, but as a character in the film. He blends with the character so well. When we ask someone, ‘when was the last time Suriya did a negative role?’, people take a lot of time to answer. But, when you mention the word - ‘Athreya’, people immediately connect with the character. With every role of his, he is screaming: 'This is not my film. I’m just a part of the cast. It is the director’s vision that I'm fulfilling.'

He is not doing it to develop a star status in the society. He knows there are a lot of other ways to do this. More importantly, no superstar would say “Support only good films. Even if my film is bad, don’t go for it.”(With reference to his speech during 24 Audio Launch). It takes a lot of guts to make such a statement in front of a huge audience. Perhaps, he saw a different meaning to the word superstar. Perhaps, he didn’t want it in the first place. What if he didn’t care about all this, and just wanted to go ahead doing his job as an actor? That is the Suriya we’ve been seeing all these years.

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