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Kamal, Suriya, Vikram and travesti

After scratching my head for a couple of days, here I am, writing my first column.


"Vela vela vela vela vela vela vela vela; aambalaikum vela pombalaikum vela pombalayaa pona aambalaikum vela" - What do Kamal Haasan, Suriya and Vikram have to do with travesti?


Travesti (literally "disguised") is a theatrical term referring to the portrayal of a character in an opera, play, or ballet by a performer of the opposite sex. For social reasons, female roles were played by men in many early forms of theatre, notably in Shakespeare's plays and in our country's street plays. Travesti roles continued to be used in several types of context even after actresses became accepted on the stage. In movies, it all began with one of Charlie Chaplin's earliest short films, 1914's "A Busy Day". Back then you could really hide your masculinity inside of all those clothes, but today, you are expected to portray both physical and mental transformations on screen.


Female actresses rarely face the challenge of playing a bonafide man. When it comes to male actors who did an opposite-gender role, we recollect our Superstar Rajinikanth in Nooru Varusham song (Panakkaaran), Kamal Haasan in and as Avvai Shanmugi, Vadivelu in a half saree (Paattaali), Vivek in so many films, Raghava Lawrence in Muni sequels, Ajith in Varalaaru (not literally though), Vikram in Kanthasamy, Suriya imitating Tamannaah in Pala Palakkura song (Ayan), Sarath Kumar in Kanchana and Vijay in Karikaalan kaala pola (Vettaikaran). This year, we'll also have Madha Yaanai Koottam's Kathir in Sigai, the first look poster of which has already created a curiosity.


Since actors and directors have got used to this form of travesti, Bharathiraja experimented the next level with Rukmini Vijayakumar's role in Bommalattam in which she plays 'a man who plays a woman'.


We'd like to see the next notch of it on screen, which will be an actress playing 'a man playing a woman playing a man' or an actor playing 'a woman playing a man playing a woman'. Won't that be a jolly ride on an emotional roller coaster?

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