Saturday, September 2, 2017

The Unconventional Hero of Tamil Cinema.


     Four decades ago, when Rajinikanth hit the big screen, he was considered to be an unconventional actor because of his novelties in portrayal of roles and his brave new style that broke the earlier conventions meant for donning the role of a hero.As a negative hero with ruffian roots, he created new waves and sensations and this soon began to create a new chapter in Tamil Cinema.But soon Rajinikanth was seen to consolidate his style components in acting, to become a conventional hero in the line of MGR and Sivaji Ganesan, besides capitalizing a favorable situation that transformed him into a Superstar.In the early years of the new millennium there entered another unconventional actor into Tamil Cinema, so far unrelenting to change his unconventional approach and that is the brave Vijay Sethupathi, born afresh, in each of his new releases.
      After playing insignificant roles in films like M,Kumaran S/O Mahalakshmi,Puthupettai, Lee Anjaadhe,Vennilaa Kabadikkuzhu,and Naan Mahaan Alla, he played the lead role in Seenu Ramasamy's award winning film Thenmerku Paruvakatru. Then we saw him in Sasikumar's 'Sundarapandian', playing a silent, negative role, with some excusable reason to be a baddie.At that time, no one would have thought that here was a person with his own hidden agenda for acting, with a grit to drive the audience imagination, to a maddening craze for seeing him more and more as a hero of unconventional stuff.Well, when the audience first saw Rajinikanth  playing the role of the sickly, docile husband of Srividya, in 'Aboorva Raagangal', who would have thought that he was going to  rock in his next film Monnru Mudichu with a rebellious and unconventional pull in his body language and dialogue delivery.This is how Vijay Sethupathi continues to haunt the imagination of the audience, by playing even serious roles with a self surrender, towards creating glimpses of a hero, without an iota of heroism and personality projections.There is a perennial store of innocent mischief in him, waiting to take a new avatar in each film.
      Film after film,Vijay Sethupathi's  irreverence to the conventions of hero norms, took him to greater reception and higher acclaim from the audience.There is an unending list of films like Pizza,Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom,Soothu Kavvum,Idharkuthaan Aasaipattaaya Balakumara,Kadhalum Kadandhupogum,Sethupathi,Orange Mittai,Naanum Rowdy Thaan,Rekka, Dharmadhurai,Aandavan Kattalai,Kavan and the recent blockbuster Vikram Vedha. Most of the films fetched him awards from one source or the other.What is special about this new wave hero is the special impact he creates in not claiming to be a hero.In this respect he reminds me of Nivin Pauly of Malayalam Cinema.{His film "Action Hero Biju"is one big sample of his quest to crush the image of the action hero}.Vijay Sethupathi's big image is born of blowing off the projections of being a hero.When you break and crash the existing norms of the hero base, a new base is constructed and this new base takes wings like a phoenix and creates wonders.We do not know whether Vijay Sethupathi does it purposely, or it is his way of acting.But the end result is the fresh appeal and the new lease he has given to what it means to be a hero.
      There is always the layer of a thug in most of the role performances of Vijay Sethupadhi and there is ever a uniqueness in making the thug look clumsy and funny.Humor -blended negative role play, always carries a charismatic touch. Rajinikanth and Sathyaraj were successful in negative roles because of their singular stylish approach to display villainy.The Superstar's sense of humor began to reflect itself only from the film Ninaithaale Inikkum directed by the commendably professional K.Balachander. Whereas Vijay Sethupathi like Nivin Pauli, makes himself a butt of ridicule and silently pushes himself along with the character he plays,for an instant reach with the audience.No one can forget how he beautifully destroyed the rowdy image, in Naanum Rowdythaan. Even in the latest, wonderful movie Vikram Vedha, it is the fun impact during every encounter between the Cop Madhavan and the Rowdy Vijay Sethupathi that rules  every frame of presentation and makes the film a trend setting phase, in Tamil Cinema.
    As matters stand, Vijay Sethupathi  has come to be a broadly acceptable hero, without being a hero.How long this unconventional endearment will continue with the audience,will be decided by factors like difference in story line, characterization and the actor's unflinching motivation to preserve the ongoing gusto.However as on date, let us wish him well for a long journey through the Tamil big screen for being one of the most viable and desirable segments of the Tamil film industry. The number of entries he makes every year shows how much viable and desirable, this unconventional hero is.If this trend continues it will create new records for Tamil Cinema.

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