Sunday, April 1, 2018

Two Charming Heroes of Tamil Cinema


       To be unique is to be distinct.In every field we have distinct men and women.When I say unique heroes I mean those belonging to a specific category, not simply stamping a special path in acting, as MGR and Rajinikanth or not like Sivaji Ganesan and Kamalahasan who are known for adorning the very profession of acting, by their galaxy and grandeur of role performance.What I mean here is, some persons are different from their colleagues and coevals in an all inclusive frame, that incorporates one's parentage, family and social background, educational aspects,individual charm and then their levels of performance in a particular field.When it includes similarities, such as the spot from where they begin their career and the roles in which they are cast,it makes the comparison of such personalities more interesting and worthwhile.It is in this singular perspective, I think of bringing R.Madhavan and Arvind Swamy together on a joint focus.
     It is quite interesting to note that both Madhavan and Arvind Swamy were born the same year and same month.The former is just a couple of weeks older than the latter.Both hail from fairly well to do families.While Madhavan's parents are former executive heads of the industrial and banking sectors, Arvind Swamy's father is a noted industrialist.As far as their educational background is concerned, Madhavan is an Electronics graduate with a Masters in Public Speaking;whereas Arvind Swamy holds a US Master's Degree in international business, following his graduation in commerce from Loyola College, Chennai. However,Madhavan who grew up in Jamshedpur and Mumbai, had his school and college education in the Northern States and also holds the special pride of having undergone training with the British Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy.Apart from their elitist background the fact remains that Arvind Swamy is an entrepreneur with a flair for modelling.Both Madhavan and Arvin Swamy share the credit of occupying the small screen in compering T.V.shows and conducting programmes such as Neengalulm Vellalaam Oru Kodi respectively.
     Though they started their career in Tamil Cinema during different periods,both were introduced with a chocolate boy image, by the ace director Mani Rathnam.While Arvind Swamy stepped into Tamil cinema at the age of 21, as the half brother of Rajinikanth in Thalabathi in 1991, Madhavan embraced the Tamil big Screen only in the new millennium {2000},straight away as the charming hero of Mani Rathnam's illustrious romance Alai Payudhe.Madhavan continued the dream boy image in films like Minnale Ennavale, Parthaale Pravasam,Jay Jay,Run,Dum Dum Dum,Priyasakhi,Ariya,Priyamaana Thozhi and so on.He also had quite a few memorable action films in his kitty, like Thambi, Edhiri, Rendu , Vettai and Vikram Vedha.Some of his unusual films were Kannathil Muthamittaal,Ayudha Ezhuthu,Guru,{all Mani Rathnam films}Anbe Sivam,Nala Thamayandhi,Yevano Oruvan, Vaazhthungal and the horror film Yaavarum Nalam.
     Arvind Swamy's initial innings were with Mani Rathnam. Following Thalabadhi,he teamed up with the aesthetic film maker, for greatly credited movies like Roja and Bombay. Both these films carried his romantic image of charm and grace which he continued later, in En Swaasa Kaatre and Rajiv Menon's unforgettable romance Minsaara Kanavu.He was also the hero of Indhira, directed by Suhasini Manirathnam. Unlike Madhavan,Arvind Swamy had frequent spells of hiatus from acting.After several years he appeared in Manirathnam's Alai Paayudhe in 2000 and again in this director's failure film Kadal.Some of the other films of Swamy like Thaalaattu and Pudhaiyal were not received well by the audience.But he was reborn again with a revitalized profile, in M.Raja's Thani Oruvan with an enchanting,negative role package.The film was a grand show and made him come back to Tamil cinema with a big bang. It was followed by Bogan in which he once again joined hands with Jeyam Ravi.
     One could see a lot of underplay and subtle ecstasy, in the performance of Arvind Swamy whether he dons the role of a hero or villain.He is ever an actor with well regulated moves in his body and a remarkable control in his utterances of dialogues.He is an embodiment of visual grandeur in romantic sequences, with the felicity of imagination governing his role play, portrayed with perfect elegance as we witnessed in Bombay and Minsaara Kanavu. There would be romantic breeze gliding through his face, reflecting a beautiful blend of shyness, innocence and consummate joy,whenever he is shown falling in love.In Minsara Kanavu,when Prabu Deva is sent to Kajole as a proxy wooer,the amount of imagined romantic vibrations that Arvind Swamy silently exhibits on his face, was a classic visual treat to the audience.As a lover Arvind Swamy certainly scores a bit higher than Madhavan, because his face becomes a map of the integrated dimensions of love.
     On the other hand, the energy levels of Madhavan are always higher. He is ever a robust performer with an aggressive and emphatic tone delivery, coupled with a kind of proclaimed macho dominance in deliberation to the extent of putting others in a spot. Even the intermittent shaking vibration in his voice, animates his dialogue delivery by creating a turbulent throbbing effect. His romantic journey is also on tough tracks never letting down his fighting instinct.It is this vital side of the romantic, that came to his grip, in films like Run and Ariya.At the same time he is equally capable of revealing the softer side of romance, delicately displayed in Alai Paayedhe,Jay Jay,Paarthaale Paravasam and Priyasakhi. 
    Besides this, Madhavan's splendour in doing the role of a police officer has been shown in two extremes, one as a chicken hearted guy in kakhi uniform in Vettai and the other, as the 'brave new heart'of the cop without wearing kakhi, in Vikram Vedha.There is ever an attitude of determination and forbearance in Madhavan, with which he takes his characters closer to the heart of the audience, as he did in Thambi and Irudhi Chutru.As a restless and self prone youth in Anbe Sivam his character had a lot to learn from Kamalahasan,the main hero of the film. The immaturity of the character he played was very much in contrast to the character of a responsible husband of an understanding wife[beautifully played by Jyothika}in Priyamaana Thozhi.These films are samples of Madhavan's capacity for travelling through different zones in acting.
     On the emotional side Madhavan could explode spontaneously, unlike Arvind Swamy whose low profile emotional show, ever remains his singular asset.Though Madhavan has tried a negative role play in Manirathnam's Aayudha Ezhuthu,he has not been that impressive as Arvind Swamy who did  his negative role in Thani Oruvan by cutely mixing venom with warmth.Both Madhavan and Arvind Swamy are reputed for their English accent and it is no wonder that recently a Whatsapp message showing Madhavan delivering a lecture in an American University went viral. Madavan's proficiency in English has enabled him to act in a couple of English films.{Inferno,Nothing but Life}.His native familiarity with Hindi, has made him do a score of Hindi movies of which Three Idiots is very popular. As close contemporary heroes of Tamil cinema,both Madhavan and Arvind Swamy belong to an elite class of actors, with their distinct attributes and performance levels, that would hardly keep them off the centre stage of the celluloid world.


  1. Nice comparison of the two actors. I haven't seen much films of these two actors. You have missed to mention Madhavan's Irudhi Suttru, Sir. He performed well in that movie.

  2. I have mentioned Irudhi Sutru.I think you missed it Raj.

  3. A well analysed and stuctured write up that may be forwarded to these heroes who, I am sure, for their own improvement, will treasure it.