Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Star Wars

True to the title that has been bestowed on him, Ilaya Thalapathy Vijay seems to love waging war i.e. a war of words. The Vaa Vaa Vaa En Thalaivaa... number from his latest release Sachein has a line that goes Oru murai jeippadhu sarithiram aagaadhu. This is quite obviously targeted at his professional rival Ajith, highlighting the fact that Attagaasam has been his only success in recent times.

Ever since he yelled "Engadaa unga thalai?" at some goons in Thirumalai, knowing fully well that Thalai is the title Ajith's fans use to refer to their idol after Dheena, Vijay has been taunting Ajith in all his movies. The continued success of his movies at the box-office seems to have made him even more arrogant since his shots have become increasingly direct and mean-spirited(like the dig at Ajith's tree-planting in Sukhran). I was hoping the soft and romantic Sachein would avoid such personal shots but the song proves that this is not the case. Ajith too has struck back in his movies(the Unakkenna... song in Attagaasam) but maybe because his films have been big flops, his responses haven't been as noticeable.

This bad culture of attacking perceived rivals has already crept into the next generation too. Simbhu's 'first-last' line in Manmadhan was aimed squarely at Dhanush and if Tamilcinema.com's [Tamil font required] review is to be believed, his fans interpreted some of the lines he speaks to his girlfriend as personal taunts at Dhanush too.

In this atmosphere of jealousy, personal rivalry and cheap shots, Kamal's interview [Tamil font required] today that focusses on his friendship with Rajnikanth is an eye-opener. Inspite of intense professional rivalry for the most part of their careers, the two stars have been extremely cordial off-screen and have never missed a chance to stress their friendship. In fact, Chandramukhi opens with a 'thanks' to Padmashree Kamalhassan. Kamal talks warmly of this friendship, from his first meeting with Rajni to a whole day the two stars spent together just a few days ago.

Personal attacks onscreen might cheer up an actor's hardcore fans who equate professional and personal rivalry. But to the larger audience, they just make the actor look cheap and label him as someone who would stoop to any level to strike a few cheap shots. It also incites the fans, who naturally vent it out on the fans of the rival star, leading to fights at the theater. It damages the relaxed, fun atmosphere that viewers come to watch movies in and in the long run, will definitely prove damaging to cinema itself. The younger stars, frequently call Rajni and Kamal their role models and ape their styles onscreen. For the good of their own image and the image of Tamil cinema itself, they would do well to learn from them on how to behave offscreen too.

8 Comments:

At 5:41 AM, Anonymous Gopi said...

Maybe Vijay and the others will grow up. Here is an old Schwarzenegger interview:

http://www.msu.edu/~daggy/cop/effluvia/arnold.htm

Arnold uses some strong words in it but briefly talks about friendship as well.

 
At 6:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i thought vj and ajith were friends. always go to each other's functions and stuff...

i dont know if anything is going on behind the scenes but i hope not. the unakku enna song aside, nothing was blatantly obvious to me.

in all films there's a villain, there are punch lines, dialogues...not all can be interpreted as direct taunts.

imagine if the same happened in rajni-kamal situations...to me, its just a matter of interpretation.

 
At 7:35 AM, Anonymous Gopi said...

That might be true. It might just be friendly banter between the "youth stars". But it will become a serious situation if their fans ever were to start fighting about it (and I don't have to warn ya about damage some fans can inflict). We also should not forget how some older stars use movies to convey political taunts that have at times taken on serious consequences. The fact that someone as intelligent as Balaji interpreted it the way he did means that this "taunting" has already taken on an entirely negative meaning. I am quite sure the actors are aware of such interpretations and should work actively to prevent future issues.

 
At 8:41 AM, Blogger Balaji said...

anon, i agree that it is a matter of interpretation but in vijay/ajith's case it's been so blatant that i don't think i am misreading things. sure, rajni and kamal films have had one-liners, strong dialogs, etc. but they've never been obviously aimed at the other. like rajni would never say "nee enna sagalakala vallavanaa?" to his villain. in fact he's gone out of his way to be nice to kamal(he says "kamalnu nenaipu" after seeing vadivelu act in 'muthu').

gopi, thats high and quite undeserved praise indeed :) but the interpretation is not just by me actually. several magazines have written about it and asked the actors about it(vijay conveniently blames it on the director while ajith is more frank). even vijayakanth was said to have talked to the actors about avoiding such personal shots.

 
At 11:10 AM, Blogger Kaps said...

Even in Mayaavi they try to poke fun at Ajith. They play a song from the movie Attagasam ...which shows how plump Ajith is. Whatever happens off screen is fine, it is better not to take such digs thru the silver screen.

 
At 11:12 AM, Anonymous ram said...

Balaji, a very thought-provoking write-up...yes, these stars should definitely look up to Kamal and Rajni...they make it abundantly clear that they are "Rivals, Not Enemies." Yes, of the numerous movies (from the 80s when they were both at the peak of their powers) I've seen, I've rarely come across any personal potshots...I think the best example of their camaraderie was the Singapore-Malaysia function in 2002 (prior to the release of "Baba"). Both of them were generous in praise for each other and exuded warmth that seemed genuine.

 
At 11:12 AM, Anonymous ram said...

Balaji, a very thought-provoking write-up...yes, these stars should definitely look up to Kamal and Rajni...they make it abundantly clear that they are "Rivals, Not Enemies." Yes, of the numerous movies (from the 80s when they were both at the peak of their powers) I've seen, I've rarely come across any personal potshots...I think the best example of their camaraderie was the Singapore-Malaysia function in 2002 (prior to the release of "Baba"). Both of them were generous in praise for each other and exuded warmth that seemed genuine.

 
At 9:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hmm....actually rajini is not beyond taking cheap potshots...heck the whole of padayappa was a potshot against JJ!

 

Post a Comment

<< Home