Monday, October 09, 2006

Next Gen

Tamil cinema’s phases can be defined by an actor duo who made a mark in each of those phases. First was the MGR-Sivaji era. That was followed by the Rajni-Kamal generation. Then came the Vijay-Ajith phase. Sure there were other successful and important actors in each of those phases but those two actors pretty much defined each phase and mentioning their names makes it immediately clear which period in Tamil cinema we are talking about.

We’re still in the Vijay-Ajith era but I think the next change of guard is happening in Tamil cinema right now. Actors from the Rajni-Kamal generation have already retired or are pretty close to retirement and the next-generation actors like Vijay, Ajith, Vikram and Surya have established themselves firmly and are now in positions where younger actors can look upto them. At the same time, in the past few years, we’ve had a number of new actors try their luck. As they are all atleast a few films old, we can now separate the one-film wonders and the ones who will stick around for a long time.

So here are my predictions for the 5 young actors who have the biggest probability of making a mark in the next generation of Tamil cinema.

5. Jeeva
I guess Jeeva is the best example for how volatile this list is. A couple of years ago, after his first few films, he definitely wouldn’t have been on the list. But Raam proved that he could act and Dishyum proved that he could act naturally. This kind of variety could help him in the long run. And having a powerful father always helps!

4. Bharath
Bharath has the best chance of ending up as the “boy-next-door hero” of his generation. A terrific dancer, he has downplayed his dance skills and instead, concentrated on likeable, down-to-earth, soft characters. He has had a good success ratio so far and if he continues in this route, he could define a niche all for himself.

3. ‘Jayam’ Ravi
If I had made this list right after Jayam, Ravi would have been at the top. He has the goods with his pleasant, decent looks and good dancing and stunt abilities. But he is yet to give a hit without his brother Raja’s help and his voice lets him down in action roles. A couple of more hits and he could solidify his position.

2. Vishal
Tamil cinema has always been kind to action heroes and Vishal seems to have earned that tag already. While he was the weakest among the 3 characters in his first film Chellame, the hype around the film benefited him and its success didn’t hurt either. Sandakkozhi saw him as an action hero and Thimiru, a film where he finally didn’t have to share screen space with other important characters, solidified that tag.

1. Arya
Of late, Tamil cinema seems to be embracing heroes who can carry off both action and romantic roles equally well and off the current young brigade, Arya seems most suited to do that. His good looks and pin-up boy status ensure his suitability for soft, romantic roles and at the same time, his looks are not the “soft, cho-chweet” kind (of say, Arvind Swamy), which means he can carry off action roles convincingly too. If he proves himself as a good actor too in Bala’s Naan Kadavul, there’ll be no stopping him.

76 Comments:

At 11:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you can add Siddarth to this list also, even though he is acting only in Telegu these days. I think soon he will find takers in Tamil also. Probably now I think its upto him to accept roles in Tamil after he was brushed aside by Tamil producers.

 
At 11:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

so #1 is a guy who can't speak thamizh? every time i hear him say a word with "zha" in it, i want to cry. and how can you omit jeeva's pressing need for a nose job?

where have you seen bharath display terrific dance skills?

 
At 11:50 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

anon, sidharth will probably have to find a niche audience since i don't feel he is versatile. i don't think he can do action and that is really important for tamil audiences :)

anon, our top hero is rajni. still think speaking tamil properly is an important criterion for being a popular tamil hero?? as for bharath's dancing skills, i think 'boys' was proof enuf :)

 
At 12:13 AM, Anonymous leo said...

dude balaji.....

hmm....what u have stated about the present is vijay-ajith....which I would like to contradict...

It will soon change to Ajith-Vijay....

Ajith is one actor who can do a variety of roles and he enjoys a HUGE MASS....wait for GodFather Varalaaru and AAZHWAR and you will change the present to Ajith-Vijay....infact I don't want to add Vijay besides Ajith...

Rajini emoted well on screen but where is Vijay...

Well Ajith can act, do risk performing stunts, has expresive face....emotes well...and what not HE HAS GOT A HUGE MASS BACKING....the loyal ones....thats what is important....only next to Rajini...

 
At 12:18 AM, Blogger pagala'k' said...

simbu? (not a huge fan of his, detest him actually but can't ignore him either)

 
At 12:19 AM, Blogger Balaji said...

leo, this was a post on new actors. so please don't make this an ajith vs vijay thing. we know how ugly things got the last time that happened :) in all 3 cases i simply wrote the mass hero's name first...

 
At 12:31 AM, Blogger skanda said...

hey how bout Dhanush..didint he gave 3 blockbusters in a row....i know he is down but he is still in the race...witness the opening for "Puthupetai"....

i think Jeeva is still in shaky grounds with no proper hit yet...Both "Raam" and "dishum" were critically acclaim but were not big hits....

Prithiraj has also big chance to be in the list..wasnt he good in "Kana Kanden" and the recent "Parijathan"...should think of replacing Jeeva wiyh him......

 
At 1:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

errrr.... can prasanna (5 star) also be mentioned in this list of promising actors ??

 
At 3:38 AM, Blogger mysorean said...

Balaji,

I totally agree with your choice for the #1 hero. I liked him right from day one. And thought that he was always built for greater things. His performance in "Arindum Ariyamalum" (excuse me if the spelling wrong and don't slander me for disrespecting tamil and all that!). Also, Pattiyal is a great example of how Arya-Bharath duo could lead the tamil filmdom into the next era.

Vishal? Well... disagree with him being #2. I would Put Bharat at #2.

Why have you clubbed suriya with that generation? I think he's still going strong and is all set to take over Kamal's mantle. It's the Rajni successor that's frightening. I doubt if anyone ever can match up to the success that Thalaivar has got worldwide apart from Amitabh Bachchan!

Anyway, nice post. Liked the idea of the post. I thought you would give possibilities of "duo"s whereas you drifted into naming the top-5 actors for the next generation!

 
At 5:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Arya.... what has happened to Thamizhakam to have the #1 star named Arya? Jokes aside, my comment on Pattiyal was: they picked the one who spoke Tamil to be a mute, and the one who has a speech impediment to murder Tamil as well as bad guys.

No problem with Arya, he would be #1 in a my personal wet t-shirt contest, but he shouldn't be the #1 actor in Tamil cinema.

Balaji, do you think Rajni's Tamil is as bad as Arya's?

 
At 5:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Jeeva placed in the top 5. He was convincing in 'Ram'. Also think that SImbu does stand some chance.

 
At 5:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Bharat underplaying his dancing abilities is good strategy. Is it wisdom beyond his 22 years or just plain chance that 'boys' kind of roles didnt happen again.

 
At 6:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Offtopic comment:
I've been reading your reviews for over a year.. let's just say yours is the first and most often the only review I read for tamil movies. Great work!
Of late my wife and I have started watching a few other-language films and were quite impressed with a couple of them. If you get some time, you should watch these 2 movies: Godavari and NandanaVanam 120km. If you do, let us know what you think of them.

 
At 7:31 AM, Blogger Bart said...

I somehow feel Arya would still backbench at number 3/4. It could be Vishal / Simbu filling up the action hero quota. Bharath/ Jeeva / Dhanush trying to do the acting hero part. Arya is a mix of both but still not impressive.
Prasanna, Srikanth, Sidharth will belong to the category of Gemini, mike Mohan vagaiyara..
Who knows, equations can change... Kokki Karan / Vignesh can make a late comeback like Vikram :)
Ignored list:?!: Shaam, Sibiraj, Jithan Ramesh.
I would still believe Prithviraj belongs to Mallu industry and would occasionally shine here like Mammooty...

 
At 8:09 AM, Anonymous vijay said...

Balaji, come on, Vijay-Ajith phase? You must be kidding me. There was no such phase except in the minds of Ajith and Vijay fans. They were nowhere close to the phenomenon the previous duos you mentioned were, nowhere as popular and nowhere as successfull. These guys had a cult following at best. Cannot even imagine the previous duos giving as long a string of flops as Vijay/Ajith have done several times in their career.
And as for critical acclaim both Kamal as well as Rajni have had far more memorable performances. Its not even a fair comparison. As for MGR/Sivaji, they were in a totally different league altogether. No statue would be erected for Ajith nor will Tamilnadu mourn if we were to lose Vijay today. I feel after the Rajni/Kamal duo we have never had any such duos and it has been a level field. No one is guaranteed any big hits and everyone has to earn their dough. Ajith and Vijay watched while their films bit the dust and other actors like Vikram,Surya blossomed and had hit after hit in the last few years. And Ajith-how many "comebacks" has he attempted to make in the last 2 years? It has never happened to Kamal/Rajni or the other duo in their peak.In fact I could probably make a stronger case for Vikram/Surya duo than Vijay/Ajith if I wanted to, but I wont. I could still make a case for us being in the Rajni/Kamal era still :-) After all they have had far more success in recent years than Vijay or Ajith. Whereas when Kamal/Rajni were in their peak MGR/Sivaji era had clearly declined. There was a clear demarcation there. I dont know if you realized it.


Next to the column you wrote comparing KS Ravikumar with Manoj Shyamalan, this is the one that I disagree with most :-)

As of now, I dont see anyone in the above list having the complete package to pull it off and race ahead. But as fan bases are developing and actors mature we will know in a few years

 
At 8:12 AM, Anonymous vijay said...

Rajni's chanramukhi and Kamal's VV are bigger hits than anything Ajith/Vijay have managed to come up with in recent times. This has never happened with the previous duos. We are still in the Rajni/Kamal era :-))

 
At 8:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice post Balaji. I too feel Arya and Vishal will be a nice duo. Heard that they are planning to remake Rajini's Thee and Billa. I feel Vishal will suit well for those roles, what say?

 
At 9:50 AM, Blogger Filbert said...

Not sure if I agree with Arya at number 1. I would give that place to Bharath, instead. Prasanna and Simbhu deserve a honorable mention atleast :)

 
At 9:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was gonna have a cow of not seeing prasanna's name and I reread the post. Neverrr mind =P.

I pick Jeeva and Barath as my fave of the lot here.

Vijay and Ajith era stunk. The end of story.

~Merino

 
At 9:55 AM, Anonymous ram said...

I was a little confused the first time I read ur post...coz I didnt know whether you were rating the 'actors' in them or whether you were simply writing abt who stands a chance to be the next big hero...then I reread your comments and saw that you were talking of "actors who have the biggest probability of making a mark in the next generation of Tamil cinema." that said, here're my picks (not predictions) :

6. Vishal - horrible looking with no charisma whatsoever he'll probably make it big coz of the built-in audience for action movies...I hated Thimiru and hated him in Thimiru...

5. Jayam Ravi - if there was a voice that could make me wish the actor plays mute characters all his life, its Jayam Ravi's...aiyyo, cant get over his overacting in Something...irrritating...but as long as there are remakes, Ravi will live!

4. Danush- as long as there is Selvaraghavan, Danush will survive! An actor with immense potential (though AOKKalam and Pudhupettai were below par, he turned in strong performances). hoping he'll bounce back...

3. Simbu - a talented guy who is yet to find the directors who can tap his potential, which was evident in Manmadhan...needs to be reined in, though...Saravana was a chore to endure.

2. Arya- he's been exceptionally good in vishnuvardhan's movies but is actually quite stiff when it comes to moving his facial muscles! but his good looks will have females drooling over him + he'll turn out to be more of a star than an actor...naan kadavull i think will be an exception...he'll do more of the pattiyals than NKs..

1. Jeeva and Barath- both wonderful actors; just hope they dont fall into the star trap...the sight of Jeeva crying out, "Sharadha Maa...Sharadha Maa..." in Raam was unforgettable...same for Barath's turn in Kadhal...they never become the next big thing but still, can be steady performers...

 
At 11:12 AM, Anonymous karthik sc said...

It is interesting to note that only Barath in your list is a Tamilian.
Jeeva-Hindi
Ravi,Vishal-Telugu
Arya-Malayalam

I feel that Simbu would become a really big star.His dance is very good.His acting is okay.He can do the mass masala films with ease.He also tries to bring some creativity in his roles.Lastly he has a strong urge and desire to become a supertar

 
At 11:15 AM, Blogger anjali said...

ram, cannot agree with you more re: jeyam ravi. i will be the first person to say that overacting will always have an importance place in tamil cinema and can be fun to watch, but he needs to learn the difference between histrionics and plain old grating on the nerves.

talent-wise, jeeva and bharath are definitely on the top of my list, but vishal is definitely creating a path to become one of the next big mass heros. arya is definitely eye candy, which will keep him popular, and he was a very fun character in "arindhum ariyamalum" but i don't think he has much range.

nice post balaji, btw! it would be interesting to compare the girls too, but there's such a big turnover in the heroine industry save a few exceptions...

 
At 11:17 AM, Blogger மு.கார்த்திகேயன் said...

Balaji, I wonder on not seeing Simbhu's name in your top 5 list. He have more chances to be in one of the two who are help to name the Era. Simbhu should be there. Inspite of taking the fan base, he has more chance. And Vishal has more chances to be in that list. But I dont find Bharath to be fit in that role. Eventhough Mic Mohan was famous in Rajni-Kamal period, he was not as fame as them. In entire list, I can accept only Vishal and Arya has long way to go. Only Naan Kadavul result cannot made his fate as Vikram and Surya

 
At 11:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jeeva,Jeyam Ravi,Vishal along with Ravi Krishna and Ramesh(Jeeva's brother) are producer dad backed entities.Danush and Simbu have powerful connections.
Sadly this is the reality of Tamil cinema today where it is a real struggle to complete and release a film without financial difficulties

 
At 11:55 AM, Blogger Balaji said...

pagalak(& others), i just had an arbitrary cut-off for new vs older heroes. and simbhu fell below the cut-off. He's been around for a while and has acted in quite a few films. So i felt he didn't belong in my 'new' category...

skanda, same applies to dhanush. i felt he wasn't really a 'new' actor... and prithviraj may be an occasional actor but i don't think he will be regular enough to be called a tamil cinema actor...

anon, i personally like prasanna. but so far he's been too low-key and not too versatile. so not sure how far he's gonna go :)

mysorean, it was the traditional of success for action heroes that made me place vishal at #2 :) and as i mentioned b4, it was an arbitrary, very personal rule that helped me split the generations and i felt surya belonged to the vijay-ajith gen :)

anon, liked that comment about the wet tshirt contest :) i wasn't really comparing arya's tamil to rajni's. just wanted to point out that good command over the language has become less important for our heroes over the years :)

anon, i think its a mix of both for bharath. 'boys' failure led to the 'young guys as hero'-kinda films to drop off and so bharath probably never got a chance to consider them. lucky for him since he didnt get stereotyped :)

anon, thanx :) i've been trying out a few films from other languages too. will keep those recommendations in mind :)

bart, arya being a mix of both is what made me place him at the top of the list. i agree he's not been very impressive but the foundation is there and there's room to grow. we've seen so many actors being written off initially but improving greatly to rise to fame. so arya has some time :)
and if i were to compile a list of the heroes with the least chance of making it, 'jithan' ramesh would've topped the list :)
and the 'mike mohan vagaiyara' comment was spot on :)

 
At 12:52 PM, Blogger Me too said...

Bharath and Jeeva are the promising ones. Track maaradheengappa!! Arya, will Bala surprise me, again?

 
At 1:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ram, you think Vishal is "horrible looking" and Dhanush isn't? Vishal is fine and he's got long long long long long charismatic legs. Dhanush is erkanave eli moonji, plus he's about to collapse and be bundled away to a Hollywood clinic to deal with his bulimia.

anon "arya's wet t-shirt" ymous

 
At 1:55 PM, Blogger mitr_bayarea said...

Balaji-

Nice prediction- looks like most of them on this list have dad's who are producers and so forth. Although, I am not impressed a lot by Arya, maybe Bala's Naan Kadavul will do something for him like what Sethu did for Vikram.

 
At 3:12 PM, Anonymous ram said...

anon, :-)
i was just expressing my thots on these actors...plus i'm a guy so, u cant expect too many compliments from me on a guy's looks! yes, I do think that vishal is "horrible looking." not that danush is going to win any Mr. Poes Garden contests! just that I think Danush can be moulded into a fantastic actor, from what i've seen of him in Kadhal Konden, AOKK and other movies...he brings a certain degree of pathos to the characters he portrays...

wonder how i missed prasanna...maybe coz of what bb said abt him being low-key...he's a natural actor who "behaves" instead of "acting" and chooses down to earth characters as well...but he's been repeating the "nice guy with a subtle sense of humor" routine and even in Kanda Naall Muthal, i found him reprising his azhagiye theeye tics a bit...

 
At 3:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice list. Hope u have settled in your new home. When you sent me an email, I was just getting ready for my India trip, sorry could not respond.

 
At 6:12 PM, Anonymous Sandya said...

I personally think the dark horse (no, not Vishal! :-) in this race is Srikanth. He doesn't fit with the young ones (who are 5 or 6 movies old!) and definitely doesn't fit the older crop (Ajit, Vijay, Surya & Vikram), but I feel he stands to win a spot for himself in the top 5 by the end of this year. He has the same problems at the rest of the younger crop here, similar to the versatility issues that Arya and 'Jayam' Ravi have faced so far.

So far, the person who looks most likely to replace Vijaykanth: Vishal. He has the complexion and definitely fits the masala mass image that fits Mr.V very well. If he continues to show lasting power with Sivapathigaaram and Thamiraparani, he is set for the next 25 years! :-), a la Mr. V. He may cruise along for as many years with no acting, zero skills and lots and lots of punch dialogues and develop a 'goody-two-shoes' mass image that will eventually lead him to politics! :-) (See, I even have a crystal ball for him!)

Last but not least, frankly, I don't think Arya will be the most likely to succeed, I think it is indeed Bharath. With Pattiyal and Em Magan, two roles on either side of the spectrum, and two more films in Veyyil and Chennai Kaadhal.. he is the man to watch (and to beat!) by the end of this year.

I frankly don't think that neither Jeeva nor 'Jayam' Ravi have anything to be excited for this year. Of the two, Jeeva seems to be more promising, but that's not saying a whole lot. 'Jayam' Ravi needs a lot of voice lessons and a lot of time with dubbing artists to learn the art properly. I have a little bit of hope for Dhanush, who has "Thiruvilaiyaadal Aarambam" and "Parattai" coming up and do think his prospects are much better now than pre-Pudhupettai. Not to say that Rajini is the best judge of scripts, but maybe Dhanush taking up a few projects on Rajini's suggestion may lead to favorable results.

My order would be this:
5. Prasanna/Prithviraj
4. Jayam Ravi
3. Jeeva/Dhanush
2. Arya/Vishal
1. Bharath

At this point, no young star including Bharath can hold his own without a little bit of help from his heroines or his supporting stars. But it should be said that the current crop, given their limited number of opportunities to try to emote or their limited interest in experimenting, are far better off than the start that Vijay, Ajith, Surya and Vikram had when they first started. If you look at their initial 4 or 5 films (with one or two exceptions, Ajith ("Aasai"), Surya ("Nerukku Ner"), they had miserable outings and had to work quadruple as hard to get as many hits as what Vishal, Bharath, Jayam Ravi, Arya, Dhanush among many others have been able to have so far. We, as tamil movie fans, have either really lowered the bar of excellence, or the current crop works harder. I do think the former is more true than the latter.

It remains to be seen how well folks like "Chithiram Pesudhadi" Narain, "Paruthi Veeran" Karthi fare alongside other newcomers, as this order like any other keeps changing quite often, as more and more newcomers hit bullseye.

 
At 9:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would put Bharath in the sivakumar mold, I do not see him holding sway in the number game. For the record Bharath is also a Mallu. But then I dont think we ever had that many Thamizhans in the industry as heroes. Probably Balaji you are counting Simbhu's movies from his childhood days otherwise he must have acted in about 8-10 movies, which should be more or less the same for Bharath. What you guys are really missing out are the director angle both Rajini and Kamal had Balachander and Bharathiraja to groom them. I do not see directors in the same caliber now. These days most directors are maximum 3 movie wonders, who take these movies to various languages for remakes.

 
At 9:16 PM, Anonymous vel. said...

BTW Rajini became a grandfather to a grandson today.Congrats Super Grandfather!!!!!

 
At 9:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is interesting that a discussion on a topic like this - repectfully, of course - overlooks the mass appeal of "character" actors who blossommed & "survived" even during the MGR/Sivaji & Kamal/Rajini eras.
Gemini, Jai Shankar, Muthuraman & the next phase with Prabhu, Satyaraj, Karthik etc, there will a sustainable demand for variety in the choice of leading men. These actors will & have created a niche - which, I imagine, must be far more challenging in carving a market for themselves - during the times of collossal leading men like MGR, Sivaji, Rajini & Kamal. In whatever ranking, they do deserve their rightful status.

 
At 11:48 PM, Anonymous leo said...

@Vijay....

Rajini and Kamal has a great director KB to guide them....

But see Ajith....he has come on his own....

@Balaji...
Ajith surely has a greater mass than Vijay....

 
At 11:53 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

vijay, didnt mean ajith-vijay were phenomena or gave a series of hits when i used them to define this generation. the audience tastes, etc. have changed and so its unfair to expect the same from them as we got from the other duos. I just used them as the representatives of this generation. they've been around for a long time and have had the same mass/class distinction that the previous duos had...

and yes, i just wanted to make some fun predictions before they get their fans and mature as actors :)

kk, yeah i read that too. at this point, i think he's an automatic choice for any action film remakes :)

filbert, looks like bharath has a number of backers :)

ram, yeah this wasn't a list based on any 1 talent. based on tamil cinema viewers' tastes, etc., the list was just who i thot would be around for a long time... and they were my predictions and not picks :)

karthik, yes simbhu does have all that :)

anjali, the eye candy part and the action capability is the combo that made me put him at the top of the list.
and that was a good pt about the turnover of heroines. most r 1-film wonders but i think the situation's better now... maybe i will do that list :)

karthik, arya and vishal - looks like we feel the same way about them. but looks like bharath and jeeva r the most popular among commenters here...

anon, yeah most young heroes have good connections nowadays :)

me too, bharath and jeeva? join the club :)

mitr, if anyone can bring out the actor in someone, bala is the one. so i'm hoping we see the actor in arya in 'naan kadavul' :)

shankari, thanx :) but i think u did respond to my email :)

sandya, don't feel the same way about srikanth. i think he falls in the same category as prasanna. too low-key with average performers at the BO. will probably stay around but not sure big things r in store for him. also wasn't surprised seeing prasanna/prithviraj on your list. but dhanush was a surprise. esp. since u didnt talk about simbhu. wasn't too far back that people were talking about dhanush-simbhu the same way i talked about the earlier duos.

 
At 6:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Leo,

I totally disagree with you. KB did give a few good films for Superstar and Kamal, but come on Superstar and Kamal belong to whole different league/class. Where was KB in **Buvana Oru Kelvi Kuri** (or) **Aaril Irunthu Arupadhu varai**, similar *Thevar Magan* and *Nayagan* did not come from KB.

KB gave a start, Ajith probably did not need it. He was handsome in his teens which was a plus to take him into early stages. Have you seen Superstar/Vijay/Vikram when they were young ... hehehehe.

So every actor had some advantage or the other.Who on earth you think will see Dhanush/Vijay if their Brother and Dad did not give a hand?

 
At 7:45 AM, Anonymous vijay said...

"they've been around for a long time and have had the same mass/class distinction that the previous duos had... "

Balaji,in fact this is another reason why I cannot consider them as a generation-defining duo. While the earlier duos had one really good actor along with one charismatic star the Vijay/Ajith duo doesnt boast of any great acting capabilities and both of them have been doing mass movies and mouthing punch dialogues (albeit with mixed results) for the last 7 years. Neither of them is known as a particularly strong actor.I dont think they possess the mass/class distinction you are talking about. Ajith had the potential to be the classy guy but he didnt make use of it.

"the audience tastes, etc. have changed and so its unfair to expect the same from them as we got from the other duos."

taste change aana ennanga... Even after all this taste change we still have Rajni/Kamal films clicking at the box office. It boils down to abilities. Vikram has been more succcessfull at both mass/class films than both Vijay and Ajith combined. And being the lone national award winner for the past few years he is also a recognizable face outside TN. So if Vijay/Ajith are the generation-defining duo I expect greater success from both of them than Vikram,which hasnt happened so far, both in class or mass movies.

I think Rajni/Kamal may be the last gen-defining duo we have seen and they are still not done yet. All the current actors want to be like them, try to emulate them rather than charting their own path. The closest to being a mass/class duo, if I were to pick one just for the heck of it for the current gen, I would have to pick Vikram/Vijay(with a heavy heart of course), although neither Vikram nor Vijay are a patch on the previous duo(and both of them had sort of a slow start). The only reason to pick Vijay/Ajith instead would be that they have been around for a long time as you mentioned and they have had some media-hyped rivalry between their fans.

 
At 7:56 AM, Anonymous ram said...

bb, kizhinjidhu lambaadi lungi...indha post engeyo oru THALA-vali route-la poitrukku (sorry udaney, Vijay-vali nu yaen sollala-nu oru comment venaam annan-maargalaa!)

neenge pora poakkula kripaanandhavaariyar pathi thaan post ezudhanum to be non-controversial...aana, apo kooda, krips versus shankaraachariyaar la yaaru osaththi-nu oru argument vandhudum...

live and let live...:-)

 
At 9:56 AM, Anonymous Sandya said...

Ram, I couldn't stop laughing after reading your last comment. :-) ;-).. We are no longer in a situation in bbthots where a casual analysis of Vijay and Ajit will go down with an easy read and a 'bygones' scroll. Paavam Balaji. I was tempted to reply to Vijay in my initial comment.. but kinda knew from my previous experience, where it would end up.. nowhere.. but as the bbthots author, you have no choice but to comment. :-) (and in case, you didn't know Balaji.. 'anything and everything you write, will be used against you in the code of 'Vijay'" :-) ;-)..

Also, Balaji, about not mentioning Simbu. The problem with him is he acts well (Manmadhan; but nowhere close to his colleagues including Dhanush) when his career is on the line, or superlatively shoddy (Kuththu, Kaadhal Azhivadhillai, Saravana) when he wants to put his mass image forward or very very so-so (Kovil) when his career is going steady stream.. His unpredictability and lack of versatility is the main reason he doesn't even make my top 5 cut. He has to learn to be modest, steady and diligent if he wants to get anywhere (even if Vallavan turns out to be a massive hit! :-).. (Kosuru: I won't go into the sad plight of Salem Chandrasekar who produced Manmadhan and his current state today and factor that into my decision! :-))

 
At 10:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

out of the lot, i vote for bharath...........he can act and seems to choose his movies with his brain intact.........jeeva's also good

and vishal is good looking....i think a lotta girls feel this way

as for arya and the wet t-shirt...watch him in the mallai mallai song when he has his shirt open.....grooooooooooooossssssss...and he's poppy bugged out eyes:)

as for dhanush, he has nice features.......just look at his head and forget bout the body....

 
At 11:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

sandya do you really think vishal is going in the Gaptain route? :( i thought he looks all set to fill the empty space that once belonged to arjun. if i remember, Gaptain used to mix comedy in his early roles and the anti-baakistan thiviravaadhikal, punchu dialouge spewing, legs in the air roles came only much later. vishal so far has not tried much comedy or if he has, i sure didnt notice and has started to bank in on action roles just like arjun did.

good post balaji. you have been creating a lot of waves in singapore.

gayathri

 
At 11:44 AM, Anonymous Ravi said...

The industry is getting more and more "democratic," if you will. Nowadays we can't really point to any one or two people who are leading the pack in the younger generation. Ajith and Vijay are nowhere near Kamal and Rajini in their heyday. We see a lot of different kinds of actors popular. Bharath, Arya, Vishal, etc. In the music field, we can't really say anyone is leading like IR did in the mid 70s to early 90s or ARR was most popular in the 90s. HJ, YSR, and to some extent, Vidyasagar, Sabesh Murali, and Srikanth Deva are popular without a reigning king.

BTW, isn't Jeeva the son of Editor Mohan? I thought they were Telugu people also.

Balaji, can we look forward to a similar post on heroines? Jyothika has now left the scene, and Asin is a rising star. Trisha is still somewhat popular. The pull of the heroines to the box office is not like that of the heroes, though. It was Kamal and Rajini who put butts in the seats, not their heroines :-)

 
At 12:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't Jeeva R.B Chowdhry's son? Ravi is Editor Mohan's son if I'm not wrong. Whose son is Vishal?

 
At 12:31 PM, Anonymous Sandya said...

Ravi, Jeeva is Producer R.B.Choudhri's son, while 'Jayam' Ravi is Editor Mohan's son. Vishal is Producer G.K.Reddy's son.

I don't know about your comment about heroines not bringing in crowds. I think we are going to start seeing a shift in this more than usual (just a change, not a revolution in thought). If Asin can bring in crowds for her "Kalpana" in Ghajini (I'm sure Ram can vouch for this! :-), any other heroine can wield that clout if she throws in a valuable performance now and then. We'll have to wait and see!..

 
At 2:00 PM, Anonymous ram said...

Asin can bring in crowds for her "Kalpana" in Ghajini (I'm sure Ram can vouch for this! :-),

--> cha cha cha...en image-aye damage panreengaley sandya madam! enakku "kalps kutty"-a (elaam oru paasam thaan!) pudikka aaru kaaranangall, in TR style:

thangachee,
andha paathurathula irundhudhu maa oru thudippu
marandhu poguma en kalpanavin sirippu
en chellakutty oru malayala moaney...
en vayiru irukkey oru chetti paaney...
soappula karaiyumaa thannee?
nanaiyaama varumaa jannee?
indha TR irukaane oru kaatu pannee...
Asin thaan dee ma unaku manni!

 
At 2:33 PM, Anonymous vijay said...

"The industry is getting more and more "democratic," if you will. Nowadays we can't really point to any one or two people who are leading the pack in the younger generation. Ajith and Vijay are nowhere near Kamal and Rajini in their heyday"

Ravi, this is what I mentioned earlier. Tnanks for agreeing :-)

 
At 3:40 PM, Anonymous Ravi said...

Sandya said:

"I don't know about your comment about heroines not bringing in crowds. I think we are going to start seeing a shift in this more than usual (just a change, not a revolution in thought). If Asin can bring in crowds for her "Kalpana" in Ghajini (I'm sure Ram can vouch for this! :-), any other heroine can wield that clout if she throws in a valuable performance now and then. We'll have to wait and see!.."

People may have their preferences and heroines they like, but do they go see a movie specifically because Asin, Trisha, etc. is in it like the might for the hero? That is, if it is the actors attracting them to the theater and not the story or word-of-mouth. IMO the most we can say is that people like certain jodis, but don't necessarily say, "Hey, Trisha's in this movie, let's go see it!"

I would like to see fewer hero-oriented films in Tamil cinema. I'm tired of the one-guy-bashing-one-hundred kind of movies. And I would like to see more story-based films. There is some trend in this, with films like Parijatham, Azhagiya Theeye, etc. doing well at the box office.

 
At 5:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think meera jasmine pulls in the crowds..........and revathi also did in those days

 
At 9:56 PM, Blogger skanda said...

Meera Jasmine pulling in the crowd???...which film is that?...ru mentioning "Sandai kozhi"?...Meera was good but there were other factors that contributed to the movie's sucess like the screenplay and the director...

 
At 9:59 PM, Blogger skanda said...

Everyone actor from vijay to Vishal seems to be aping SUPERSTAR in terms of films, manerisems and style...why does not anyone follow Kamal's footsteps...we could get some really cool movies...

 
At 10:44 PM, Anonymous ram said...

skanda, this is something that even an ardent rajni fan like BB will agree with me - its easier to ape (note i didnt say "become") rajni than it is to ape kamal...

both rajni and kamal are forces to reckon with but look at simbu's early movies- his pathetic attempts at punchlines and 'styles' got him nowhere...look at a vikram or a suriya put in the heart and soul into performances and say that they idolize Kamal...no prizes for guessing which one requires more hardwork...

but the fact is, there's one rajni and there's one kamal...the rest of the wannabes will remain exactly that-- wannabes!

 
At 10:49 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

anon, no i didn't overlook the other character actors in each generation. i did mention that there were successful and important actors in each phase though i didn't mention names. But I felt that the duos i wrote about were kinda representative of the generation...

gayathri, i'm guessing vishal's aiming higher than arjun! rajni/vijay/vijayakanth r the ones who at this point seem to be his role model. as he matures, it will be interesting to see who's shoes he fills...

and whats with the "creating waves in s'pore"? good waves i hope. care to elaborate?? u've made me curious :)

ravi, ours is definitely a hero-centric industry. agree with u completely on that. but we have had heroines who managed to pull in crowds(though their pulling power was really less compared to the heroes). yes, i do plan to do a similar write-up on heroines. so will stop saying any more on the topic :)

skanda, good question :) problem is following kamal's footsteps requires talent! while aping rajnikanth seems to give quick dividends in terms of hit films, fans, etc. so they take the easy way out :)

 
At 11:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Balaji,

While I agree that Kamal is a better actor than Rajini. Rajini was on par with Kamal in almost all movies till KB started giving crap movies like Duet etc..

My thought is some idiot spoiled Superstar not to act and just get away with masalas. Watch *Avargal*, *Buvana Oru Kelvi Kuri*, *Thillu Mullu* and *Mullum Malarum*, his acting skills were par Kamal at that time.

I think Superstar himself has longed to do such roles after Masala movies. No wonder in an interview he said Kamal was his fav actor... :-))

Coming back to your point, I see only Bharath and Jeeva capable of filling this gap of giving different movies. Vishal is next Gabtain. Having said this doing an action film isn't easy. Vishal did a great job in stunt sequences in Thimuru, his physique suits the role better than Gabtain and folks. Thank God Bharath and Jeeva don't have such a physique else we will see Machoman movies from them too :)))))

Rgds
Vatsan.

 
At 12:02 AM, Anonymous leo said...

@anonymous,

You have completely not understood my statement....Rajini and Kamal had a great director in KB...means...KB moulded them into great actors...and then you could see the result of Rajini's acting in **Buvana Oru Kelvi Kuri** (or) **Aaril Irunthu Arupadhu varai**, and Kamal's acting in *Thevar Magan* and *Nayagan* which are not from KB....

but if you take the case of Ajith...He had only one good director from the camp of KB, Vasanth for the movie AASAI...but if you had seen AASAI...Ajith's was just a romantic role...agrred he has got good looks...even Kamal had good looks during his younger days...

But after AASAI...it was purely due to Ajith's hard work...it was he who shaped his career....meaning to say he went to the top...and his career went haywire between 2001-2005.....

but during this career....instead of directors shaping Ajith...it was Ajith who shaped these directors....take VAAALI, MUGAVARI, DHEENA, KAADHAL KOTTAI....

But I see KSR giving a good film for Ajith in Varalaaru...

Lets wait for Thala Diwali...and then speak....

@Vijay...

there is no point in talking about vikram, Surya...where are these actors...they have only given 2 to 3 films good..others are below-standard...hmmm...:(

 
At 12:05 AM, Anonymous leo said...

@Vatsan,

Vishal will slide down after 2 to 3 movies...no stuff in him..what acting does he have....he is going to be another b-grade actor...making masala movies for b & c centres....

jeeva also for 1 or 2 movies....

bharath can stand out....he surely has some stuff in him...but no action movies from him...he doesn't have that in him...

 
At 1:36 AM, Blogger skanda said...

I think that SUPERSTAR prefer to do masala movies as his FANS only want that...he tried to do something in "Baba" which we all know what happen in the end...but like wise, today's generation of heroes like Vijay, Vishal, Simbhu , Ajith think they r already superstars by just giving a few hits....they dunt even have 10% of Rajini's charisma on screen....

Leo...i agree with u...bharath does have some stuff in it..he is quite intelligent in picking the right movies...he knows that he is not suited for the 'mass' roles and prefer going for character roles..

 
At 3:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Skanda,

Superstar in 70s and 80s, in movies like Netrikann he was better than Kamal infact. On the other day I was watching Mr.Bharath that was not bad either.

All this out and out masala started probably from Muthu, Arunachalam? (probably wanted to help C.Sundar but turned otherwise :-o, even Veera was okay (for it's comedy & screenplay). He came back strongly in Padayappa(helluva of movie though if its masala).

PPl say Baasha is his best movie..I'd say Netrikann, Avargal or Moondru Mudichi for that matter.
Agree these days ppl are boasting after doing nothing, Rajini and Kamal are far better.Jeeva, Vishal and Bharath are far better of lot, both are mostly silent and don't try to over do things and give loose talks and punch dialogues :-}

Lets hope they make half of Superstar/Kamal. Grace is what these guys need to learn from Superstar.

Rgds,
Vatsan.

 
At 3:27 AM, Anonymous leo said...

@Skanda....

You are wrong again in your assesment of Ajith

Did you see Ajith's Mugavari...what a matured role....and what happened to the result of the movie...the movie opened with a bang and also went off soon with a bang...why....coz the fans did not like to see ajith in such a role....

this made ajith to switch to mass-hero roles...because of which you say that Ajith says that he is the next superstar....which is wrong....it is infact the fans of ajith who say that he is the next superstar...and yes he has the ability....

infact ajith has the capability to act...he is a class apart among the current lot of actors...pls i am not comparing ajith with rajini/kamal and i won't do...they are experienced actors...

but among the current lot...ajith surely stands out...and he is the number one...

wait for godfather varalaaru...and watch his class...though it is masala movie...class is there....this is what the fans of thala want...

 
At 4:39 AM, Blogger artnavy said...

You missed MADHAVAN- a charmer- great in ayudha yeruthu

 
At 5:24 AM, Blogger srivatsan said...

Maddy is doing a film with C.Sundar (Vadivelu along side).He will come back strongly. Rumor is he is also roped in Manirathnam's film *GURU*. Maddy is very versatile when it comes to Expressions/Emotions. Only drawback he does not dance :-))

Lets see whats in store.

 
At 9:20 AM, Blogger Nilu said...

On sheer market capitalisaion, I would think it's the Vijay-Vikram phase. You can't really have 'acting ability' as a yardstick -- fr one it's personal opinion and secondly, Tamil Cinema is slightly different.

But the jury is still out.

 
At 9:37 AM, Anonymous vijay said...

"Did you see Ajith's Mugavari...what a matured role....and what happened to the result of the movie...the movie opened with a bang and also went off soon with a bang...why....coz the fans did not like to see ajith in such a role...."

so one movie bombed, its enough excuse for him to do 10 meaningless movies? Please..I know that you are an Ajith fan club member and have to defend him..but adhukkaaga ippadiyaa..So after Raajapaarvai bombed, Kamal should have stuck to doing just sakalakalavallavan movies right? This is called "chappakattu"

and your reasoning that Kamal and Rajni grew up because of KB doesnt hold any merit. I can say then Ajith grew up because of Vasanth, Agaththiyan, SJ sURYA,Saran etc. would you agree? In fact Kamal's first big performance came for Barathiraja in 16 vayadhinile and not KB. It made Rajni popular too.Rajni in fact became a superstar after he stopped acting for KB movies. Its movies like Murattu kaaLai, Moondru Mugam etc. that made him the star initially. All actors have to do hard work, develop their own style to succeed and retain their foothold in the industry. The directors can only do so much. They need the actors as much as the actors need them.Please try to understand this.

Its not just Ajith who does hard work. Vikram and Surya dont work any less. So please stop this "he came up on his own" excuse which is getting tired. Most actors of today have come up on their own hard work, and they have also had far more success than Ajith in recent years.Ajith should probably learn from young actors like Bharath on how to choose meaningful roles that suits his image.

 
At 9:41 AM, Anonymous vijay said...

"there is no point in talking about vikram, Surya...where are these actors...they have only given 2 to 3 films good..others are below-standard...hmmm...:("

Leo, unless you are living under a rock, you will know that Vikram,Surya easily have half a dozen darn good movies against their name, much more than what Ajith has managed in the 7-8 years and in shorter time too.

Anyways, convincing you would be a futile exercise. So I'll let you live with your opinions(read delusions) on Ajith :-)

 
At 10:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

good waves of course balaji. almost everyone i know here reads your blog religiously. and one of the local tamil station's dj is a friend of mine and she admitted to me, some of her on-air topics are inspired from your blog. esp ones linked to tamil cinema. good waves and to a certain extent sound waves

gayathri

 
At 10:44 AM, Anonymous vijay said...

Overall, its a little disappointing to note that Tamil cinema still relies on "packaging", "mass apeal" "star image" etc. while Bollywood seems to be maturing a little and churninhg out films like Omkaaara, Lage Raho etc. Sure, they have their own share of trash, but their best films are pretty good and even pathbreaking. Here, its left to an occasional effort from Kamal or Bala, who also sometimes end up making half-baked efforts. Seem to be strictly commercial.And I dont see that changing over the next few months. The deepavali lineup doesnt look very promising, typical masala fare. Like in Bollywood we need a fresh pack of script/screenplay writers, not sure where we are going to get them from. Writers like Sujatha/Balakumaran are getting old and even they seem happy to be wasting their talent in masalas.

 
At 8:59 PM, Blogger Babs said...

"Overall, its a little disappointing to note that Tamil cinema still relies on "packaging", "mass apeal" "star image" etc. while Bollywood seems to be maturing a little and churninhg out films like Omkaaara, Lage Raho etc"

Vijay, I think its a phase and lets hope they produce some quality work like those in the future too, Our cinema has been through this as well but our audience dont seem to quite appreciate it or the niche is not enough to convince our producers. Albeit we still make some good if not great movies, its just that we stick to a genre which was successful like Bollywood was few years back.

I personally think we should slowly reduce the number of songs and change the fact that we make movies based on some formula now n then. That would change people's perception eventually and make our industry more diverse.

 
At 12:17 AM, Blogger srivatsan said...

Vijay,

I don't agree with you regarding quality of films released. Yes there is a fair share of masala films in any industry for that matter.

I thought Tamil Industry was going through a decent run. Take Aran, Kaadhal, Thavamai Thavamirundhu, Autograph, Kandal Naal Mudhal, Azhagiya Theeya, Vettaiyadu Villayadu, Iyarkai (though it bombed), Parthiban Kanavu, Kanaa Kandaen, Saasanam, Raam, Dishyum, Kaaka Kaaka .I'm not saying above are perfect, but atleast most of them made me sit for 3 hrs :), most of them did not have punch dialogues and stunts performed 30ft above sea level.

I see these films are sincere atleast to the point they show some difference (atleast in screenplay). I thought even Thalainagaram was a good movie in that sense (don't hit me :), but it had no fancy Captain bullshit.

Bollywood is mainly *s..t*, except for some good Shahrukh, Aamir or Ram Gopal Verma movies. Mostly story is based on sex infidels (or) prostitutes, God can't they think of something else :))

Rgds
Srivatsan

 
At 12:58 AM, Anonymous leo said...

@Vijay...

your namesake should also do movies according to what suits him better...and it is the same for vikram and surya...vikram is already old...see what happened to maja....pucca waste movie...and lets see bheema....where it goes....surya is matured actor..he can come with good performances..but not bikram or bijay....

anyways you see varalaaru, aazhwar and kireedom...then post in your reviews..i like to read your reviews...

 
At 1:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who is this Ajith? Is it that eunuchy looking guy with a broken voice who cries like a small girl?

 
At 1:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Srivatsavan is right, I would add Imsai Arasan, Sethu, Pithamagan, Sri Ramadasu, Akukonda Oku Roju, which all did well. Movies have been steadily losing songs since the 50s adn I don't think anyone can say they are steadily getting better. Who wants RGV imitation Hollywood crap instead of Bhukailas and Thillana Mohanambal?

anon "arya's wet t-shirt" ymous

 
At 2:40 AM, Anonymous visay said...

@anonymous...

who is that visay...is he the one who doesn't look good and doesn't have an expression on his face....and who proclaims his movies run for 100 days..is he the one who pays the theatres to run the movies of his for 100 days...omg...

 
At 3:34 AM, Blogger srivatsan said...

Guys,

Pls stop this bull shit fight. It's neither about Vijay nor about Ajith. It is a different subject thats being talked about, leave them both for some time.

Rgds,
Srivatsan

 
At 7:20 AM, Anonymous visay said...

@srivatsan...

no stopping...only expressing views....

 
At 10:32 AM, Anonymous vijay said...

srivatsan, most of the movies you have mentioned(I wouldnt include Aran) are decent medium-budget movies which had a clean fare. In others words commercial, movies without usual formula elements or anything vulgar. While that can be appreciated, that alone is not pathbreaking or can advance Tamil cinema. Sure Bollywood produces a lot of trash like I said earlier but they are also more experimental, fresh and their best films in recent times are really good, definitely a cut above what has come out of Madras. In the last 1.5 yrs (since 2005 or so)I would probably pick Kaadhal and to a slightly lesser extent Thavami thavamirundhu, Pudhupettai, Imsai as fresh attempts.Not enough. Need more, especially from Kamal/Surya/Vikram who of late are content doing safe commercial movies. Some of the younger directors with potential like Gautam/Vishnu/Murugadoss spend more time trying to decide which Hollywood flick are they going to flick from next, rather than try something new. And their overall product also leaves quite a bit of a scope for improvement. Also,actresses donning mature and meaningful roles and delivering it well(a la Radhika or Revathi or Suhasini) is something that died in the 80s itself. I dont see anyone amongst the current crop of leading actresses who have it in them to get the job done even if they somehow get a meaty role, which by itself a rarity. I hope to be proven wrong on both counts by a good director.

 
At 10:09 PM, Blogger srivatsan said...

Vijay,

You are correct to some extent. One can safely expect more from Kamal/Vikram/Surya. I see your point of commercial elements added to good plot (like VV's second half, I thought 1st half was terrific and lots of commercial elements in 2nd like Villains dancing around etc :)), which you won't find in an English movie.

One reason might be truly genuine attempts have bombed big time, audiences are not mature enough to accept their heros do different attempts. Most of the above said movies are new attempts but are half baked (to save producers a** probably?).

I'd like to remind that extremely good attempt like *Kurudhi Punal* (yes it was a hindi remake which proved better than the original) specially because of Nasser(damn good artist) was a flop and so too Anbe Sivam. Indian, a movie below par when compared to above two got National Award :)

Probably the artists themselves are little nervous they don't turn up giving too many flops :). It hardly makes a difference in Bollywood (where 60-70% of movies flop) so new experiments are much welcome. May be I'd like to see Vikram or Kamal or Surya picked up for film project funded in USD/Euros and they might end up giving something to their standard. Kamal took such risks but *Marudunayagam* never took off, and ever since he is staying off such attempts because of money involved. Tried a new flavor of comedy in *Mumbai Express*. Though I won't rate the movie very good, it was very decent comedy with out vulgarity and was surprised to see Pasupathy do comedy with such ease, miserable in box-office.

As for actresses Padmapriya, Navya Nair and Meera Jasmine are capable of doing any role you give them, any risk takers :)??

Rgds,
Srivatsan

 

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