Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Heartbreak Kids

Around the time Alaipayuthey released, I wrote a piece on actors who became heartthrobs in Tamil cinema. Starting off quite late(the 90s), I picked Karthik(in/after Mouna Raagam), Arvind Swamy and Abbas as the members of the short list. Since its been awhile since Alaipayuthey and Maddy arrived, I thought the piece could use an update but it wasn't that straightforward.

I don't think any of the actors since Maddy have created the kind of rage that those actors did on their debuts. Sure there were a few actors who generated some buzz before their movies released and a few others who were launched quietly but got noticed after their movies came out. There was Shaam, who got to act with the two leading ladies of the time in his very first movie 12B. There was Arya, who stole the limelight with his casual performance in Arindhum Ariyaamalum. There was Sidharth who was sincere as he stole Genelia's heart in Boys. There was Vishal who was introduced as the next big thing in Chellamey. There was Karthi who surprised us with his mature performance in Paruthi Veeran. There was Vinay who director Jeeva promised, would be the next heartthrob after Unnaale Unnaale. And most recently, there was Nakul, who underwent a drastic transition to play a disturbed hero in Kaadhalil Vizhundhen.

There are atleast 2 things common to the heroes who became heartthrobs. They appeared in films in an urban setting and they played cute, playful and decent characters. Some of the aforementioned actors didn't ascend to heartthrob status because they didn't follow these 2 rules. Karthi appeared in a rustic role while Sidharth lost out because of the shades of perversion in his character. Nakul's role, on the other hand, was simply too dark and tragic. Shaam and Arya(the former much more than the latter) had only their choice of films to blame as they starred in critical and commercial duds. Vishal is no longer even in contention, what with his focus on becoming the next action hero while Vinay hasn't generated much enthusiasm though both movies so far have been hits.

One trend in Tamil movies so far is that the overnight heartthrobs fade out soon after their 15 minutes of fame (this is different from Bollywood where actors like SRK, Aamir and Salman debuted as heartthrobs and are still reigning stars there). Actors like Arvind Swamy and Abbas are posterboys for this. But other actors with comparatively lower-profile debuts go on to become heartthrobs and have a much longer run. Like, for instance, Ajith. He debuted with Amaravathy but it wasn't until movies like Kaadhal Mannan, Vaali and Kaadhal Koattai that he became a heartthrob. Same is the case of the actor who, I think, carries the title of heartthrob today - Surya. Overshadowed by Vijay in his debut film Nerukku Ner and being known as a low-profile hero with weak dancing skills in his next few movies, he has been making girls go ga-ga over him in his last few movies. And the loud cheers and screams from the fairer sex during Vaaranam Aayiram - and closer to home, the oohs and aahs from the wife and her cousin during an interview telecast on Vijay TV - confirmed that he is Tamil cinema's latest heartbreaker. Let's see how long he holds on to that crown...

19 Comments:

At 12:24 AM, Blogger Bart said...

Some more thots :)
Failed heartthrobs..
a) Chiyaan as "Remo" in Anniyan
b) Bharath in "Nepali"

Chimpu did an anti-heartthrob in Manmadhan and continued in Vallavan.

Prasanna could be featured in the list though he has nothing big in his resume yet. Also Prithviraj, perhaps..
But yes, none yet after Ajith, Surya and Maddy. Vinay has the requisites though :) Also maybe we should watchout for Shakthi ("Magesh, Saranya matrum palar" and "Thottal poo malarum")

 
At 4:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

lol..had to laugh at the inclusion of Abbas!...agree with Bart that Prithviraj is one for the list...Surya will keep the mantle for a while because he's a class actor...Maddy/Ajith too...enough with the so called 'heartthrobs'...how about one for 'hotties' next?

 
At 6:49 AM, Blogger SUBBIAH said...

good movie thots..thanx...write more ..

 
At 8:04 AM, Anonymous ram said...

"indha overnight stardom-ngaradhu oru cage maadhiri...jaagarthaiya irukanum..."
- kamal hassan in parthale paravasam

i feel that these 'heartthrobs' when they're not backed by real talent (suriya's talent vs. abbas' lack thereof) will just fade away after a while...or they just fall into an image trap where they play the same kind of roles over and over and anything else they try is unsuccessful (aravind swamy, when he tried to move away from the suave, urbane types to act in movies like thaalaatu and pudhaiyal)
but suriya is a fantastic actor...extremely versatile and hardworking...so, he will survive all these vinays and aryas...

 
At 9:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bart,PLEEEEEEZ DO NOT include Simbu,Bharath and the likes of them in this list...I just cant stand it...Come on, heart throb and these guys, you must be thinking something else when you commented on this post.

anon

 
At 9:30 AM, Anonymous sujatha said...

Surya belongs to a different league. Abbas, Arvind Swamy, Siddhu, Bharath etc are all just that etcs..

The word heartthrob best describes Maddy as you rightly said, and after that to Karthi - you shouldve been here to see the euphoria in cities when the film was screened. That boy's smile does it all! His debut is simply one for the road!

 
At 10:11 AM, Blogger MLC said...

righty said abt surya!! wished he had more ht though... but makes many hearts (includng mine:-D) fluttr, nvrtheless!!

 
At 2:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vishal can never become a heartthrob. It's a Zany thought for him and his Family ...GK productions if he has such ambitions. Enna Kodumai Sir idhu?
I Laughed out Loud when i read his name in this Post. Thavirthirukalam even for referential purposes :-)
Agree with you on Surya.

 
At 3:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even Vijay was considered heartthrob for a few years in the late 90s, before he moved to action.

Yes, Vishal took part in that for a brief period. Handsome face(when sans moustache) plus admirable physique had the girls drooling for him. But don't think he can get that back. His looks were bad in Sathyam.

Surya leads the pack in the last few years. I would say, starting right after Khakka Khakka, or even Mounam Pesiyadhey...besides, he is one actor who worked extrememly hard to be where he is, I don't know if he had the natural acting talent like some actors(Maheshbabu in Telugu).

Are there no B/C heartthrobs? I think that depends on the era. In the past, the likes of Karthik and all did village-based films, and definitely there was a craze for them.

Madhavan's craze peaked in Alaipayudhey, stayed till Minnale, and has been fading since then, IMHO.

-kajan

 
At 10:37 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

bart, prithviraj definitely needs to be on the list. not sure how i missed him. he's probably the only who became a heartthrob inspite of playing the villain! hasn't become a craze but I do know a few gals who swoon at the mere mention of his name :)

anon, i remember the news items about the craze for abbas when 'kaadhal desam' came out. but sure seems surprising now :)

ram, yeah I think the talent what u mention is what helped the hindi stars I mentioned go from merely being heartthrobs to bonafide stars. and same seems to be happening in hrithik's case too :)

anon, i think those guys thought they were heartthrobs in the movies bart mentioned :)

sujatha, so karthi did set some hearts aflutter I see :)

MLC, that ht comment was exactly what those who saw him in the theater here a couple of wks ago said :)

anon, i remember a press conference before 'chellamey' released where they talked about vishal becoming a heartthrob because of his role in the film. hence his mention :)

kajan, when karthik and others did village-based films, they were already established but they earned their heartthrob status in films in an urban setting. thats what i was talking about. maybe its cos the opinions of city gals are heard louder but the actors who became heartthrobs all got the name in city-based films :)

 
At 12:09 AM, Anonymous vijay said...

The funny thing is 8 years back no one in their wildest dreams would have thought of Surya a s a hearthrob, which is rarely the case with hearthrobs. Because most of them become hearthrobs in their debut overnight. Surya, I remember was terrible in the late 90s. In my opinion, Surya had a sort of makeover in Aayidha ezhuthu with a mushless face and a distinctly urban sort of personality and since then he has stuck with that look/personality in urban films. (Earlier in Nayagan Kamal had the same look without the mush which was quite popular at that time, although Kamal had gained heartthrob status much before Nayagan) Considering that Madhavan and Karthik, who are mentioned here, also gained hearthrob status in Mani's films maybe Mani deserves some credit too :-) I think Mani likes his heroes to possess the good looks and charm that appeals to an urban crowd.

 
At 5:48 AM, Anonymous Prin said...

The next heartthrob will be the new Siddharth guy from Anandha Tandavam =D

 
At 6:50 AM, Anonymous arun said...

Watch out for Ganesh in Abhiyum Naanum.

 
At 8:16 AM, Blogger ரவிஷா said...

I thought Surya had already become the heartthrob soon after Ghajini was released. May be you were not convinced then :)

 
At 8:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm, what defines a hearthrob? The post seems to suggest looks as the barometer and nothing else?

 
At 7:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://sify.com/movies/imagegallery/galleryDetail.php?hcategory=13733818&hgallery=14813408

This is just to back-up Balaji's point. It has nothing to do with self-gratification :)

 
At 7:47 PM, Blogger Ram Pranavan said...

I am a fan of Maddy. Anonymous has said that his heartthrob status is fading... I say that is good.

He's one of the few actors who chooses different roles. Didn't he totally break the mold in Aayitha Ezhuthu?

 
At 10:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did I hear someone mention Mani's name? Is there a commonality in Mouna Ragam's Karthik, Roja's Arvind, Alaipayuthey's Maddy and Ayutha Ezhuthu's Surya, or am I just imagining it? :)
'course, I give the man a lot of credit for showing his male-leads the way he does! All these guys entered my 'hot' list only after seeing them from Mani's eyes :)

 
At 9:08 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

vijay/anon, mani certainly deserves a lot of credit. he is a master at creating these cute and playful yet sincere characters and he also casts good-looking guys in the roles :)

prin/arun, havent seen too many photos of sidharth and ganesh. will keep an eye out :)

ravi, yes 'ghajini' certainly helped. but i think asin stole the limelight in that :)

anon, as i said heartthrobs come from actors who play cute, playful and decent characters. looks certainly do play a big part though :)

anon, "nothing to do with self-gratification" - yeah right :)

ram, yes he definitely broke the mold in AE and is seen as a better actor because of it :)

 

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