Monday, May 19, 2008


Inspite of Rajni and Kamal being considered professional rivals for the better part of their careers, they have been extremely cordial off-screen and have never missed a chance to stress their friendship (its easy finding clues to their lack of rivalry in Rajni movies since he makes numerous references to Kamal. Chandramukhi, for instance, opened with a 'Thanks' to Padmasree Kamalhassan while Rajni referred to Kamal directly in movies like Muthu and Sivaji). Though our younger actors frequently refer to Rajni and Kamal as their role models, they did not follow their behavior off-screen and waged a proxy war on each other through their movies not too long ago. Vijay and Ajith routinely took digs at each other in their movies like Tirumalai and Attagaasam while even a younger actor like Simbhu taunted rival Dhanush with some not-so-subtle potshots in Manmadhan. Personal attacks onscreen cheer up an actor's hardcore fans since they frequently 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.

Thankfully, that phase seems to have ended. Vijay and Ajith have made appearances in functions together, as have Simbhu and Dhanush, and the veiled attacks at one another through movies has also stopped since I didn't notice any pointed dialogs in movies like Kuruvi, Billa, Azhagiya Thamizh Magan, Kireedam or the movies before that.

The enmity seems to have travelled North to Mumbai though and unlike the wars of words waged by our Tamil actors, the war in Bollywood seems a lot more mean-spirited since it is all personal. Recently, I've been reading a lot about some cheap, childish bickering among the top Bollywood stars. The earliest one I remember was a war of words between Amitabh and Aamir Khan, after the latter confessed to not liking the former's Black all that much. Amitabh took that personally and minced no words in his response, telling Aamir that the film probably went over his head. Lately, Amitabh has trained his guns on Shah Rukh, who succeeded him as host of Kaun Banega Crorepati, and questioned the low ratings for that show as well as for Shah Rukh's latest gameshow, Paanchvi Paas.

Lately, blogging seems to be the latest fad for the stars and they've turned their blogs into places to rant. The latest controversy had Aamir write about "Shahrukh licking his feet and being fed biscuits" before he revealed that it was his dog that was named Shahrukh. He did have an explanation about the dog belonging to his house's previous owners and being named by them but the order of the lines left us in no doubt as to his mischievous intent. Amitabh, for his part, drafted an open letter to critic Khalid Mohammad, who had an unflattering review of Amitabh's latest film Bhoothnath as well as the actor's performance in it, and stooped to pretty low levels as he criticized Khalid's track record and made fun of his name.

Though the quality of our movies has a taken a precipitous dip and lags behind the quality of Hindi films, Tamil cinema and its actors seem to better off than their Bollywood counterparts as far as civility and decency amongst our actors goes. Guess we can look at that as the silver lining...


At 11:58 PM, Blogger Ramya said...

Hi Balaji,Sorry am not here to write on this post of urs..
I have sum questions.. do u watch movies to write reviews / write whatver stays in ur mind after watching the movie.. do u watch movies even if u dont like the hero/heroine..

oflate i watch vry less movies(new movies, esp)..

i liked kuruvi's thaanaey thana naaney fusion song when i heard it a no. of times in radio.. waited to watch the video.. but they hv spoilt the song.. i hated the video.. i hate trisha so much...

At 1:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ladaai na enna artham?


At 2:12 AM, Blogger Ramkumar R. Aiyengar said...

Reminds me of this backlash after Vikram was enraged by Sudhish's review.

Looks to me that perhaps both the sides have their faults, but the bickering doesn't take us anywhere for sure!

At 2:53 AM, Blogger D.E.V said...

What Amir Khan did was really not really nice. I never saw the joke and my respect for the actor had slowly decreased.i admired his guts for being vocal bout the Narmada issue before but this has gone bit too far...

Despita Amitabh and Amir targeting shahrukh, the latter has still remained quite and non controversial. he knows better than to indulge in this childish games

At 3:50 AM, Blogger Rajesh Thiagarajan said...

In the past, Vijay-Ajith or Simbhu-Dhanush have engaged themselves via some questionable dialogs in their movies. Back then most of their movies were flops. Perhaps thats when they realized that there is no point doing all these and started thinking more about their movies. Some of their recent movies, probably as a result, have been decent hits (forget Simbhu here).

On the other side, Amithab, SRK, and Aamir Khan have had decent hits recently. This may be the case of them comprehending their successes in ways that hurt others. Or, they were quiet when they were doing badly.

Our guys were in full form when they were doing badly whereas the Bollywood group seem to have done things the other way round.

Now I pray for good tamil movies that satisfy me and keep our actors out from enganging in good-for-nothing war of words.


At 6:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Balaji,

I am a regular reader of your blog. In Kuruvi dont you think the car race and dailougues after it are aimed to take a cheap shot against Ajith by Vijay??


At 7:17 AM, Blogger Vijay Kumar said...

At the very least, the Hindi actors are offering interesting sound bytes to the press. Maybe, their adsense revenue demands such provocative statements in their blogs.:)
Such bickering have become common place in the cricket field too. You can put all this down to too much exposure.

At 8:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it might be a little naive to assume that it is only the Hindi stars that have ego issues and all the Tamil stars are free of egos, civil and cool. As that link about SudishKamath-Vikram shows it is not quite that way. Maybe they havent openly resorted to blog wars yet but over the years there have been quite afew incidents where artists have taken potshots at each other.
Since the Hindi films and their stars get national coverage and the scrutiny is more even small issues can sometimes get magnified and sensationalized.
Film stars are film stars, North or South. A lot of them are insecure, sensitive and sometimes downright petty, even embarassing their fans.
But at the same time you also have to appreciate the fact that for all their problems,Hindi films feature the most multi-starrer films consistently where stars bury their egos to work with each other.

At 8:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually that Sudish Kamath-Vikram episode clearly indicates what I have suspected all along. Guys like Vikram who act cool in interviews on TV and indiaglitz, are just putting on a facade most of the time. People see that and think he is cool and humble and all that. Reality is otherwise. No one likes criticism. Especially if a journalist whose job is to criticize gets such a treatment, imagine what would happen if the criticism had come from another star :-) Vikram thinks that just because he agrees to give interview to a magazine, that magazine should write only good things about his films, even films as sucky as Bheema

At 8:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And finally, I also would like an artist to be who he is, even if that means he is defensive about his work. Why act like you are humble when in reality you cant take criticism? There is a clear differenc between projected humility(what you portray as tourself to the media) and genuine humility. Gautam Memon speaks his mind out all the time not caring for any repurcussions. So he might not get to work with Vikram for a while, big deal. As long as he doesnt get personal if someone comes back and criticizes his films I am fine with his criticism of other artists. This industry needs more such critiques. There is too much back scratching going on at times in all these 100 naaL vizhas and other functions. Most of it seems put on.

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

Hmmmm....nice post!

Though Ajith and Vijay's have always been a bit of friendly banter, the Dhanush/Simbu controversy has been far more critical.

Another actor, who has made remarks about others without facing much criticism to himself is Prakash Raj. His remarks in Velli Thirai, criticizing Bharath/Jayam Ravi for their titles and calling Maddy, 'a Bollywood wannabe' is not what we'd expect from himself.

And on a better note, nice to see tha numbe rof multi-starrers increasing :) A post on that maybe?

At 10:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I watched the Amitabh movie (Bhootnath) that was criticized by Khalid Mohd..I must say that the movie was pretty bad, but Amuitabh did a pretty decent job in the wishy washy film.

But Khalid kind of singled out Amitabh in his review and made comments like Amitabh should go to acting school etc which was in bad taste, because its the director who shudve gotten flak and infact amitabh was the only saving grace in the painfully lame film. So I think Khalid deserved the lash back by Bachan. However I didnt like the statementwhere Amitabh refers to the "expensive" wine that he pours for Khalid whenevr Khalid visit Jaya and Amitabh. That was plain cheap.

The whole SRK-AB comparison ratings analysis that AB put up on the blog was also in bad taste.

At 11:24 AM, Blogger mitr_bayarea said...


Is this fighting time or what? Am making this remark with reference to not only the stars, but in general.

At 6:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, Sivaji contains a scene when Vivek critise bad punchlines given by Tamil actors, particularly by "little superstars"...Simbhu anyone????

At 11:09 PM, Blogger Arun Annamalai said...

I really don't understand why reacting to a person in a similar tone (that too at a lesser degree) should be looked upon as cheap or less dignified and maintaining silence is a highly dignified thing. If you take that approach with a kid i understand but not with grown up mature adults who have the highest civil responsibility as a media person. Gandhi and Subash Chandra Bose are equally dignified even if they followed different ideals. The problem is media has no law governing them and telling an actor like Amitabh to go to acting school is plain ridiculous. You say that at a tea party, it is fine as a single person's opinion but not on a public platform.

At 1:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who ever said film stars are required to be humble and moral upholders of society? The play roles for monetary gains, crave attention for a fan base, seek commercial gains from advertisements, make public appearances at politically apt occasions etc etc. Look at Hollywood stars - there are all sorts of eccentrics, theatrics, media grabbing antics to stay relevant. Very notable few just simply stay away from the limelight.... shunning the mayhem of the media.

If film stars are expected to play the humble bumble bee ... they will just do that - play the role of a humble bumble bee...!

At 8:30 AM, Blogger Ven Sharma said...

The press has got a lot to do with it as well.
AK has come up with a gem in the movie 'Tare Zameen Par'. A neat well made movie with a solid message to parents.
Also, AK and his family were at Bachans residence when someone very close to Amitji passed away recently.
AK has a healthy regard for both Shah Rukh and Amitji.
Ven Sharma
Ashburn, VA

At 11:27 AM, Blogger Maverick said...

Did you check out ARR's latest 'Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na' songs. Aamir Khan is launching his nephew Imran Khan in this movie and we have a song 'Pappu can't dance' in the movie thats supposed to be a parody on Salman Khan. Check out the song and the lyrics :)

At 10:34 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

ramya, i watch movies cos I like movies. i write reviews cos I like writing. and yeah, i do watch movies even if I'm not particularly fond of the hero and heroine :)

RS, I think - or rather, I hope - it means fight :)

ramkumar, its pretty childish if thats how vikram responded to a review of his movie :)

skanda, i too didn't think what aamir did was right. but he has apologized today. u're right about shahrukh though. he has responded in the right way and defused the situation :)

rajesh, thats an interesting way of looking at it. if thats the case then lets hope their movies continue to be hits :)

arvind, no i didn't think so :)

vijaykumar, u might have a point there. all this ranting's giving them publicity and more hits for their blog :)

vijay, no i didnt say our actors are all free of egos. just that there's been a change in their behavior recently. maybe its just superficial and they're just putting on act. but i think that's better than taking cheap shots and riling up their fans.

agree with u on gautam menon. he's been really speaking his mind. but that's different from what i was talking about here. the post was just about cheap shots at other actors and not about being open or frank :)

prin, thanx! and multistarrers are increasing? Ironically, i was thinking about a post on the lack of multistarrers compared to other languages :)

shwetha, i didn't read the review but got the gist from many places. looks like khalid had an axe to grind with amitabh. but as i said, i was surprised not by amitabh's backlash but the levels to which he stooped :)

mitr, know exactly what u're talking about :)

anon, i don't think he specified "superstars" anywhere. that would've been too direct :)

arun, i didn't say someone should remain silent. just that a dignified response would be so much better than a cheap response like what amitabh gave. so people saw only the cheapness and not the point he was trying to make :)

anon, well said :)

ven, i'm sure thats usually true. but in this case, these r blog penned by the actors themselves. so not sure the press played a big part in this except for publicizing it :)

maverick, haven't heard that. will try to listen to the song and get someone to translate it for me :)

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