Monday, June 02, 2008

Jodi Porutham

Sify last week had a slideshow on Kamal's heroines over the years. This was one of those things that gave us no new information and was put together by Sify probably because it was a slow news day(with Dasaavathaaram again getting postponed - this time to June 13 - and other movies holding off to avoid clashing with the behemoth, we can probably expect more of these in the coming days). But it did give rise to a few nostalgic moments as it talked about some of Kamal's old movies and his legendary chemistry with his heroines. Sridevi was ofcourse listed first on the slideshow and with good reason. If ever a dictionary was compiled on Tamil cinema, we could just put a photo of Kamal and Sridevi next to the word 'chemistry' and be done with it. They made an evergreen pair. Good-looking and undeniably talented, the two romanced, fought, laughed and cried perfectly in sync. Even today, one just has to catch a few scenes in Guru, Vaazhve Maayam or Varumaiyin Niram Sivappu to understand what onscreen chemistry is all about.

Was thinking about more such pairs and realized such perfect pairs have been few and far between in Tamil cinema. Our stars have cut down on the number of movies they do and that naturally restricts the number of movies in which the same hero and heroine can be paired up with each other. And in our notoriously hero-centric industry, the selection of the heroine depends on the whims of the hero. With our heroes being superstitious(causing them to reject a heroine they were paired with in a flop) and insecure(which keeps them always on the lookout for the next PYT), it takes a lot for one heroine to be repeatedly cast with the same hero. And considering the heroine's miniscule role in most of our heroes' movies, the roles - and by extension, the actresses playing them - are indistinguishable from one other and create no special relationship with the heroes. So its no wonder that we haven't had any real long-lasting screen jodis for a while now.

After Kamal and Sridevi, I think we'd have to move quite a ways forward to find the next well-matched jodi in Tamil cinema. I think Karthik and Revathi fit the bill quite nicely. His enthusiasm and high energy worked well with her cuteness and confidence. Apart from being part of one of the best romances of all-time in Mouna Raagam, they also managed to infuse energy into duds like Idhaya Thaamarai and exhibited good chemisty in out-of-the-ordinary romances like Kizhakku Vaasal too.

After them, we'll have to fast-forward to the late 90s to hit upon the next great jodi in Surya and Jyothika. The boy-next-door Surya and the always-bubbly Jo looked perfectly matched on screen in all their outings right from Poovellaam Kaettuppaar though Kaakka Kaakka was probably the film that caused people to sit up and take notice of them as a great screen pair. Ofcourse, this jodi went on to become a jodi in real life too, making them quite the perfect pair.

Among current pairs, the Vijay-Trisha pairing looks like one that could go the distance. They have already done 4 movies together; they are both well-ensconced in their positions near or at the top of the heap; and they both have a few years left in Kollywood. They look good together and though neither of them has displayed any particular acting talent - and doesn't seem inclined to do so in the near future either - that hasn't stopped them from reaching the top so far. Among the stars of the next generation, I'm rooting for Arya and Pooja. He is already a pin-up boy while she looks pretty and seems to have overcome the flop jinx. They looked perfectly matched in both movies(Pattiyal and Oram Po) they've done so far and have a biggie coming up in Naan Kadavul, which, going by Bala's track record, should showcase the actors in both of them.

Here's to the next reel jodi of Tamil cinema...


At 12:48 AM, Blogger Rajesh Thiagarajan said...

To some extent Prabhu and Kushboo pair also had good chemistry.

I agree with you Arya and Pooja. I liked the casual dialogs between them in Oram Po (the whole movie was also very enjoyable).


At 2:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't forget Arya and Pooja were also paired together in Ullam Ketkume, although they never quite got it together in the movie. They have definitely come a long way. I do think that Pooja is more of a natural actress than Arya.

At 7:03 AM, Blogger B o o said...

So true. I could nt come up with one good jodi from the recent past. Hrithik and Ash sizzled in Jodha Akbar. I dont think any pair have had that kind of chemistry in kollywood recently. May be Madhavan and Shalini would ve had that if only they did more movies together after Alaipayuthey. Sigh!
Btw, was nt Pooja paired with Bharath in Pattiyal?

At 8:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

in hindi the pair of SRK and kajol was magical. in tamil, vikram and jo were good for a while too.

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

We traditionally think of chemistry between a male and female at the risk of perhaps overlooking some great some great combinations such as Prakash Raj and Prithvi Raj in Mozhi? Their chemistry made it easy to believe in their easy going humorous friendship. A couple of guys who seemed real enough to live in your own apartment building perhaps.. Another example off the top of my head - Karthik and Prabu in Agni Natchathiram? Their confrontational scenes were filled with tension and you believed they hated each other's guts!

I'm sure you have plenty to add this list! ;-)

At 8:49 AM, Blogger Balaji said...

rajesh, yes they were quite popular a while back and made a good roly-poly pair. came quite close to being a real jodi too, from what I remember :)

vishal, oh yeah, I missed that one. and I agree with u on pooja :)

boo, havent seen JA yet but heard the same from those who have.

and yeah, u're right. guess I liked Arya-Pooja as a jodi and forgot that they weren't a pair in 'pattiyal'! so only 'oram po'? darn :)

anon, yeah SRK-Kajol would've been first on the list if I'd written this on Hindi films.

vikram and jo? I couldn't much accept jo as a gramathu ponnu in 'dhool' and didn't like 'arul'. so didn't see them as much of a jodi I guess :)

priya, interesting take. I believe I did write about the chemistry betn prakashraj and prithviraj in my review of 'mozhi'. even among the movies I've written about here, arya and bharath in 'pattiyal' could fall under the chemistry u've mentioned I think. this could be a whole new post :)

At 9:30 AM, Blogger Srivatsan Sridharan said...


I agree Kamal-Sridevi shared a terrific on screen chemistry. Sridevi herself wanted her to be cast opposite to Rajini :) more often - I read in some interview.

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

Sneha with Srikanth or Shaam? Probably not, I am thinking.

At 10:47 AM, Blogger just mad said...

" ... and they both have a few years left in Kollywood ... "

If it had been 'a very few' instead of 'a few' I would have praised and blessed you like anything.

At 11:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My vote goes to Rajni-Sridevi...BB, how did you forget them? They were amazing in Dharmayudham,mundru mudichu etc.


At 2:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Vijay and Simran had better chemistry..both were good dancers as well.
Between Vijay and Trisha there was only quantity no quality.

Karthik and Kushboo - Varusham 16, Vikneswar, Kathitrukka Neramillai, Idhu Namma Bhumi.
This pair had better chemistry especially in V16

At 3:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice post...yes, I really do think that Kamal-Sridevi set the standard for how a lead pair should act+interact...they had both the acting chops and the looks...
if u notice in vaazhve maayam, kamal and sridevi were equally comfy in the initial kiddish tiffs as they were dancing playfully in the wonderful "devi...sri devi" song...
in moondram pirai, one of my fav. lighter moments is the scene where sri devi reading a basic english book says:
"C A M E L...Kamal"
"Adhu Kamal illa daa...Camel"
"Camel-la ena Chinu?"
"Ottagam theriyadha daa...indha paalaivanathula...oyaramaa...indha arabs elaam..." and then, convinced that he just cannot explain it, just stops by saying, "Ottagam..."
Sri Devi is so childlike in her reaction to that...semma scene adhu, that shows how comfortably that they could interact...

At 4:15 PM, Blogger Anu said...

Balaji.. totally agree with you on the arya -pooja jodi, but i think siddharth - genelia jodi in boys and then in the Telugu Bommarillu shouldnt be discounted !

At 7:40 PM, Blogger D.E.V said...

The onscreen chemistry between Kamal and Sri Devi was terrefic in "Meendum Kogila"..they really made a cute couple together...

Arya and pooja were together in "Ulam ketkumae" which were thier debuts...later on they were paired together in "oram poo" and "Nan kadavul"

At 10:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'am surprised why you didnt consider B&W movies. Am sure there have been many Jodis who paired too often and looked great onscreen too !

At 10:32 PM, Blogger Kay said...


A great Villian - Hero jodi " Nambiar and MGR".

A great Comedy - Hero jodi " Vivek and Madhavan" both in Run and Minnale!


At 6:42 AM, Blogger Munimma said...

I think Sivaji/Padmini and MGR/Saroja devi were considered well paired by the previous generation.

I loved Kamal/Sridevi and Rajini/Sripriya pairings.

I don't think any of today's young crop fall into a pairing.

At 7:47 AM, Blogger Ganesh said...

Also inlude Sathyaraj-Khusboo and Sathyaraj-Bhanupriya combo.They too worked pretty well.

At 9:00 AM, Blogger Balaji said...

srivatsan, i think sridevi has been rajni's heroine in the most # of movies too. just goes to show that the 80s was really her decade :)

anon, after seeing movies like YNRAI and 'inba'? don't think so :)

just mad, lol. but "a few years..." seems more likely :)

anon, yeah they had some good movies too. but came far behind kamal-sridevi IMO :)

kai, yeah. though simran wasn't the heroine in the movie the 'aal thotta bhoopathi' song is one where they showed great chemistry.

wasn't banupriya the heroine of 'vigneswar'? don't recall 'Kathitrukka Neramillai' or 'Idhu Namma Bhumi'. probably why i didn't think of karthik-kushboo when talking of chemistry :)

ram, welcome back. missed these recollections :)

anu, yeah sidharth-genelia made a fine pair. but neither of them seems to be showing up in too many tamil movies :)

skanda, thats 1 of my favs too.
and u missed 'pattiyal'. but so far they've been paired only in 'oram po' :)

prasad, just limited myself to pairs i've seen :)

kay, continuing priya's take on other kinds chemistry, I see :)

munimma, oh yeah sivaji-padmini(more than the other) is still considered the ultimate screen jodi by the prev generation :)

ganesh, when i talked of chemistry, good looks was 1 of the criteria too. Satyaraj appeared in a # of movies with those 2 actresses u mention(esp. banupriya) but satyaraj is not someone I think of when talking about chemistry. prabhu's a stretch but satyaraj's a definite no :)

At 9:31 AM, Blogger mitr_bayarea said...

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At 9:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In our unashamedly hero-centric movies, it is quite a feat to define chemistry between the male and female leads. Chemistry as in looking good as a pair? Or is it in compatible acting chops / histrionics? Or simply a winning combo that brings the crowd to the halls? Like burgers & fries...

At 12:04 AM, Blogger Bart said...

In vigneshwar, it was kushboo indeed.
Gaptan - Radhika pair was also famous for offscreen chemistry.
Probably Nagesh-Manorama; Gounder/Senthil with Sarala also deserve to be in the list :)

At 11:02 PM, Blogger Ganesh said...

Ennapa,Sathyaraj is not good looking ah?Compared to Vijaykant,Rajini,Murali,Mohan,he was indeed quite good looking.Also,I was a big fan of his films.(Not anymore,thanks to his C-grade films in the past 4-5 years and also his non-sense propaganda speeches made me think low of him offlate.)

At 11:02 PM, Blogger Ganesh said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

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At 3:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

how did they miss Revathy in that list? She's done at least three movies with Kamal and was probably one of his best matches in terms of acting ability......:S


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