Needless to say, you are truly a magnificent star and one of the biggest assets to the Tamil film industry at the moment. Your charm, dedication and screen presence backed by immense talent and passion have undoubtedly paved the way to superstardom and it will only take you to more places. Although it is my teenage son who is your biggest fan in the family, I have been following your movies for a very long time. I have loved your work right from Kadhal Kottai, Aasai, Vaali, Amarkalam, Dheena to the present days of Billa (Part 1).
In the recent past, I have had an issue with a couple of your films.
Firstly, let's take the case of Mankatha. This was touted as a landmark film, being your 50th, directed by a very talented Venkat Prabhu. You played the role of a character that wants only one thing - money. He would do absolutely anything to achieve his goals. I caught it only on its second weekend, and even so, there were enough cheers to turn it into a celebration. As always, it was greatly satisfying to see you on the big screen. But as the movie progressed, I started worrying about certain actions of your character. My concern grew larger when the audiences were applauding everything you did, irrespective of its morality.
After the movie finished, I was left with mixed feelings as I admire you as an actor & star, but I was wondering if what I watched was good for cinema as a whole. Especially, watching it with my son and seeing him cheer all the way and loving every gesture of yours, I was wondering if it is indeed a good influence. But I felt I should not criticize it harshly as it was your 50th, and it was a celebration of your stardom. Therefore, I didn't write this article back then.
Again, recently, I watched Billa 2 with my son, who was over the clouds on bagging back row internet tickets for a weekend show. Again, my son was cheering at every punchline and unfortunately, every murder you committed. The movie went on as I waited for some hint of redemption or consequence, but I was disappointed. This time, I did not leave with mixed feelings, for I was completely sure of my feelings towards the film - pity & fear.
My dearest Ajith, as Uncle Ben once told the young Peter Parker, "with great power comes great responsibility". At this time, it maybe a cliché, but it is a fact and a great one at that!
I'm not asking you to be like the great MGR, as he may be a bit out of fashion these days, but I say this because you do have the mass appeal and the reach that he once had. His movies always showed a good way and the victory of good over evil. If you don't show the consequence of the actions of a character, then the reaction will take place in the mind of your audience. They will start believing that this is indeed the way to achieve whatever you want. I'm not asking you to portray only good characters; I encourage you to experiment as you please, but please show the consequence. Take Vaali for instance. The negative character you portrayed was so cunning and it was lapped up by the audience including myself, but the most important aspect in that film was to see his death.
Opening any newspaper will tell you the number of murders, suicides and other crimes that already exist. Movies will always affect the psyche of the people in subtle or large ways. As a famous man once said, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. It has been proven that kids who get too involved with the internet or video games eventually suffer from regression, aggression and depression. Everything we see affects us. You don't want young kids who worship you to run around with toy guns and shooting each other and feeling that it's okay to do it.
I know for a fact that you are one of the most sincere and genuine human beings in the industry today. And that's exactly why I tell you this with all my heart - please choose scripts more wisely.
There are many international films where crime is glamorized but most of them show redemption or show how eventually, the truth prevails. Also, we have to remember that The Godfather, Scarface, Goodfellas or Ocean's Eleven are all playing to areas with a much higher literacy rate. This is a country of hero worship. Every action of our stars is imitated by the fans.
My doubts started when I saw the trailer for Billa (Part 1) where you said "History has proven that for us to live, it is okay to kill how many ever people." I let that one go by because the film did eventually show the triumph of the innocent. But the recent films have really broken my heart.
Please don't worry about entertaining your fans; just your presence in a good script with stylized visuals is all we want.
From now on, I request you to not only try and please your fans, but also their parents.