begins to look artificial. Take for example the case
of Allu Arjun. He is definitely one of the biggest
young stars of Telugu. But, he has developed a deep
weakness for the most powerful weapon in his arsenal;
his dance. No doubt, his dancing skills are truly
awesome and his fans simply love it. But, in recent
times he has begun overdoing the dance routines so
much that they in fact hurt his movies rather than
help them; Badrinath is a very good example. A song
every 20 minutes, whether the script demands it or
not, definitely kills a movie and it is time Allu
Arjun realizes this and dances only when necessary.
But, Allu Arjun is not the first actor to fall into
this trap. Almost every actor, at some phase in his
career discovers that one thing he is good at and
is tempted to get into a comfort zone; like John Abraham
who seemed to be over obsessed with his biceps and
eight packs rather than facial expressions. It is
the versatile and shrewd actors who walk around this
trap and use their unique strong points in measured
doses to please their fans. Salman Khan once said
that he had no desire to know what his fans like about
him, because then, at least subconsciously, he would
begin to overdo it.
There were phases when we thought whether Vijay was
only about dance and action and whether Ajith was
all about designer coats, sunglasses and stylish walks.
These were phases when even these highly experienced
actors fell to the trap of overdoing the one thing
that their fans liked the most. But, true to their
status as experienced artistes, they have overcome
these afflictions in style. Ajith dashed all stereotypes
in Mankatha while Vijay melted out hearts with Kaavalan.
Usually, we see that actors go through such phases
in their careers only after becoming commercially
viable actors; i.e. after being acknowledged as big
stars in their own right. When actors are still young
and finding their appropriate place in the industry,
we seldom see them thus confused because they are
not saddled with the expectations of fans.
But, there are exceptions. This is when something
works particularly well for you very early in your
career. We can still remember that Jimmy Shergill
wanted to carry his cute boy looks as his USP for
almost the first 5 years of his career until he realized
that it was getting him nowhere. Similarly, now we
have Nandha who seems to have got too absorbed into
his cold, almost stone-like countenance to carry him
a distance in filmdom. It looks like something he
developed from Eeram. We liked it then, it suited
the character and it seemed to come naturally to him;
it worked. In Ananthapurathu Veedu, there were remnants
of the same, but since the focus was more on the small
boy and the spirits, it never got noticed. Now, in
the space of one month, we have two roles where Nandha
holds his breath, tightens his facial muscles, grits
his teeth, clamps his jaws and walks through entire
movies without letting that cold glare slip even for
a second. It does look good on him, but there can
be too much of a good thing.
It has not been noticed so profoundly before because
Nandha has never had releases stacked so close together.
Now, with two releases in the space of a month, it
sticks out like a sore thumb. The fact is that in
Vandhaan Vendraan and Vellore Mavattam, he plays diametrically
opposite characters; that of an underworld don and
a police officer respectively. Yet, one can hardly
detect any variation is his performance, except for
the police uniform that he wears in Vellore Mavattam.
It is the same uptight and cold expression in both
places. Surely, an actor who successfully portrayed
the cunning young man in Mounam Pesiyadhe is capable
of delineating between characters that are as different
as chalk and cheese.
Obviously, someone told Nandha that the stiff and
strict look suits him well. That was right. But, now
someone needs to tell him that he needs to use his
USP in moderation and that too at the right places.
Otherwise, it will not be long before audiences start
returning that cold stare; and it won’t be comfortable.