theaters, Avan Ivan. Challenged more than ever before,
perhaps more than the sum total of all the challenges
that he had faced before, Vishal found the ace performer
within him. It is amazing to see that despite being
a multi-lingual how much of the spotlight has been
focused on the performance of Vishal. It is not as
if Arya was bad, but just that the challenge offered
to Vishal was so great that Arya’s effort looked
fairly simple in comparison. And, for that we also
have to really applaud the magnanimity of Arya for
agreeing to work on a script which so unanimously
gives the scope and thunder to the other character.
Arya is in the exponential of his career, having delivered
big hits last year and no one would have faulted him
if he had wanted a bit more of the spotlight than
was offered to him. But, he has shown great character,
team spirit and understanding of cinema by allowing
the script and director to dictate terms.
Coming back to Vishal; who is now basking in the glory
and (we are quite sure) new found self-belief about
his own boundaries and abilities; it has been quite
a wait for the right moment to come by. An actor who
was till now accused and labeled of not being very
flexible, one dimension and action oriented, Avan
Ivan was a ladder to prove to others and unto himself
that there is more to Vishal than just action. And,
one cannot help but feel awed by the vision of Bala
to take an actor who had such little diversity to
show off in his repertoire and present him with a
character that would have challenged the best in the
business. He did the same to Arya in Naan Kadavul.
He has repeatedly shown the habit and ability to take
fairly untested talent stretch their limits. Bala
should officially be crowned Tamil cinema’s
lead talent management officer.
And, going on to the more interesting point of effeminate
characters. They are not huge in number, but the few
of them that we have seen over the past have remain
etched in our memory, just like Vishal’s portrayal
will remain in our minds for long. How can we forget
the way Ajith shot back into top form with his performance
in Varalaaru? After becoming a mass hero and moving
on to doing films that were primarily aimed at pleasing
his fans, no one expected him to take up such a challenge.
But, Varalaaru proved that there was more to Ajith
than just the ‘Thala’ factor. Unfortunately,
he has not received too many roles that have explored
his acting potentials since then.
One also vividly remembers the quite menacing portrayal
of Prakash Raj in Appu. What is it about the Vasanth-
Prakash Raj combination that brought out the most
chilling negative roles that we have known over the
past decade and a half (remember Aasai)? Or, there
is also Dileep’s delightful portrayal in Chanthupottu
(Malayalam) which had a very humorous streak.
And, there are also many instances where actors have
chosen to go all out and appear on screen as women
itself. The challenge that it offers an actor is evident
from the number of times Kamal Haasan has taken this
up – Avvai Shanmughi and Dasavatharam. We also
cannot forget Vikram’s fleeting appearance as
a woman in Kandhasaamy or similar appearances done
by many actors of our times, the list is very long.
Even Bollywood’s perfectionist Aamir Khan went
the feminine way in Baazi. We really don’t want
to look at the numerous comic characters that have
been distastefully (mostly) created around an effeminate
So is going feminine the ultimate challenge for an
actor? That is debatable. But, the number of top actors
who have taken this up certainly suggests that it
certainly ranks up there as one among the most challenging.
And, as of now, Vishal has set the benchmark in ‘effeminism’!