At a time when movie buffs are being inebriated with the ecstasy of Ajith’s golden jubilee film Mankatha, one cannot but start thinking of the brave move of the handsome star for it needs real gumption to choose a role for his landmark film that defies all the templates that have been created hitherto in the Tamil (or may be Indian) film industry for heroes.
All along, whenever we had heroes doing an antagonist’s role, there were a few rules that were strictly adhered to. Primarily, the hero portraying the anti-hero material would surely have been affected with a serious psychological disorder, may be in younger years, which would be responsible for the indelible effect on his psyche and he would need help and attention to combat this aberration. A good example would be Kamal in Sigappu Rojakkal. A compelling reason for the non-valorous behavior indeed! But for this anomaly, the hero would be an epitome of all things good!
Secondly when the hero swindles money from the ‘have’s, it is only to distribute to the ‘have not’s for flooding them with healthcare, education and other humanely services to ensure that the hero is always immaculately blemish free because he is a HERO! And his Robinhood act is only to protect and save his fellow brethren in need. And till he breathes his last, his being is only for his compatriots. Gentleman Arjun is a perfect example whose actions need only eulogizing and nothing less than that!
Thirdly if the hero had to do all the antonym acts, then there would be an over build up of his character wherein he would be portrayed as a machismo who would rip apart all the baddies of the world with just a twitch in his biceps that would race to his knuckles in the blink of a well curled ‘mascara’ed eyelash and we have umpteen movies as testimony to this.
Quite refreshingly and much to the jubilance of filmphiles, none of the aforementioned features are not even remotely being expressed in the character of Vinayak Mahadev of Mankatha, scripted by Venkat Prabhu.
To put it simply, Vinayak Mahadev is someone who loves MONEY MONEY and MONEY. Nothing else! Nothing else can deter him in this pursuit, not even the gorgeous Trisha! The psyche of Vinayak Mahadev has not been landscaped into all things beautiful and virtuous and he stands before you in all his purity (!). This is a case of simple and straightforward portrayal, no distractions anywhere. This man wants money. And would do anything to get it. And we all know the world abounds in such characters and hence much relatable too!
Completely uncaring about something called image, Ajith unabashedly boozes, smokes, canoodles, lies to his lady love, sports a salt and pepper look with a slight paunch, mouths expletives with venom and he does all this sans a slightest iota of remorse because that is his way of life (on screen).
Ajith’s performance in Mankatha leads to a surmise that the potential of such an explosive actor had been royally squandered by directors (there could be few exceptions) in the past who had nothing else to show of him but slow motion shots of the debonair actor walking up and down in immaculate suits and designer shades. And, mind you, there were lots of people who doubted his dialogue delivering abilities but Mankatha proves them all wrong.
And now with Mankatha, it is evident that Ajith has completely come out of his old garb and has shown absolutely no trepidations to essay such a Kafkaesque portrayal despite the film being a milestone in his two decade long career in the world of gloss and glory.
Cut to the real life, Ajith has come across as someone who is honest and forthright, qualities that are quite rare in the world that we inhabit. He is famous for his politically incorrect statements and is known to speak his mind courageously without any embellishments whatsoever. We have seen him stand up for his principles during a felicitation meet of the former CM seeking his help to artists who did not want to be dragged into such events. In an industry which thrives on fan clubs and fans, he was gutsy enough to disband them overnight, an act which is simply unfathomable in a normal context.
Therefore it certainly does not come as a surprise that Ajith chose to do Vinayak Mahadev of Mankatha without vacillation because it is after all a character that he is playing and he did not mind about the ‘heroic’ image. To quote his stance from the film, “Naan evvaLuvu naaL daan nallavana nadikkaradu”. He just wanted to do a role that was different and exciting. And looking at the film, anybody would see that Ajith has had a field day playing Vinayak Mahadev. A job well-done Ajith!
On a signing off note; if all our heroes shred their so called image to take on such roles and entertain, movie buffs would do a rambunctious jig and would simply say MANKATHA da!
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