My third favourite Indian actor was born as John Kennedy (yes, really) in April 1966 somewhere in Tamil Nadu.
Fast forward around forty years, to January 2006, when a fellow Finnish Bollywood (and Kollywood, Mollywood..) enthusiast popped a Tamil film DVD in her computer, and we watched what was the first 30-40 minutes of a certain film titled Dhool. That evening I took the DVD home, watched the rest and for the next week revelled in the glory of this movie. I rewatched the songs, the comedy sequences, I would even put the DVD on as background music for doing homework. But I've talked about that movie enough in this post, so back to Kenny!
See, to every thesis there is the anti-thesis. Allow me to elaborate.
Thesis: All South-Indian actors are old, fat and generally unattractive with hideous moustaches and nothing compared to the stunning looks of their Hindi film counterparts.
Anti-thesis: Vikram. Surya. Madhavan. Siddharth. [others I may not know; I'm not that versed in Tamil films yet!]
Synthesis: R-E-M-O Remo Remo...
But let's get down to business, because while the man provides me with some serious eye candy, I wouldn't have gone, "Hot damn!", had I just seen pictures of him. No, it was the performances, the screen presence that warmed me to him. In the choreographed fighting sequences of Tamil action masala films, I just completely bought into the ridiculously exaggerated, macho hero characters when it was Vikram playing it. And yet, as his expression softens, he's equally convincing as a romantic hero and when you place him next to Vivek's wise-cracking comedy track, he will just as easily punctuate the scenes with his comic timing.
Am I gushing? Yes. Will I stop? No, I'm only getting started.
Because besides the masala performances, such as Dhool, Arul, Saamy and Majaa, there are the 'different' roles. I've blogged about the Bala films before, but these things bear repeating: Sethu gave Vikram his nickname "Chiyaan", as well as his comeback break after failing miserably in the early 1990's - after seeing one of his first films, Meera (discussed here), I can safely say it's no wonder. Pithamagan of course won him the National Award.
And in a bizarre league of its own stands Anniyan (blogged here), where he plays not one or two, but three characters and pulls each off with no seeming trouble whatsoever.
And to those of you who might want to see Vikram in a film, but aren't sure if you're ready for truckloads of kickass which are pretty standard to Tamil films, there is King, a light family drama where Vikram stars opposite Sneha (the Queen of Smiles as she's known). Not the perfect movie, but definitely worth a watch and not violent at all.
What brought this post on, I should mention, is news that the next Mani Ratnam film will have two versions: Hindi with Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai, and Tamil with Vikram (!) and Aishwarya Rai. Fun fact: Vikram dubbed for Abbas in the Aishwarya-starrer Kandukondain Kandukondain and ever since seeing that film, I have been dying for Vikram-Aish properly on the same screen. Looks like I'm getting my wish, let's hope the outcome is good.
Vikram's next release, Kanthasamy, on the other hand, looks this delicious:
Considering th 8 minute teaser (?!) of it, this will be epic, and possibly horrific but I anticipate it anyhow.
For John Kennedy, anything.