Monday, July 20, 2009

The most popular star of Kollywood – Who?

Who is the most popular actor in Kollywood? There is no obvious answer to this question. Fans of a star will vouch for their idol. But look quite closely and you will see that the answer is something different. It depends on how you define popularity. Popularity is not something that can be measured in absolute terms. It is not defined by the number of life size cut-outs that are seen in front of theaters, nor by the amount of money that is made at the box office, nor by how many days a film runs house full in theaters. These are facts and figures which are influenced greatly by many other factors than just a star’s popularity. That is why, Rajini’s proof of popularity is not the figures Sivaji generated at the box office, but the sheer impact that a ‘singam singla thaan varum’ punch dialogue generated in theaters and in the ears of millions of fans. Kamal Haasan’s popularity is not gauged by Dasavatharam’s over 60 billion gross, but the sheer mirth induced by Balram Naidu. Popularity is the longevity of an artiste’s work in the minds of people and the way it is embraced by the audience. If that is the real barometer for popularity then it can be quite emphatically said that the most popular actor in Kollywood these days is none other than Vaigai Puyal Vadivelu. If you think this is a joke, then think again. Vadivelu might be all about jokes, antics, pranks and laughter, but his position as the most popular actor in Kollywood is pretty serious.

There are around 10 prominent Tamil channels on air round the clock. It is undeniable that one can’t surf through all these channels at any time of the day or night without seeing Vadivelu’s face and listening to one funny dialogue of his. You can try it if you want and you will find that at least 9 out of 10 times, this is true. Vadivelu is omnipresent on TV. It is also true that he is one of the busiest actors in Kollywood, doing a huge number of films; the one whose call sheets are most sought-after. If you don’t watch TV, you still can’t escape the Vadivelu frenzy that has gripped Tamil Nadu at the moment. Each one of his punch lines is a huge craze amongst the people. People are finding new ways and occasions to opportunely use one of his dialogues for a funny moment. The ‘Varoom aana Varaadhu’ line from Thottal Poo Malarum might count as one of the most popular. Though not mouthed by Vadivelu in the movie, it is his presence that got the scene noticed. The word ‘risk’ whenever mentioned nowadays is always accompanied by ‘risk edukkarathellam engalukku rusk sappudurathu mathiri’ quip. Of course, there are the all time favorites from Winner like ‘Adhu pona masam, naan solrathu indha maasam’. College students seem to have a special liking to the ‘naan appadiye shooock aayitten’ line which they use every time they narrate an out-of-the-ordinary incident. There cannot be anyone who has not yet heard the ‘Kelambittanyaa, Kelambittanyaa’ or the Vandhuttanyaa, Vandhuttanyaa’ catchphrase from someone. The list of liners by Vadivelu that have found their way into the everyday lives of the common man are huge, like the ‘usuppethi usuppethiye, odamba ranakalam aakinttanga’. You may not speak them, you may not even like them, but there cannot be anyone who can honestly say that they can’t identify these lines as typical Vadivelu products.

The impact of the Vaigai Puyal lies in the fact that he has got not fans associations or clubs, everyone is his fan, and everyone loves to watch his scenes. That is why all major Tamil channels have resorted to telecasting comedy scenes for almost 2.5 hours every night. A rough estimate is that around 50% percent of the screen time is hogged by Vadivelu scenes, the rest being shared by Vivek, Karunas, Goundamani-Senthil and other comedians. After 9:30 pm, there is not a moment when Vadivelu is not on any one of the major channels. One might attribute it to the fact that a couple of fully dedicated comedy channels have opened over the past six months. But it is also undeniable that no one ever has monopolized the attention of an audience and small screen space to this extent.

Vadivelu also has no class barriers. He is not an A class performer at times and a front bench specialist at other times. His acts are liked across the board by just about everyone who watches Tamil cinema. It might not be wrong to say that he is the one truly all-popular star of Tamil cinema. Keep spreading the smiles.
tamil actors, tamil stars, top heros in tamil bollywood

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