Tamil cinema’s “man of the people” Vijay Sethupathi never plays a character. He becomes them
IIn a wildly discordant world where Bollywood is moving away from politics and Southern cinema is producing films that are almost never apolitical, nestles the recent Malayali film 19(1)(a). What stands out about the Disney+ Hotstar drama is its refusal to be strong on the issue of free speech. While the film’s contemplative vibe is a plus, its other plus is ‘Makkal Selvan’ actor Vijay Sethupathi.
The biggest and loudest voice, that of Sethupathi as rebel writer Gauri Shankar, is silenced by a bullet at the start of 19(1)(a). But the actor is a lot like the movie – he only speaks through his performances, and those induce everything from applause to anger and tears.
At 44, Vijay Sethupathi is a household name – dabbling in Tamil, Malayalam and Telugu films. He’s a chameleon in a movie industry where superstars stay rigid, hit super luxury (2019) at Thenmerku Paruvakatru (2011).
Read also : Rocketry to Rocket Boys – India has finally entered the era of science movies and series
Hero, villain and everything in between
What is common between VikramName (2022) and Vikram Veda (2018) apart from the similarity of names? Is it the fact that both are Tamil blockbusters? Or are they thrillers? Both films feature Vijay Sethupathi, director Seenu Ramasamy called ‘Makkal Selvan‘ or ‘man of the people’. And with that, he joined the league of Southern film industry actors who all have special names including Suriya, Vijay and Rajinikanth.
The moniker is fitting for the actor who has spent a considerable part of his life doing odd jobs for cash – a retail store clerk, fast food cashier and booth operator. telephone. Before becoming the actor he is today, Sethupathi was the proverbial “ordinary man”, looking for a job and love. He found both before getting into acting in 2006, when he was 28. As cliché as it sounds, the rest is history.
Dhanush, known for his impressive array of performances, once said of Sethupathi, “Wait and watch, he will become bigger than me.” That was back in 2013. Whether you agree or not, Sethupathi has gone from strength to strength ever since. Whether the almost devilish Bhavani in Master (2021), which manipulates juvenile inmates into taking responsibility for its criminal activities, to 19(1)(a)where he plays rebellious writer Gauri Shankar who would rather die than give up his freedom of expression, Sethupathi is a versatile genius.
As someone who has seen it in real life at an event, you probably won’t be able to recognize it as a Veda of Vikram Veda (2017). Sethgupathi doesn’t just play a character, he becomes one – the two are not separate from each other. From hair to mannerisms to body language, he is quite Veda as he is Bhavani or Gauri.
He’s played it all: hero, villain, sidekick, and “character-actor.” What makes Sethupathi a brand in itself is that it has created a niche. It can be anyone and everyone. He may be Manickam aka Shilpa, a transgender person in comedy super luxury (2019) or a car driver in Maamanithan (2022).
The actor who was initially paid Rs 100 for small roles in movies or shows now has a net worth of nearly Rs 110 crore.
Read also : WeCrashed, The Dropout, SuperPumped—3 OTT Series Show There Are Lots Of Scams In The Unicorn Game
Ordinary man, unconventional roles
A wonderful trait that Bollywood actors should learn from the Southern film industry is the art of not being the superstar. What often happens in superstar roles is that the actor becomes larger than life as the character they play, creating distance from the common man, who is the primary audience. This is precisely where the actors of the South impose themselves.
The quest to not be the hero makes Sethupathi the inevitable hero. It’s not that he can’t play the larger than life guy. In the 2016 movie Sethupathi, he plays a policeman whose swagger matches that of Salman Khan in the Dabangg franchise. In fact, the success of his film has left many wondering: Are the days of Sethupathi’s “quirky” films over?
You also have to define “offset”. What most of us understand to be offbeat is a Bollywood hangover of commercial cinema versus so-called “art” cinema. What the Southern film industry has always succeeded in doing is a fusion of the two without sacrificing either.
Sethupathi’s breakthrough year was 2012, when his three films…Pizza, Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom and Soodhu Kavvum were commercial and critical successes. While Pizza is a horror thriller, the other two are dark comedies. Each film is distinct from the other but Sethupathi displays his formidable prowess as an actor capable of meeting any challenge.
His screen presence eclipses even a formidable actor like Kamal Haasan in Vikram. His villainous roles are often better crafted than hero roles. While the vine is abuzz with rumors that Sethupathi could be part of Shah Rukh Khan’s next Jawan, he doesn’t really need a Bollywood movie for anything, except probably to teach everyone. world how it’s done.
(Edited by Srinjoy Dey)