The Indian movie industry is the biggest entertainment industry on the planet. Indian movies are made in different Indian languages – Hindi, Bollywood, Telugu, Tollywood, Malayalam, Mollywood, Kollywood, Tamil, etc.
Since majority of the Indian population in Malaysia is Tamil, Kollywood predominates the Indian entertainment scene here along with Bollywood and our own mannin mainthargal.
The main ingredient in most Indian films, particularly in Tamil films which is the focus in this article is heroism. There would be one main hero who will fight off 100 baddies single handed, talk punch dialogues like, “Oru thadave mudivu pannitena, en peche naane kekkamaaten,” or, “Panningge than kootama varum.. Singam, single ah than varum,” romance heroines in upbeat songs, item songs and kutthu songs and have some sentiment thrown in for good measure along with a separate track or intertwined comedy. These kinds of movies are dubbed as masala movies. Like how Indian food is infused with masala, fans of Indian cinema demand masala in movies too.
The mostly inclined to watch this heroism portrayed on the silver screen are youngsters, especially hot blooded Malaysian Indian adolescents and young adults. Lately, it seems to be a requirement for such movie going Indian guys and sometimes girls to call out like siamang in heat when the hero makes his flashy appearance on screen. Kaatu katthu kathuvaple..
Of course it is purely for entertainment purpose, an escapism from the frustrations from real life. But the problem starts when the distinction between real life and reel life gets blurred – when fans think what Rajinikanth and Vijay do on screen, they do in real life and taking things too far. This is true in India but this fad has reached the Tamil speaking community in Malaysia and is now pervading here.
If you listen to THR Raaga Aaha, Thenjipone Record Isai, you can hear this festering cacophony. The people behind this particular radio station don’t only play repeated songs, they further implant this heroism idolizing idea into the minds of gullible listeners, which once was India’s monopoly to Malaysia to up their ratings at the cost of correct priorities. They shamelessly celebrate the birthdays of Rajinikanth and Kamal Hassan as well as mention the birthdays of the perum pullis in Kollywood like Simbu, Shruti and Trisha. Then the deejays go on to play songs from the movies which the ‘celebrated’ actors starred in. Rombe mukkiyam.
The fact that THR did not let out a squeak about Mahakavi Subramaniam Bharathiyar whose birthday falls one day before Rajini’s birthday leaves much to be desired. Bharathiyar was a Tamil iconoclast who talked about women’s emancipation way before the Suffragettes movement. He is equivalent to Leonardo Da Vinci whose ideas were ahead of his time. It is beyond sad to see such a great poet being snubbed by his own community to say the least!
When the movie Enthiran, The Robot was released in theaters of Tamil Nadu, fans poured milk on Rajini’s cutout. Women carried pal kudam so that the film would be a commercial success. Such rituals are carried out for Hindu deities in temples; it is not an overstatement to say that actors in India are given gods status. Acting is Rajinikanth’s profession and his fans leave their professions and entreat to god so that he would make more money.
I watch Tamil movies too and I like them. I’m not a Puritan but I do know what to take in and what to leave out in movies. Depending on the censorship body ain’t enough Machas and Meenachis; one has to make a mind filter. I learnt what’s neural schema from the movie Enthiran and what are sleeper cells in Thuppaki. I Googled the terms up to learn more. I did the same when our MH370 went missing; I tried gleaning as much info possible pertaining the vanishing of the jetliner. I always look out for something to learn when I watch any movie. Aana namma pasanga perumbalum, only manage to take aboard the bad in Tamil movies. It won’t be wrong to say Tamil movies play an active role in pushing our youngsters into the realm of gangsterism; it’s true for love too.
Now, technology, particularly Facebook is used to declare idolization and hatred for heroes like Vijay, Ajith, Surya and the likes of them. Online wars are waged, over which hero is mass and which hero is piss. For example comments and counters like these are put forth:
“Singam 2 oothikichu, Surya fans ellam oppari veyunggo”
“Vijay ku nadikave vareleh, ivanukku poyi fans, kahkahkah”
Apart from engaging in verbal duel, derision is raised by photo shopping the stills of those actors they don’t fancy.
While fans argue online, the actors are at work in shooting spots around the world, raking millions in minutes, living in mansions and dine fine. The fans live on pittance meanwhile. The most a fan can get from his favourite hero is an autograph. That is it. The fan can frame it and hang it in his hut. That is all he can do with the autograph; it won’t put food on his table or fetch him a decent house.
In real life, Ajith, Vijay, Surya and the ones on the same league are good friends. They don’t fight like cats and dogs like their fans do over the superiority and the inferiority of the actors of question. It is a blatant waste of time and is of no use whatsoever.
We don’t see Americans saying they’ll make Harrison Ford the president of the United States when he acted as the president of America in Air Force One. But, there is a mob out there, who after watching Thalaiva, starring Vijay as the protagonist, vying to make him the next PM of India. There is a Facebook page to support this quest. These lots seem oblivious of the fact that Vijay’s every move, dialogue and deed in the movie is directed by a film director along with numerous technicians to make the movie. The distinguish between fantasy and fact gets grossly blurred here. This sorry state has reached Malaysian shores, I’m sorry to say.
Actors mentioned above are fully aware of the fan fanaticism phenomenon and they condone it. Why? It is because the actors need such donkey like, blind fans; it will bring them more excess. The only 2 actors who opposed such insanity publicly are Kamal Hassan and Rajinikanth but their voices are drowned by the defeaning silence of other actors pertaining this issue.
A die hard fan of Vijay committed suicide because he didn’t get to see the movie Thalaiva on the first day and first show and Vijay expressed his condolences but he did not condemn the foolish act. The boy was the only son of his poor parents.
So, before fighting over which actor is greater and doing outlandish, extravagant stuff to show your adoration towards a movie star, STOP AND THINK. Ilaya Thalapathy vum, Thala vum unggalukku soru ah poda porangge? Watch movies, enjoy the moment and wipe it out once you exit the theater. Buang yang keruh dan ambil yang jernih dan berwaspada terhadap sesetengah orang yang menangguk di air keruh. Please don’t try to emulate India in Malaysia. Saripattu varathu.