Star bright, star light...

Star bright, star light...


Nanban and Vettai. These are the two biggest releases in Kollywood so far since the start of 2012. What is common between the two? Both are multi-starrers. While the former has Vijay, Jeeva and Srikanth in the lead, the latter has Madhavan and Arya playing the protagonists. Multi-starrers, it would seem, are the order of the day.

“Earlier, though there were films which featured popular stars together, actors in the top league were not very willing to share screen space with their counterparts. This myth was shown the door by Ajith when he announced Mankatha,” says Manivannan, a trade analyst. He adds: “In his 50th film, Ajith joined hands with a long list of well-known faces, including Arjun, Premgi Amaran and Vaibhav. He ensured that everyone got their due share of screen space. The film emerged as the biggest hit of 2011 and the trend is catching up now.” So how comfortable are actors about working together? Arya says, “Madhavan is like my elder brother. I learnt a lot from him.In fact, now that the shooting of Vettai is over, I miss him a lot.” Madhavan echoes the sentiment: “Working with Arya was a comfortable experience. He is a cool guy who hardly worries about anything. We had a great time while shooting for Vettai.”

Srikanth, who played an aspiring wildlife photographer in Nanban, says he would like to continue acting in films that have more than one actor in the lead role. “Multi-starrers have an added value and attraction,” he says. Presently shooting for Ethiri En 3, an action thriller, the actor says, “I loved acting with Vishnu in Drohi and with Vijay and Jeeva in Nanban. I am looking forward to more such multi-starrers. Nanban is one of the highlights of my career.”

Those in the trade are also more than willing to invest in multi-starrers than in solo-hero movies. Says a distributor, “We generally run behind heroes. But the trend is no longer going to be the same. With films featuring top actors failing to make revenues at the box-office, we are beginning to consider multi-starrers to be safe bets. For example, Nanban is being watched by fans of Vijay, Jeeva and Srikanth, and Vettai by those who like Madhavan and Arya.”

Kamal Haasan was recently quoted as saying that he would re-start his dream film Marudhanayagam and that there was a role for his good friend, superstar Rajinikanth, in it. “Since the film demands a budget of over Rs 150 crore, Kamal feels the presence of Rajini would make the project more profitable. Moreover, this is not the first time that Rajini and Kamal will be sharing screen space, for, they have acted together in more than 10 films during their initial days in Kollywood,” says Bharath, a film critic.

What do the directors and producers feel? Says Venkat Prabhu, the man behind Mankatha, “Right from Chennai 6000028, almost all my films have had more than one protagonist. I personally feel multi-starrers, if made well, can work wonders. The audience is easily attracted if there are many popular actors in one film and this would only empower the director to experiment more.”

Says director Shankar, “When I decided to remake 3 Idiots, I took into consideration many actors who could play the lead roles and finally zeroed in on Vijay, Jeeva and Srikanth. I had some doubts before going to the set. But I was quite happy to see the chemistry between the three actors. When they get along well, the job of a director is made easy.” An office bearer of Tamil Film Producers Council says, “Though it is true that the cost of making multi-starrers is high, such films generate a lot of curiosity. And if the end product satisfies the audience, the producers can break even within a few days of the movie’s release.”

If this is going to be the popular trend in Kollywood, there should be no complaints as long as all is well.