Monday, February 23, 2015

Confessions of an Ajith-fan

9.30 PM, Devi Theatre, Circa 1996. After a horrific ride on our TVS Champ that grudgingly helped to transport two adults, one teenager, and a chubby child to the theatre, I settled to watch Kadhal Kottai. Thanks to Father, who watched over three films a week those days, I often found myself in city's theatres (even on schooldays). There were no butter popcorn and doughnuts then, mind. But vegetable pups were not that bad.

Beside the snoring Mother, and the enthusiastic Sister, I watched this film. About a couple, who kept writing letters, and fell in love with each other. There weren't many details I could remember about the film (save the camels). No, for some reason I remembered the horny Heera too. Weird. That was the first Ajith film I watched in theatre.

In the next few years, several 'Kadhal...' films were watched, and there was no Ajith in it. However, there was this stud of a channel called Sun Movies. It telecast some 'gems' like Amaravathi, Aasai, Vaanmathi, Pavithra, Minor Mappillai... All the terrible (well, almost!) movies of Ajith that only a kind, jobless soul like me would remember. And, for reasons that escaped my memory, I became a fan of Ajith. You must judge me here!

Let's face it. He was fair and handsome. (I had no clue about his acting prowess though.) But I was a wee bit judgmental then, I suppose. No, maybe more. He was way different than the usual ones in the industry. At least, in my mind. He wore funny jeans, and loose shirts. It still didn't bother me much. He overacted. Let's say 40% of what Sivaji Ganesan would do. Still, it didn't bother me much. Father would narrate stories of him being a naughty womaniser, and hardworking and all that. (Of course, I overheard Father.) Passed no rude judgement yet.

Then, Ajith acted in many strange, cringe-worthy films. Like in Uyirodu Uyiraga, he had some brain disease, and did his wife's delivery all by himself. (Really? Unsure if I am even framing that sentence correctly.) His Saroja-Devi kind of acting in Vaali was unforgettable. Unforgettable in a bad way. I also suffered a lot to uproot my memory of that song - Indru Mudhal Iravu. Eek! Hey, but I was an Ajith loyalist still.

Then came the time, when he slowly started to become Thala. And that was it. He had almost lost a die-hard fan. (Blame it on my age too. I was growing up, I guess. And I developed an aversion to run-of-the-mill ones. Maybe. Just maybe.)

Imagine watching the excruciating films like Jana, Aalwar, Attagasam, Anjaneya, Kireedam, Aegan... Did I mention Citizen, Varalaaru, and Villain? I dutifully refrained from watching all the duds to preserve my memory of the man, and the times when the actor and his films seemed good to me. However, I was not the one to watch Cartoon Network or Discovery Channel or the other English ones. So, I ended up watching the very duds that I tried avoiding, and gathered myself to start loathing the man, and his films. It was official!

Mankatha and Arrambam were not as bad as the other ones. But they were still bad. (How many friends am I going to lose for saying this?) Oh, and that little shit Veeram... What the fuck was that!

And... Several years after I had given up on the man, Yennai Arindhaal happened, restoring all the faith I seemed to have had once. He was super handsome. (Ahem! Ahem!) And, after ages, the man had had the chutzpah to act in a film that showed its middle finger to 'Thala' fans. It seemed to have helped the actor rediscover himself, for fans like... erm... me, who liked him as an artiste, and who reckoned that his right side (that little potential) was not tapped. (Did I just say that?) The film was okayish. (And I wanted to shoot the inner goddess of Anushka. Annoying, horny bitch!) But, what a revelation it was to see Ajith as the director's actor. And, what a relief it was to not watch him shake a leg with the ladies (Fab India customers, I suppose), and mouth punchlines... and be glorified by his side-kicks! Where was this actor all this while?

And, if he would go back to do those terrible ones again... Oh, we always have other ways to watch shitty films.

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