Mar 21, 2006

Tamil vs Hindi cinema: 1. Handsome heroes

As someone who has been watching as many Hindi movies as Tamil movies of late, esp. for the past 6 years or so, I keep getting the doubt about who is better than who, from both sides. If you talk to some middle-aged or old man from North and ask him about his favorite music, he would invariably say 'Old hindi songs'. Rarely have I heard such things from Tamils.. Though the era of MSV, Viswanathan-Ramamurthy and KVM gave us some great songs, the aura around the Hindi music that time was at a different level. In a series of posts, I am planning to look at the present crop of people involved in both industries.

In the male-dominated movie industry, the 'hero' is the selling factor for the movies. The men tend to search for what they want to be in them, and the women look at them with admiration. Looks do matter. A lot.

A critical look at each of the 'selling heroes'..
Rajini: Plus-Style, charm. Minus- Old, bald.
Kamal : Plus-Fair, well-built and still adorable. Minus-Old, and looks older; plump.
Vijay : Similar to Rajini but has got limitations. Face alone wont make any head turn.
Ajit : Plus - Fair, good face. Minus - either too fat or too thin nowadays.
Vikram: Plus-Tall, wheatish, well-built and handsome. Minus-Those ~10 years at the wilderness have cost him.. Vikram of 'Meera' looked certainly better.
Surya: Plus - Cute, well-built and handsome. Among the current crop of promising heroes, he looks the best. Minus - not all kinds of costumes suit him.

The second rung of actors, such as, Dhanush, Simbhu and Captain dont qualify. Others like Madhavan (needs to shed some weight), Arya (has to stop sleep-talking), Bharath, Srikanth, Prasanna,and Vishal are just OK.

'Khans' rule.. Shah-rukh, Aamir, Saif, and Salman are all aging and it shows. Still, the first two look great even now. Throw in others like Hrithik, Abhishek (he has suddenly got real hot), Akshay, and Shahid.. you have got a good bunch of tall, and well-toned heroes, who look like heroes.

The first round is won by Hindi heroes. They lead Tamil 1-0.


Nitin said...

I agree with your post. But somehow tamil leads the hindi industry when it comes to churning out good movies. It doesn't matter if they have good looking heroes out there, the movies simply suck. Out of the hindi stars that you have mentioned, Saif & Aamir are the two right now, that are acting in new subjects, and doing well. Abhishek is defnitely rising, hopefully he does well in maniratnam's Guru. Hrithik is just looks, other than that I dont see much acting talent from him, lets wait and see him Akbar. Out of all the heroes, Kamal still is the best, he is old I agree, and you can see that wrinkle under his eyes (from all the hardwork that he puts into his movies), he keeps trying something new, while the other actors are trying to survive doing the same roles again and again, kamal sets a new standard. He might be old, but he is always good looking.

The Talkative Man said...

"....he would invariably say 'Old hindi songs....Rarely have I heard such things from Tamils..."

Definitely there was a big drop in the quality of Hindi music post 1982. How many hits can we list out in the 82-90 period? RD Burman's peak was 1969-81 and faded out after that(Before that Shankar-Jaikishen, Naushad produced melodious output in the 60s and 50s resp). LKant-Plal and Kji-Aji ruled the 80s but quality was not as good.

Whereas its a different story in Tamil. Till around 1995 there really was no drought. The flag was carried from MSV by Ilayaraja and how! Its only after a wave of average composers emerged post-1995 that tamil got dry and boring. By 1999 the rot had set in and even average songs(relatively compared to yesteryear hits) became chartbusters.
No comments on the heroes :)

வேதா said...

well, i dont think as far as tamil cinema world, color does not matter(restricted to heroes alone). we have got a whole lot of dark heroes who have dominated the industry,of course surya ithuku mela enna color aaganum? maddy pathi sariyava sollala. he is one of the unsung talented person. he is very good in anbe sivam,kannathil muthamittal,nala damayanthi. ofcourse he needs to concentrate more on story selection,which i feel he has realised now.(naan madhavanoda payangara fan,of course first namma thalaivar,ulaga naayagan,kamal thaan).konjam unarchivasa pattuten,kandukatheenga

வேதா said...

hindi pathi solla maranthuten. ofcourse khans are rulers. khansku ethira hrithik kondu vanthaanga. but they could not suceed. but as u said abishek is on the run now.

மு.கார்த்திகேயன் said...

Hope you are going to analyis about good movies in next post..
I OK with this post, where it really acceptble that tamil hereos are not charm and attractive compared to hindi hereos..

what abt heroines?

Paurna said...

if there's one field where people from the tamil industry have no match then its the cinematography.chennai based cinematographers dominate the indian film industry like no one else.

Me too said...

It kind of feels odd when you say 'Minus - dark'. Surya, Vijay(but for his annoying movies) are handsome heroes.
One of my Northie friend who was a big fan of 'Mauna Ragam' in those days, shocked me saying Karthik was "not a good looking hero" when he was the 'Prince Charming' of TN girls at that time!
Agewise Kamal/Rajni are quite senior to the Khans and to think that they are still 'selling heroes'!!

TamilPonnu said...


THALAI IS FOREVER HANDSOME ( no minus), AND SURYA is almost perfect, minus- he needs height. (His brother is cute)

Vikram in 'Meera' was way better.. but still no complaints about him now..

@ME TOO- WHATTTTTTT!!!!!!! ur friend def. needs glasses! Karthik was dreamy.

TamilPonnu said...

Abhi..yea.. he got hot. what happened to him?? and all of a sudden, I started to like him.. alot!

Raju said...

Nitin, I agree with you.. thats why it is part of a series of posts; the rest would follow soon. Kamal looked great in Aalavandhan.. I think his lack of gym activities and problems in personal life wouldnt have allowed him to take care of his body properly.. There is a huge difference in the Police officer Aadhi of Kurudhipunal and Raghavan of VV.
Talkative man, as I replied to Nitin, there would be a separate post on the music.. I agree with you on the quality of hindi music post Kishore Kumar and RD Burman.
Veda, well.. we have come to accept that, with less choice of late. If you remember the real 'heart-throbs', Aravindswamy, Abbas and Madhavan come to mind. Aravind started putting weight around 'Bombay' time; Abbas was unlucky with his choice of movies; and Madhavan, after looking great until 'Run' and 'KM', started losing plot.. In the small gap of 4 years, he has put on too much weight and doesnt look as good as before.
Again, 'talent' would be part of another post.. This post is based only on looks..

About ' khansku ethira hrithik kondu vanthaanga', I cant agree with that.. there is the huge market in Bollywood and anyone can take claim for the huge chunk of the #1 hero.. Hrithik was brought in by his dad in a planned fashion.. First, all those years of hardwork in the gym and then 'Kaho na pyar hai' happened. He was a craze then. He still looks hot.. I am looking forward to his 'Krrish'.

Raju said...

Karthikeyan, surely.. I am planning to cover all aspects.. Good movies and heroines are all part of the plan..
Paurna, cinematography for a latter post. I agree with your point.
Aparna, well.. I agree. I was kinda ruthless.. I was writing about Surya while watching cricket on the wee hours..

Mouna Ragam Karthik was great.. but he was more of charming than handsome, right? Different people beauty differently and Karthik, with his rugged beard, great smile and mannerisms was charming.. wasnt really of the 'tall dark and handsome' type, ille?
Priya, 'Ji' partheengala? Thalai mudhal kaal varai orey shape-le irundhar.. Paramasivam-le 'Pavama' irundhar.. but better. Godfather-le eppadi parppom..

TamilPonnu said...

There's only one Thala.. Namma Super star.

Ajit is cute too.. no complaints about him now.. after he has shed some weight. Cant wait to see Godfather.. songs are good.. did u listen to them yet?

Nitin said...

Karthik looked good, so did Mohan. There was a picture of Mohan recently in vikatan,and he looked good. Arvindsamy now has gained lot of weight, and has lost most of his hair. Another actor that still looks the same as he did years ago is Raghuvaran, not many people think about him.But even now, he seems to be in good shape, but does not act anymore due to personal problems. I agree Raju, kamal's personal problems is probably interfering with his health. But he can change easily, like he did from alavandhan, pammal, to panchatanthiram. he gained a lot of weight during vasoolraja, and now he has more weight. he needs to lose some, to be healthy.

Ram.C said...

Not sure if we need to look into the complexion of the heroes, since their region & climate are completely different. I agree with you that they will win, if you look into the complexion alone. They also have wider market to gain popularity. Since your title is handsome heroes, I accept your verdict.

However, if you look into the versatility, we also have great actors. I would mark the score as even or better, based on that count.

ashok said...

raju..this is all very subjective...
and wen it comes to heroines iam sure ur marks wil be for hindi actresses (as i know from one of ur previous popular posts)

On the whole i think Tamil films are much better than Hindi. And in story line Malayalam is better. We can include telugu films in this argument just for the fun of it and no more.

Another truth that northies dont really know is that almost 75%tamil movies are remade into hindi whereas just about 10% hindi movies are remade in tamil.

In terms of technology, tamil film industry pioneers everybody in India. Any new film tech comes first to south and then goes to north - is a well known fact.

And i dont understand ur argument about dark/fair as plus or minus point. Is Will Smith a BIG NEGATIVE in ur opinion?? dude..u make me LOL

Balaji said...

interesting comparison raju. looking fwd to other posts in the series...

as others said, i don't see why being dark is a minus. the universal defn for great-looking men is 'tall, dark and handsome'. so how can being dark be a minus?

and looks definitely r subjective. for me not having a moustache is definitely a minus. and all hindi actors lose based on that :)

aruna said...

*surya minus - height
*dark is ok. latchanam is all it matters. I can watch murali than watch gunaal. moreover romba vellaya iruntha nativity poyidum..haha!!

Narayanan Venkitu said...

Hmm..actually I was discussing this last evening at home.

IMHO - Hindi Heroes definitely win.!!

The only guys whom I think ( Pardon me tamil rasigas.!!) are worth to be heros

a) Maddy - Just right.!
b) Vikram
c) Surya - KullaM
d) Ajit - Just right!
e) Srikanth - Homely.!

kamal/Rajini - Old..Old..Old..time to do senior roles Like Big-B

Nyneishia said...

OOo... all my new n old crushes are gonna be listed here.. nicee nicee.will watch out..

Ok.. now.. for the heros.. well i dont know.. SOme of the hindi heros look like they just walked out of a colourful gift box..too much done look.. grrr n some like they neeed a bib around their neck..

I will take Surya over hrithik any day.. Shahrukh over Vijay.. Aamir and Saif.. ooo ofcourse better better. n then Vikram.. mm may be in some roles.. Abishek... ok :D Some silly faces like Akshay and others mm. Salman NO WAY

Raju said...

Priya, oh, periya thalaiya sonneengala? After 'Dheena', Ajit has taken that name, so i thought u are referring to him.

Godfather songs are OK.. I would say it is below average, according to ARR standard.
Nitin, long time since I got a chance to see Mohan.. Hope to see him on screen. Raghuvaran's personal life has taken a heavy toll on his career. Unlucky chap. About Kamal, I expected him to be slim and trim, esp. as a police officer, for VV.
Ram, though I did mention about complexion, that was not the only deciding criterion for analyzing their being handsome. In Hindi, guys like Abhishek and Akshay Kumar are not as fair as the Khans but still they are pretty handsome. Various other factors, such as, height, body shape, dress sense, and smile were taken into account.

Versatility in acting will form the subject of next post.
Ashok, well.. comparison-nu vandha ovvorutharoda subjective choices will come into play.. but in general, I have not heard good compliments from my wife on the handsomeness of our heroes, except for guys like Madhavan, Tarun, Surya,and Kamal.

And, about the remake of the movies, I would say tamil industry nowadays depends heavily on south Indian movies (Telugu and Malayalam), whereas Hindi relies on Hollywood. Except Priyadarshan, I havent seen many others adopting tamil movies' stories. The failure of some of the remade movies such as Nayak, Khushi, Dum, and Run has probably made them think of the cultural differences between north and south, thus adding a huge risk factor.

Raju said...

Balaji, I agree with 'tall, dark and handsome'.. and also that I was a little harsh on our heroes. Look at the recent entry 'Vishal'.. as you mentioned in a review, there is something missing in him.. To me, it appears to be his complexion and hairstyle, may be?
Aruna, points noted. Murali better than Kunaal? That is interesting. :-)
Narayanan, romba sariya sonneenga.. We have seen most of the current heroines grow from a really small point.. Vijay, Ajit, and Vikram are all around in the industry for over 13 years now... Looking from a neutral perspective, Hindi heroes tend to maintain their looks better.
Nyneishia, colorful gift box? LOL.. I thought we guys tend to overdo our makeup and costumes.. :-)

I dont like Salman either.. but I have heard that some girls like him.. I havent mentioned about other 'hot' heroes like John Abraham, Arjun Rampal,and Dino Morea...

Anonymous said...

HOW can you say something like minus: dark. You bigot!

Raju said...

Anon, sorry if I hurt the feelings.. As I said before, I accept that I was prejudiced.. our tamil heroes are usually above-average among tamil men.. but since my comparison was with Hindi heroes, most of whom are fair, I mentioned their complexion.

Anurama said...

Wow... A good topic to discuss Raju. When you compare right from complexion, why not compare dance, fight sequences as well. I have always felt that our Tamil heroes are lot better in these aspects. what say?

Raju said...

Anu, yeah.. I agree with you.. I should have, in hindsight.. Let me see whether I can cover them in a separate post..

ladydarling said...

Hey Hey!!!!!

U mention a 'new' old guy lyk Vishal, wat happen to the 'old' young heroes like Jeeva? Dun tell me u 4got 2 mention him!!!


Raju said...

Ladydarling, yeah.. Jeeva is good.. I forgot to mention him.. Since 'Raam', he is among the most promising of the actors.. I agree that he looks good too..

Madesh K said...

Madesh.K to The Talkative Man
In Tamil the music flag was first carried by K.V.Mahadevan to M.S.V to Ilyaraja to A.R.Rehaman. How can you say that the quality of Tamil music dimnished after 1995 that was the time The Musical Storm(A.R.R) entered and now it was carried by a bunch of very talented composers such Yuvan, Harish, Etc., There was no time in tamil cinema they lack the quality and nobody to carry the flag till now. The south Indian especially tamil composers score more points than the north. Ilyaraja was a genius and A.R.R. he doesn't need any explanation as everyone knows.

tishi said...

EVERGREEN HANDSOME HERO PRASHANTH.............PRASHANTH-very cute,charming,very jovial,very well built,very goodlooking n tall among the heros he looks the best.PRASHANTH is multi-talented actor too.

Raju said...

Madesh, welcome here.. Being a huge ARR fan, I agree with you that we didnt do badly after Ilayaraja's peak period.. I feel that with the heavy competition that exists in Tamil cine industry, we can say the future is in safe hands..
Tishi, Welcome here... Prashanth looks good, I agree.. it was an unintentional miss.. My bad.. He was one with bad luck.. He still has chance to come up..

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Anonymous said...

It shows your narrow mind to call "dark" as "minus".
Look at the top models in the world.Look at Will Smith.
Please come out of this fairness shell.

Anonymous said...

If we are just comparing looks have u heard of shiny ahuja, himanshu malik, john abraham,arjun rampal, arjan bajwa, muzamil ibrahim, aryan vaid, diwakar pundir, rajeev khandelwal, bikram saluja, dino morea, milind soman etc etc etc

Do check them out... khans ( except for salman, fardeen) were never considered good lookin as such, they are stars not good looking heroes... look at these guys for comparison

dinesh said...

hi...surya is the only challenger to compare with hindi actors... no one is like him in the tamil film industry... he is cute and handsome... he is always rocks...

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Anonymous said...

what a jackass this nitin person is,,abe chutiya,,kale gande motigandwale tamil xinalake hum north indians se kabhi aage nahi ho sakate,,randi ke bachhe hindi hates,,chinal ki paidaish hai yeh randuye tamil..