Captain's knockI don't really see much of Tamil star-(zyaada)-actor-cum Vijaykanth these days as I once used to while resident in the cheerfully cinematic bedlam-land of Madras. But whatever fleeting glimpses I do catch on what ammaa lovingly calls "the Karunanidhi family channel" of Sun TV, I realise that the actor fondly called Captain is keeping alive the legacy of the stereotypical "South Indian" hero.
I am usually among the first to scoff at the rest of Bollywood-India to straitjacket the equally if not more prolific film industries from the states of Southern India, but you can't really defend what some of these guys have done. Your archetypal cult hero usually aged gracefully by employing wigs and makeup around the pencil moustache; with one twitch of the right eyebrow, he'd get the nubile, aged merely-a-mischevious-twinkle-in-her-father's-eye-when-the-hero-was-making-his-25th-film belle to swoon into his arms while with the other eyebrow, he'd mesmerise the populace into casting votes for his newly formed party. Dancing and electioneering, paunches and populism, "punch dialogues" and slogans came easily to them.
Founders and Champions of this brand of celebrity-hood were the likes of MGR and NTR while veterans like Prem Nazir and Rajkumar didn't dabble in the political side but often did (and more successfully) a "Raj Kapoor in Around the World in 8 dollars". Shivaji Ganesan's occasional flared bellbottoms were only about as pleasant as his lack of success at the ballot boxes.
However, this trend seems to have taken a hit in recent times with the likes of Rajnikanth being in a permanent state of ambivalence and only a few attempts to keep the flag up from the Kannada and Andhra sectors. However, Vijaykanth is doing much to prop the dying art of the South Indian aging star with political ambitions. Described as a veteran of the "lungi western" by Shamanth, le capitaine was elected to the TN Legislative Assembly recently, continues to get jiggy with it with buxom lasses, maintains the scaramoustache while uttering verbal punches that guarantee a thunderous clap.
And if you are among those unfortunate enough to not have experienced the DMDK president's full blast, take a look at this little video clip (link thanks to Vaibhav). Subtitles have been provided for full viewing contentment.