The Slender Star Of Tamil Cinema

Posted on August 13, 2018

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Outlook asked me to write about Dhanush for their Independence Day issue, about ’21 game changers in the 21st Century’. Read the full article here: https://www.outlookindia.com/magazine/story/dhanush-the-slender-star-of-tamil-cinema-by-baradwaj-rangan/300476

No one could have predicted Dhanush’s success when he appeared in his first film, Thulluvadho Ilamai (2002), when he was in his late teens. When we first see him, he’s in an army officer’s uniform – it hangs so limply on his scrawny frame that he seems to have dressed up for a school play, having stuck on a too-big moustache. But with the benefit of hindsight, it’s possible to tease out what would become the actor’s persona on-screen – the lower-middle-class/lower-class boy whose psyche is scarred by the happenings around him (one night, he sees his parents making out) and who falls for an upper-class girl, the romance usually initiated by his stalking. Give or take a bit of shading, and you have the character Dhanush played eleven years later, in Aanand L Rai’s Raanjhanaa.

I met the actor at Cannes, this year, where he was promoting his first international film, The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir, directed by Ken Scott. Even here, he’s playing the “Dhanush role” – an Indian from an underprivileged background who finds himself in exotic foreign locations, much like Dhanush had ended up in Cannes. He said, “I started my life from the bottom, so this has been an extraordinary journey for me too.”

Continued at the link above.

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