What is the best quality that an actor can have? It has to be versatility, the ability to do almost any kind of character without any inhibitions. In short, to be an actor without limitations. We look at some of the most versatile actors of current times who can perform any role without constraints. We take two roles in their career that we believe best showcase the spectrum that they encompass.
Prasanna: Kandanaal Mudhal – Anjaathey
He was the soft spoken lover boy, the kind who could never get violent. That’s what we all thought about him until he surprised us with the foul mouthing conspiring villain in Anjaathey. Contrast it with the loyal friend who tries to hide his love to keep the faith of two families. Both films were well received by the audience, the characters were appreciated and that is proof enough of Prasanna’s acting skills.
Prithviraj: Kana Kandein – Mozhi
He is just a few movies old but has two diametrically opposite characters in his first two films. The scheming villain with a betraying exterior of Kana Kandein is one of the best negative roles in recent times while the soft spoken musician of Mozhi is still etched in memory. Definitely great variety.
Arya: Oram Po – Naan kadavul
Till recently, most people did not have much of an opinion about Arya. He was just a young actor who worked hard and delivered at acceptable levels characters that were given to him by directors. But Naan Kadavul has changed perspectives, he is now seen as talented and dedicated artiste who can be trusted with any kind of role. Naan Kadavul’s role when juxtaposed against the free talking auto racer of Oram Po shows that Arya is an actor who can pull off almost anything.
Pasupathy: Veyyil, Majaa, Virumaandi
He is without much argument the actor in Tamil cinema with the most expressive and prominent pair of eyes. He can put those eyes through a varied range of emotions. The terrorizing glare of ‘Kothala Thevan’ from Virumaandi is etched in memory, while the gullible stares of the petty thief in Majaa still amuses us. His blind RJ performance in Raman Thediya Seethai showed us that he can do just as well without the help of his expressive eyes.
Jeeva: Kattradhu Tamil – SMS
No one should have doubts over this young actors abilities to fit into different moulds with ease. The roles in Kattradhu Tamil and Siva Manasula Sakthi are proof of this. The characters required emotions picked from opposite ends of the spectrum of the human mind. Prabhakar of Kattradhu Tamil was a character traumatized by the inequalities of the society, Siva of SMS was a carefree flirtatious guy, a character picked straight from city milieu. Both were executed with aplomb.
Madhavan: Ayudha Ezhuthu – Nala Damayandhi
He has made it a point to do movies that are different from the regular fare. At first we used to think that he was just a chocolate romance type of actor with a lot of charm. But, Ayudha Ezhuthu, the rugged gangster was a strong counterpoint to any such belief. A character that stands in complete contrast is the gullible, lovable and innocent cook from Nala Damayandhi.
Naaser: Poi Solla Porom – Kuruthipunal
To say that there is almost nothing that he has not done on screen would be an understatement. To select two characters from the vast range that he has done is not easy. Two of his negative roles might provide the best comparison, he showed us that playing the villain in itself can be done in such varied styles. The scheming and calculative naxalite from Kuruthipunal who did not bat an eyelid even in the face of death and the shrewd real estate broker from Poi Solla Porom who offered us many light moments are proof of his skills.
Sathyaraj: Amaithipadai – Onbadhu roobai nottu
We need not elaborate on his abilities to do characters that are poles apart in their nature. The fact that he started out as a heinous villain, made the successful transition to hero, did action and a signature style of sarcastic comedy and then scored with a few very meaningful roles is good enough to establish his class. Two roles that best encompass the spectrum of roles that he has done might be the villain of Amaithipadai with a strong comic streak and the innocent shepherd of Onbathu Roobai Nottu.
Prakash Raj: Ghilli – Abhiyum Naanum
If you try to pick two characters from the repertoire of Prakash Raj then you are in for an ordeal; such is the variety that he has done. Two characters from recent memory that reiterate his class are the ones from Ghilli and Abhiyum Naanum . The loud mouthed brat who was prepared even to kill for his whims and fancies is an antithesis to the desperate father who watches on helplessly as his daughter drifts away from him into marriage. What makes things more special is that in both the movies Trisha was the lady concerned. She was his daughter in Abhiyum Naanum and the object of his perverted interest in Ghilli.
Vikram: Kaasi – Gemini
We need not elaborate on this man’s ability to get under the skin of any character. Each one will have an opinion of their own when it comes to the characters of Vikram that are in stark contrast with one another. Here we look at Kaasi and Gemini. The blind singer and the local thug with both brawn and brain are classic examples of Vikram’s ability to morph.
Suriya: Vaaranam Aayiram
No one doubts his abilities to pull off any character at present. Suriya has done enough variety in his career to dispel all doubts.The best example is perhaps the dual roles in Vaaranam Aayiram. It was not just a routine father-son double act, all the subtleties in looks and body language were brought out to near perfection; there were close to 10 different looks in the film, each of them stayed in our mind.
Kamal Haasan: Virumandi – Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu
Every character that he does is different, there is no need to dwell upon the vastness of the characters that he has done. In fact, he can be said to be the actor who defines versatility. Take any two characters and you can find subtle changes and modifications that he brings to them. The rampaging and raw villager of Virumandi in contrast with the sophisticated investigator of Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu are two highly different portrayals that can be cited as most recent examples. Or, the 10 characters of Dasavatharam best showcase versatility within the framework of one movie.