The Paa actor may soon debut in a South action film
While all eyes are on the drama unfolding in Delhi, it looks like Vidya Balan is quietly considering her debut in Tamil cinema. The lucky hero is likely to be Ajith. Siva who directed Ajith in the hit film Veeram is currently working on his next script and Vidya Balan could make her Tamil debut in this action film.
This is of course not Vidya’s first brush with southern cinema. She acted in Santosh Sivan’s Malayalam film Urumi that was also dubbed into Tamil. And she won several accolades for playing a Silk Smitha like character in The Dirty Picture, including the National Award for Best Actress. Vidya has also had another experience in regional language cinema. Many mistakenly think that she made her debut with Parineeta whereas in reality, she debuted in the Bengali film Bhalo Theko that also starred Dadasaheb Phalke award winning legend. Many mistakenly think that she made her debut with Parineeta whereas in reality, she debuted in the Bengali film Bhalo Theko that also starred Dadasaheb Phalke award winning legend Soumitra Chatterjee.
There have been other instances of top Bollywood heroines debuting in regional languages. Aishwarya Rai debuted in a dual role in Mani Ratnam’s Tamil film Iruvar before making her Bollywood debut in Aur Pyar Ho Gaya. She returned to the Tamil film industry to act in Jeans, Kandokundain Kandukondain, the bi-lingual Raavanan/Raavan and Enthiran that was dubbed into Hindi and Telugu as Robot. Aishwarya also forayed into Bengali cinema with Chokher Bali.
Deepika Padukone debuted in the Kannada film Aishwarya before making her Bollywood debut with Om Shanti Om. She, or at least a performance capture version of her, will be seen in the Tamil Kochadaiiyaan, which is also being released in several other languages including Hindi and Telugu, opposite Superstar Rajinikanth. Deepika’s turn as a Tamil girl in Chennai Express was much appreciated, despite her atrocious accent.
Historically, heroines who have acted across Indian languages are plenty, and audiences have accepted them much more than cross-language heroes. The most famous examples are Sridevi, Jayaprada, Rati Agnihotri, Padmini and Vyjayanthimala to name but a few. The ethereal Manisha Koirala had some memorable films in the south including Muthalvan, Indian and Bombay while graceful legends Suchitra Sen and Sharmila Tagore successfully straddled the Bengali and Hindi film industries.
Tamannaah Bhatia debuted in Bollywood with the forgettable Chand Sa Roshan Chehra but thereafter forged a successful career in the Telugu and Tamil industries and is one of the most sought after leading ladies there. Her re-entry into Bollywood with Himmatwala is a well-documented disaster. It remains to be seen how much of a role she will have in Humshakals, with three each of Saif Ali Khan, Ram Kapoor and Riteish Deshmukh hogging screen time; or in It’s Entertainment where she’ll complete for eyeballs with Akshay Kumar and a dog.
Screen time is what will be interesting to see if Vidya Balan signs on for the Ajith film. Ajith’s directors love him and so does the camera and in each of his recent films the gaze is firmly upon him, scrutinising his every languid action and every flick of his salt and pepper coiffure. Vidya these days is used to acting in only author-backed roles. Just how much of that she’ll get in an Ajith vehicle is debatable.