Salesh Dipak Fernando


Narcissistic transformations on the big screen are almost a norm. It’s almost like self – pleasure. The actor transforms himself the audience applaud but people around the actor become mere extras. It doesn’t matter if the eventual outcome is mediocre or if there are scenes where the fellow actor can shine. But in one way or the other even that space is taken away as the audience continue to wonder what went wrong.

The eternal wait for that one actor who can change things continue. An actor who can consistently prove himself by moving away from the limelight for a major part of the narration giving his co-stars they space they deserve. The audience watch in awe. If it’s just one film then the audience can dismiss it as an exception. But what if the actor does it again and again and again. The admiration grows. An admiration which eventually becomes a loveable obsession.

Act 1 – The Extra

The yearning for a tiny space in an inconsequential role. Is it the obsession for the arc-lights or a desperate attempt to make it work? Perhaps that’s how celluloid works. The yearning of a naked soul. The willingness to let celluloid take control and dress the actor the way it wants to. Perseverance rarely lets you down. The big break arrives.

Act 2 – The dawn.

Celluloid once again embraces an unconventional hero. The unique voice stands out in a horror show. A hero who almost fools the audience for a major part of the film. The first query of surprise – Who is this guy? The first glimpse of recognition. How about turning the first glimpse into a fixation by echoing the same sentence throughout the narration or fitting into a narrative which requires the actor to play his age.

Act 3 – The role of a life time 

He’s not a hero. He becomes one of us. He is Sumar Moonchi Kumar. We all are at some point in our lives. The average guy next door who wanders aimlessly until destiny directs us to where we want to be. 

Act 4 – Stepping Aside :

The hero becomes more and more aware of his space in Tamil Cinema. If Sumar Moonji Kumaru phase was all about the hero elevating an otherwise ordinary script Micheal was about stepping aside to let the ensemble shine. He plays the right hand man who becomes a sacrificial lamb. The pivotal point in the movie where Micheal dies and let’s his co-star walk away with all the accolades. The final say in the film belongs to the other guy. This wasn’t an exception it was trait he had nurtured in his earlier days as well as the driver who is possessive about the vehicle he drives. For a major portion of the film he let’s the older couple take over with their adorable chemistry. The film failed but this trait would stand the test of time and Andavan katalai would once again serve as glorious reminder as the hero plays second fiddle for the entire length of the film without too much fuss. Everyone around him shine and as the film draws to a close you realize he was there too almost as an invisible presence making a mark in his own unique way.

Act 5 -Makkal Selvan

 The hero becomes a permanent impression. He becomes Makkal Selvan, And just when you think how would this guy ever find a connect with the masses. He surprises you as the loveable rowdy and no nonsense cop. The angry stare and the twirling of the moustache as you watch in disbelief. Is it the same guy whom you had watched on screen over the past few years? The ardent fan who finds a voice when Rajini appears on screen has a new obsession.

Vijay Sethupathi!

Happy Birthday my Hero.





Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol

1 Comment

  1. Loved your detailed take on the transitions of an actor, Salesh. I have begun to like Vijay Sethupathy too!

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