Here is a dictionary that will take you through the South Indian film industry

Confused about the whos who of Southern cinema A dictionary for dummies
Flix Wednesday, May 11, 2016 - 17:41

South Indian cinema has always played second fiddle to Bollywood in the past but of late, with the advent of Baahubali, Southies are back with a bang with their own stylized acting at one end to being a complete natural at the other. Hero worship reaches its zenith here with ‘Thalaivar’ reigning supreme and the ‘Thalas’ and ‘Thalapathys’ a respectful second. So here’s your pocket guide to South Indian cinema:

First things first: Basics

Kollywood - Tamil cinema’s tinsel town

Tollywood - Telugu movie industry

Sandalwood or Chandanavana – colloquial for Kannada moviedom

Mollywood - Malayalam film industry

Title Crazy

You might have thought with the end of the Victoria era, ‘titles’ too faded into oblivion. Take a look at these though:


Thalaiva - Our very own ‘Superstar’ Rajinikanth

Illayathalapathy - ‘Young commander’ Vijay

Thala - literally translating into ‘head’, actor Ajith Kumar is also known as the ‘ultimate star’

Ulaganayagan - ‘Universal hero’ Kamal Hassan

Puratchi thalaivar - ‘Revolutionary artist’ Vijayakanth

STR - ‘Little Superstar’ Silambarasan

And then - ‘Powerstar’ Srinivasan


Mega star - Chiranjeevi

Power star - Pawan Kalyan

Prince - Superstar Mahesh Babu

‘Young Rebel’ star - Prabhas

‘Victory’ Venkatesh - Daggubati Venkatesh 

Stylish star - Allu Arjun


Of all the four ‘woods’ Mollywood is the least showy of all. Superstars here have no titles prefixed before their names. The adoring masses instead prefer to call them their own with affectionate monikers such as:

Lalettan – Mohanlal

Mammukka – Mammootty

Kunjikka – Dulquer Salman (Mammukka’s son)


Golden star - Ganesh in recognition of his success at the box-office

Crazy star - V. Ravichandran

Challenging star – Darshan

Real star – Upendra

Appu- Puneeth Rajkumar

The trend seems to have begun with yesteryear stars like Sivaji Ganesan and Rajkumar being called ‘Nadigar Tilagam’ and ‘Natasaarvabhouma’.

 And it has soared to such a level that more often than not, people identify present-day heroes by the titles conferred on them.

By now, you must have noticed not a single heroine figures in these lists. A clear case of misogyny indeed!

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