To discuss Tamil actor Ajith's career, one must necessarily rewind to the 90s. An actor who had equal passion for racing, Ajith continued with the film industry despite undergoing major surgeries in his twenties. His charming lover boy role in the 1995 film Aasai struck a chord with the viewers and since then, there has been no looking back. The climax of his beautiful romance Kadhal Kottai in 1996 is still fresh in our minds. If one thought he would be typecast in romantic roles in later years, they were proven wrong as Ajith showed his versatility with a series of distinct roles.
Take a look at the characters he portrayed between 1999 and 2000. In Vaali, he played a deaf and mute who lusted for his brother's wife. What a deliciously wily performance it was, when he also had to portray the naive twin brother on the other side. He exuded warmth in his performance as a struggling music composer who had to give up his passion at the end in Mugavaree.
For the 1999 film Amarkalam, he donned the role of a rowdy with a troubled childhood. Even at the peak of his career, Ajith was not worried about being outshone when he took up Kandukondain Kandukondain, which saw an all-star cast that included Mammootty, Aishwarya Rai, Sridevi, Tabu and Abbas.
In 2001, Dheena released and Ajith's career graph changed big time. The film was a huge hit and got Ajith his nickname -'Thala'. The scene where he takes a chopper knife from behind his shirt in a shopping mall gave us all goosebumps. But little did we know that it was just the start of how we would lose a fine actor to a genre he's since never returned from.
On Wednesday, the teaser of Ajith's upcoming film Vivegam released to rave reviews and became a huge craze among his fans. The visuals are appealing but honestly what have we seen differently in those 57 seconds that he hasn't done in most of his movies since 2001? He delivers punchy one-liners, fires a gun, wears sunglasses in slow motion, walks and also rides bike in slow motion. In fact if one takes a close look at his movies since Billa in 2007, this is the strict pattern of characters he has played - Don , Police, Don, Con Artist, Don, Police , Police, Don (Veeram might be an exception but its genre is again the same -'Action').
Vijay might have also been typecast the same way as Ajith but he has never done a film like, say, Vaali to prove his acting potential. Suriya, despite the Singam series, tried his hands at something different in 24, a fantasy thriller. Vikram's selections are all poor recently but his movies at least donâ€™t look similar. Kamal Haasan experiments all the time. Even Rajnikanth became a robot in Enthiran and played a torn husband and father for the most part (than a stylish gangster) in Kabali. Ajith on the other hand is seriously typecast these years.
It's not as if since Dheena, we haven't seen shades of brilliance from Ajith. He acted pretty well as a Bharatanatyam dancer with "effeminate" behaviour in Varalaru (2006). He also broke a few stereotypes when he appeared in a salt and pepper look and portrayed a pure evil guy with no inhibitions in 2011â€™s Mankatha. In Mankatha, you could see an actor who was ready to risk and lose the love from his fans if it backfired.
It's so strange that the same actor hasn't tried to shake off the monotony of the roles he has played since then. It's so strange that the same actor hasn't tried risking the box-office numbers or the whistles and applause of his fans to give something different. Letâ€™s hope Ajith Kumar does it sometime soon. Because, otherwise, he is unfortunately becoming a fine example of how superstardom lets go of the actor in you forever.