This movie was remade in Hindi as Tere Naam and starred Salman Khan and Bhumika Chawla.
Oh Sallz. The bald look would have been better.
A string of hits followed for Vikram, including Dhill (which was remade in Hindi as Dum starring Vivek Oberoi and Diya Mirza), Kasi (another depressing one in which he plays a blind man - won him the Filmfare Best Tamil Actor award), Gemini (which features the fabulous song "Oh Podu" and won him the IFTA Best Actor award), Arul (with Southie sweetheart Jyothika) and the much-talked about Pithamagan (which EVERYONE loved and I hated. He was tremendous in it as another handicapped character and yes, he won the Filmfare Tamil Best Actor, National Film Award and Tamil Nadu State Film awards, but it was just SO depressing).
Some of MY favorite movies of his are:
1. Dhool (2003)
This movie had a lot of the same elements as most Tamil movies, the single, angry hero from a small, simple background going after the corrupt politicians, but somehow this one was more fun. Sure, it was enhanced by the fun presence of the leading ladies, Jyothika and Reema Sen, and even more so by the amazing Parvai Muniyamma.
Parvai Muniyamma is a big part of why I loved this movie, because she made the following fight scene 100x better:
The songs in this movie were amazing! We were totally obsessed with them when it came out.
Koduva Meesai was THE hit song at my sister's wedding in 2004 and still got everyone on the dance floor at my wedding a year later. It was awesome because there were Punjabi guys on the dance floor dancing their hearts out and then they suddenly realized they were dancing to a Tamil song! They looked so confused!
I have a weird affection for Reema Sen, I really loved her in Minnale and feel like she has some solid talent, but keeps getting roles like this one. This song is still catchy though:
LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE this song, Aasai Aasai. Get the point?
This movie also has the fabulous comedy stylings of Vivek who enters at about 2:20, and who never fails to make me laugh, and the intense villainy of the amazing Pasupathy (whose role in Kuselan completely blows away Irfan Khan's attempt in the Hindi remake, Billu Barber) who comes in at about 0:44:
All in all, Dhool is a win.
2. Kadhal Sadugudu (2003)
So this film is considered a complete flop, and I don't really get why. I don't really remember the movie in its entirety, but it was a love story, with the overwhelming father (played by the fabulous Prakash Raj) opposing the union. I DO remember the romantic scenes though, and I thought they were fantastic! Memorable, full of intensity, passion and tension. Or maybe I'm just remembering that there was a full-on kiss between Vikram and heroine Priyanka Trivedi.
Highly disturbing though was the fact that they decided to suddenly adapt 80s classic "Yeh Vaada Raha" into tamil???
And yeah, apparently you can watch the movie online. Maybe I'll do a re-watch and see if I still like it.
3. Saamy (2003)
One of my favorites!!! Trisha Krishnan plays a Palghat Iyer brahmin girl, which she is in real life. This was exciting to me because I am too. REPRESENT!
So it's not a new story, Good cop trying to battle corruption and all that. It was still interesting and masala enough to keep one entertained throughout. The BEST thing was of course, the songs!!!
This is me and my husband's SONG. No its not a soft, romantic number. It's a hardcore thappanguthu song. And it is SOOO FUN. The best is the verse in which he says she looks yummy and talks nice, can she cook yummy too? And she replies that she can make a special lentil dish for him if he wishes. He says "Did I ask you for prasadam (food offered to God for blessings)? Can you cook any spicy rice dishes?" and she says she can make spicy pepper rasam and preserves/pickle really well and for him to try it. He then says "Can you make crab? Can you make Chicken? Can you make Leg of Goat soup?" and she ends up telling him to check out her waist, it's nice and hot! HAHAHA.
My other favorite song in this movie is Pudichirikku - I used to LOVE this song!
And of course the signature hero entry song:
4. Majaa (2005)
I really, really liked this movie. It was SO different from what I expected Vikram to do following the success of Anniyan, which I will talk about shortly. But the story was different and sort of fun! And it also starred the super amazing Pasupathy and one of my favorite senior actors, Manivannan. Manivannan and his two sons, Pasupathy and Vikram, are former petty criminals trying to mend their ways. Pasupathy has a harder time than Vikram adjusting (kind of like how Jasper Hale is having a harder time becoming an emo sparkly vegetarian vampire than Edward Cullen. You know you want to read Twilight). They come across our heroine, Asin, while trying to help a friend. She's the daughter of our villain, and in fighting each other, she and Vikram fall in love. Of course Daddy Dearest isn't too happy at first, but once he realizes that they sincerely love each other, he agrees to arrange the marriage. However an accusation during the wedding could possibly separate the happy couple! GASP! Did Pasupathy fall back to his old ways?
Again, the songs!!!
This number was the most popular from the movie, and the most racy too. Coincidence?
This a really great, peppy, fun dance number:
Honestly, it's a tough call as to whether Vikram or Pasupathy is really the star of this movie.
5. Anniyan (2005)
Anniyan is THE ultimate Vikram movie. It was apparently inspired by the Sidney Sheldon novel 'Tell Me Your Dreams', which I have never read. It won 8 Filmfare (South) awards, including Best Tamil Actor for Vikram. I'm surprised Vikram's nickname wasn't changed to Ambi or Remo after this movie. His characters are incredible. Ambi is meek, sweet and pitiable. Remo is annoyingly cool and Westernized, and, well ... you'll just have to see. Sada has a good solid role as his love interest, Nandini. Prakash Raj shows his usual brilliance in the Police Chief role, and Vivek provides some of his hilarious comedy in a side role. It's a fantastic psychological thriller, borderline crazy at some parts, but has a good backstory, mythology, etc. There are heartbreaking moments, side-stiching moments, cover-your-eyes-scary moments, etc. It definitely requires a certain suspension of belief, but if you're an Indian movie fan, that should be a given. I have seen this movie at least 4-5 times and I just don't get sick of it.
And of course, the brilliant songs!!!
(scroll in a little to get to the song)
There's A LOT of SPOILER clips on the ErosTamil YouTube Channel ... this one has subtitles but is super-duper spoilery, so don't check it out unless you aren't planning to see the movie (which you REALLY should, it's fantastic).
Here's a scene where Vikram's acting totally broke my heart into little pieces. Non-spoilery and subtitled too.
I have to give special mention to the movie Bheema, which was his most recent release before Kandhasamy and Raavanan. The songs were EXCELLENT and most of the movie was pretty good too, it's just the ending that threw me for a loop. But Bheema's songs are worth checking out, especially Ragasiya Kanavugal and Mudhal Mazhai.
I recently saw the tamil version of Raavan (Raavanan) which starred Vikram in the title role of Veera (Abhishek Bachchan plays the role in the Hindi version) and this, like Anniyan, is a movie where you can watch him go through the whole spectrum of emotion in a moment. He had incredible chemistry with his co-star Aishwariya Rai, and really made the character of Veera believable and likeable. I'm excited to see the hindi version, in which he plays the opposite role of Dev, the police man. And I also hope that now that a larger audience has seen the talent he possesses, the scripts that come his way in the future will be more refined and showcase him as the mature, dedicated and powerful actor that he is.