Many directors take the center stage as actors after establishing their status as popular filmmakers. However, only few actors take to direction after earning name and fame as stars.
Dhanush has done it all – acting, singing, producing, penning lyrics, writing, and directing – in a career spanning a decade and a half.
A side note: Raj Kapoor and Kamal Haasan began their careers as child artists before making a dive into the world of cinema as all-embracing geniuses.
The real Power Paandi is Dhanush himself. He has come a long way. From being a scrawny teenager to becoming one of the A-list stars of Tamil cinema, Dhanush has crossed every stage with much elan.
Nobody remembers the list of actors who debuted in the 2002 smash hit, Thulluvadho Ilamai, barring Dhanush, Sherlin, and Abhinay. Sherlin and Abhinay are still struggling to get noticed in mainstream cinema, whereas the slimy Mahesh from that movie has gone on to star in, and produce, National Award winning movies.
Though Dhanush has acted in films made by Selvaraghavan, Balu Mahendra, Vetrimaaran, R. Balki, K. V. Anand, Anand L. Rai, and Gautham Menon, his first film as a director has an original voice. It doesn’t resemble any of the films he has been a part of. Usually, a director’s ‘original voice’ gets replaced by his / her ‘mentor’s voice’ somewhere along the way, but ‘Poetu’ Dhanush has successfully managed to sidestep these tropes.
Is this a deliberate attempt? It’s too early to notice the signs. We’ll need to wait and see a couple more films, made by him, to understand his vocabulary.
The subject Dhanush has picked up is not a unique one. Nevertheless, it stands out for its freshness. Rajkiran, the protagonist of Pa. Paandi, is a 64-year-old single man who’s not-so-content with his adult-life. He feels he’s been caged in a house with his son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren with nothing to do. He was an action choreographer in his youth. Now, he's in his 60s. People his age, read newspapers and, go for a walk in the morning. Paandi is not a regular senior citizen. He helps young lovers by turning into a post-man for their love letters, and stands his ground to send a dozen men into the air with kicks and punches. He’s a do-gooder loved by everybody except by his son.
Who would have thought that a star actor would choose Rajkiran to essay the lead role for his directorial debut? Couldn’t he have written a story for himself? He does appear in a lengthy cameo (young Paandi) in the latter half. Still, that doesn’t take away from the fact that he has created something unique for his film. He might be testing the waters for now. If my guess is right, he’ll rope in other actors for his future projects. And he may not even play a cameo in them. He’ll just sit back in his ‘Director Chair’ and handle the behind-the-scenes aspects of his movies. That doesn’t mean he’ll put a full stop to his acting career. He’ll keep pushing the boundaries for himself and make it hard for his contemporaries to reach him.
Dhanush has already been lauded for his various set of skills. Even then, he won’t stop there, will he? He’ll wear many more hats and bring many more glories to Indian cinema.
Cheers to that!
Written by - Karthik Keramalu
Watch Fully Filmy's Pa Pandi 2-minute review