Looking at Suriya's landmark films
It's a clash of the titans in Tamil cinema this Diwali. The battlelines have been drawn with Vijay's Velayudham and Suriya's 7 Aum Arivu ready to hit the screens next week.
We've had a look at Vijay's path-breaking films, so let's have a dekko at the landmark films in Suriya's career.
The path to success for Suriya has been a slow but steady one. The actor with the boy-next-door image had acted in at least half-a-dozen films before he began to be recognised as a classy actor. When that happened, he won both critical and commercial appreciation in huge measure.
Nerukku Ner (1997)
Suriya's debut film was under the auspices of several greats. It was directed by Vasanth, produced by ace director Mani Ratnam, and co-starred none other than Vijay.
With Kausalya and Simran also part of the star-cast and Deva scoring the music, the ego-clashes and a taut screenplay made this an absorbing movie.
Suriya may not have been the sole hero, but he was noticed.
Image: A still from Nerukku Ner
Poovellaam Kettuppaar (1999)
Yet another Vasanth-directed film, it was the ideal vehicle for Suriya as the male lead.
He starred with Jyothika for the first time here, in the lead. Jyothika, of course, went on to become his wife.
Here, they played the son and daughter of music composers Vijaya Kumar and Nasser respectively. The movie's engaging screenplay required the lovers to find a way of reconciling their families to the match since elopement was simply not on the cards.Suriya's happy-go-lucky turn, laced with plenty of humour, and Deva's catchy songs ensured that the film was a hit.
Image: A still from Poovellaam Kettuppaar
Kaakha Kaakha (2003)
The movie that made Suriya a recognised actor came to him courtesy the woman he would one day marry.
This Gautam Menon film had stirring music by Harris Jeyaraj, but the real reason for its success was the neat screenplay and Suriya's masterly portrayal of a curt police officer for whom duty comes first.
He won accolades for his trim, fit look and became a star almost overnight.
Image: A still from Kaakha Kaakha
Suriya was an established actor by now with a considerable fan following, and proved in this film that his role came first. Vikram played an unruly, violent man who lives in a cemetery, and Suriya played the eternally cheerful and slick talker who made a living conning people into parting with their money.
This was a Suriya never seen before -- the complete abandon with which he waltzed through the role, singing and laughing his way to a tragic end, melted people's hearts. He was paired with Laila and the Bala-directed film became an unprecedented success. Despite the presence of another big star, Suriya managed to shine.
Image: A still from Pithamagan
This A R Murugadoss film raised expectations for all the right reasons. Suriya excelled as the shaven-headed avenger whose bleak eyes could turn murderous in an instant, while also being the charming, successful businessman who discovers love for the first time.
With his altered looks and power-packed performance, Suriya took everyone's breath away and the movie was a blockbuster. It was later remade in Hindi with Aamir Khan in the lead, and was also an enormous success.
Suriya won the Tamil Nadu State Film Special Award for Best Actor that year.
Image: A still from Ghajini
Vaaranam Aayiram (2008)
From a school boy to a college-goer to a man who chases his love all the way to America, and finally an old man who attains the wisdom of life, Suriya was excellent.
In this Gautam Menon film, Suriya turned in a bravura performance. Not surprisingly, the movie fetched him a slew of awards.
Image: A still from Vaaranam Aayiram
Thus far, Suriya had excelled in performance-oriented roles; Ayan was a trend-setter. In this K V Anand film he played an irrepressible smuggler, a man of intelligence who works for a kingpin and derives considerable joy out of it.
The movie had the regulation songs (composed by Harris Jeyaraj) and plenty of romance, humour, and foreign locales, but it was Suriya who stole the show.
Image: A still from Ayan
Raktha Charithram II (2010)
Working in a Ram Gopal Varma film was a different experience, Suriya said, and indeed, this film, a bloody, gory work based on real life characters, follows the rivalry between two men, Surya Narayana Reddy and Prathap Ravi.
Suriya played a man who has sworn vengeance on his enemy and he looked the part with his rugged appearance, the thirst for revenge in his eyes and taunt body language.
The movie did not do too well, but the actor won praises for his acting and for choosing to do a role that showed him in a different light.
Image: A still from Raktha Charithram II