Jayam Ravi-starrer Vanamagan is releasing tomorrow, and the trailer has made it apparent that the actor is playing the role of a tribal man who finds himself trying to come to grips with life in the city. The scenes show that the character is bamboozled by technology. The story of a man from the jungle who tries to get used to life in the city to comical effect... Tarzan anyone? Or George of the Jungle perhaps?
This isn’t the first time that a fictional pop figure has inspired a Tamil film director. Here are some of the other Western characters that have seemingly influenced the making of our films:
A young handsome man can be anything but a psycho killer, or at least that’s what the world thought until Robert Bloch wrote Psycho in 1959, which got made into a cult-classic film by the legendary Alfred Hitchcock. Kamal Haasan’s Sigappu Rojakkal in 1978 had him play a similar character. The anti-hero of Nadunisi Naaygal (2011), by Gautham Menon, bears a striking resemblance to Norman Bates too, considering he also talks to a mother who doesn’t exist.
Created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the stories of Sherlock Holmes have, over the years, been made into plays, feature films, direct-to-DVD films and television series. While the detective angle has been something many Tamil films, including Chidambara Rahasiyam (1985), have explored, Mysskin’s upcoming Thupparivaalan seems like a better comparison, considering that it has been reported that Prasanna is playing a faithful sidekick to Vishal’s character, a detective. Surely, it’s got to be Watson?
Yet another character taken out of a novel, Jason Bourne is a Foreign Service Officer who loses his memory, only to restart a new life with the aim to figure out his past. Kamal Haasan’s Vetri Vizha (1989) is also about a cop who goes undercover, gets shot, and loses his memory.
This British spy is known for a few things: his “shaken, not stirred” martini cocktails, beautiful girls, the uber-cool gadgets and of course, being the inspiration for countless films across the globe. As far as Tamil cinema is concerned, the character of a sophisticated spy has resulted in quite a few films The 1970 Jaishankar-starrer, CID Shankar, comes to mind. Or how about Kamal Haasan’s Vikram?
The idea of stealing from the rich and giving to the poor is an age-old Tamil cinema trope. Right from MGR’s Malaikkallan (1954) to Rajinikanth’s Sivaji (2007), the story of a hero, who takes from the rich and passes it on to the poor, is one many movies have been made on.
This cult character from Scarface is a refugee, who rises from being a petty criminal to becoming a dreaded gangster. Sounds quite similar to our own David Billa, especially in Billa 2? The iconic climax scene in which Al Pacino finishes all his enemies with a gun is also replicated in the Ajith-starrer.
Romeo and Juliet
One of the greatest love stories ever written, this Shakespearean tragedy has inspired countless films across the globe. The idea of a couple deciding to be together in death has given its share of Tamil hits. Some examples include Kilinjalgal (1981), Punnagai Mannan (1986), and more recently, Mynaa (2010).