If you think, our audiences have changed with times and they no longer support the cliched brother-sentiment subjects anymore, then you are wrong. Thala Ajith’s previous blockbuster film Vedalam (2015) attracted family audiences mainly because of the underlying sister sentiment. When a hero is projected as someone who fights for his family or friends, audiences consider him as one among them.
Though Ghilli and Thirumalai gave the much needed commercial action hero image to ‘Thalapathy’ Vijay, it was Thiruppachi (with strong sister sentiments) which took him to the heart of ‘B’ and ‘C’ center audiences. After Thiruppachi, Vijay uses "Thangachi" sentiment wherever possible in his films that some random character would call him ‘Anna’ in films e.g. Velayutham, Thuppakki, Theri, and Kaththi.
In the current generation heroes, Vijay has been constantly giving more importance to brother-sister sentiment but if we look at the history, Rajinikanth used the same technique in his early days. Rajinikanth’s most celebrated cult classic film ‘Mullum Malarum’ portrayed the poignant bond between a brother and sister. Rajinikanth still has the letter of appreciation from his Guru Balachander, who raved about Rajinikanth’s performance in the film. Superstar also used the sibling attraction in films like Maapilai, Naan Sigappu Manithan, Padayappa, Annamalai and many other hit flicks. Not only Rajinikanth, Vijay and Ajith, legendary actors like Sivaji Ganesan(Pasamalar) and MGR(Ninaithathai Mudippavan) are masters in playing dutiful brother characters.
Mostly, the one liner of Tamil films with sister-brother sentiment will be of two types—either the hero would take revenge against the villains, who ruined the life of his sister (action) or the protagonist would be sacrificing all his wealth for his sister’s well-being(sets up a perfect plot for drama)
In those days, movies are the only entertainment factor for women audiences and not all family were wealthy enough to afford TV at home. So ladies in villages and small towns had the habit of visiting theaters and if they play their favorite ‘family/sister sentiment’ genre, you can expect nothing but a blockbuster. Several films of T Rajendar celebrated silver jubilee because of sister-brother sentiment.
But even in this internet era, sister-brother sentiment will definitely work at the box office because youngsters can only bring good opening at the box office but to set a new record, attracting family audiences is must and in order to do that, the sister-brother sentiment is a key ingredient.
- Rajasekar S