Thursday, May 22, 2008

Age in action

Hollywood has finally acknowledged that action heroes who sell are like good wine, they get better with age.


That ageing action heroes still rule the roost has been proved by the critical acclaim Harrison Ford and his Indiana Jones and The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull received at Cannes, where it premiered last Sunday, and is expected to be this year's biggest summer blockbuster.

The film - which sees the 65-year-old Harrison Ford return to the role of Indiana Jones after a 19-year gap was praised by the world media, reportedly garnering a three-and-a-half minute standing ovation by the select few who were invited to watch it, according to a Hollywood trade publication.

Before the screening, huge crowds gathered to catch a glimpse of the movie's super hero Harrison Ford, who is quoted as saying, “I expect to have the whip turned on me. I'm not really worried about it. I work for the people who pay to get in. They are my customers and my focus is on providing the best experience I can for those people.” According to Hollywood websites, the film and its hero have received a resounding thumbs-up from critics known to pan popular entertainers. Noted critic Derek Malcom in his review has surprisingly given three out of five for this film. The film's director, the legendary Steven Spielberg (62) has hinted that he and producer, the iconic George Lucas (63) may take a fifth installment of the world's most popular action adventure Indiana Jones with Harrison Ford!

All this is great news for Kollywood's ageing action heroes who are still in their mid 50s - the likes of Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan, Sarath Kumar and Arjun (44). These heroes have been around for more than 20 years, and are still the best in business. It reiterates the fact that like Hollywood's dad army - Harrison Ford, Sylvester Stallone (62) and Bruce Willis (53), our ageing stars have audiences' faith in them. “The Tamil audiences have grown up on Rajini sir and Kamal sir and they are still the poster boys for today's youth in the 16 to 25 age group as they have reached iconic status,” says director K S Ravikumar, who has worked with both the stars.

Just as older action heroes in Hollywood are facing stiff competition from younger and fit action heroes like Tom Cruise, Orlando Bloom and Jason Statham, in Kollywood too, stars like Vijay, Ajit and Surya in their mid 30s are giving the bigger superstars a run for their money. However, the bottom line is that younger action heroes worldwide are not in the same league or as charismatic and hot as the older guys who are all mega-brands with audiences of all ages.

Hollywood's ageing super heroes have the best of make-up men, stunts and fitness personnel monitoring round the clock their sagging skin, creaking bones, thinning hair, paunches, and back problems. The grapevine says that Ford was given air-brushing, his looks were digitally enhanced. This is afterall the world of make believe and our ageing stars too have been given digital make-overs for that youthful, debonair look and make their death-defying action scenes look natural and real on screen. The Kollywood buzz is that Shankar is going to give a totally new look to Rajinikanth in his forthcoming Robot. The director has already teamed with hair designer Bhanu and bought the latest expensive wigs from US for the star. Unlike in earlier days, technology can help a star hide his age and look smarter and more dashing on screen.

Though Rajinikanth's public appearances show his age, it never shows on screen. The trade attributes the success of Sivaji to Rajinikanth's young and charming looks in the film.

Shankar has spent a lot of time and energy to see that he could play the character he plays in the film. The buzz is that the actor keeps to a strict diet, consisting mainly of vegetarian food. Kamal, on the other hand, regularly works out and is very particular on how he looks on screen. Sarath Kumar also works out daily and is an actor who performs action scenes with a lot of conviction. So, while it might seem that size does matter, age definitely doesn't!


No comments: