Tamil cinema's singing actors
The sight of a haloed M K Thyagaraja Bhagavathar or P U Chinnappa at their vocal best was what set Tamil cinema going. Today, actors with top billing do one-off songs or an entire album, if it suits their fancy. Here are a few:
Who wouldn't get all teary eyed at the heart-wrenching Thenpandi Cheemaiyile from Naayagan, or Mada Vilakke from Virumandi?
The actor has always been the quintessential all-rounder, singing and dancing to perfection when a lot of his contemporaries shied away from the mike.
Maestro Ilaiyaraja made the most of Kamal, who could sing difficult classical compositions and filmi numbers with equal ease. Listen to the first few lines of Inji Iduppazhagi from Devar Magan and you will see that when it comes to singing, he is a star apart.
Image: Kamal Haasan
This popular actor made the decision to jump onto the (rather rare) singing bandwagon early on, notably in his father's productions.
Vijay's singing voice isn't a particularly melodious one, but he can hold simple tunes and you can see that he's played to his strengths, judging by numbers like Thodabetta Rottukkulle from Rasigan, Akhila Akhila from Nerukku Ner, or Ennoda Laila from Badri. The last mentioned was quite popular, largely because of the presentation, and the peppy tune.
Simbhu has always considered himself the cool guy, able to do anything from eye-popping stunts to exhibition of star power, and singing is no different.
The actor is beginning to test his abilities, and despite being no singing protege, has given some peppy tunes that suits his rather raspy voice -- a heart-tugging number -- in Manasellam from Kulir 100 Degree, and Thannee Karuthiruchi from Ennai Theriyuma. Then there are the chartbusters from Silambattam as well.
Now, news is afloat that he's going to croon for Ajith in Asal.
With genuine acting talents and a star power to match, it seemed that only one thing lacking for this actor is a singing portfolio. Now that too has come to fruition with the release of Kandhasamy's album tuned by Devi Sri Prasad in which Vikram has sung all the songs.
The numbers are all enthusiastic and uncomplicated with more importance to rhythm than melody. And Vikram has done full justice to them all.
Yet another actor who's joined the singing brigade recently is Dhanush, crooning for his brother Selvaraghavan's movie Aayirathil Oruvan.
The sensuous Unmela Aasathan is already making waves, and Dhanush looks like he's having a ball. Rumours are that he'll be singing for Arya in Madraspattinam as well.
Accompanying Dhanush in Aayirathil Oruvan is actress Andrea Jeremiah, singing quite a few numbers in a voice that seems capable of blending melody with catchy beats.
Maalai Neram is a romantic, bitter-sweet number, while others are equally appealing.
Image: Andrea Jeremiah