Category: Life


South Indian film actors are an obsessive lot. For them and their fans, a title is the mark of an actor’s success. If they are to be believed, any actor without a title hasn’t been up there yet. It has become an absolute necessity to possess one. Therefore we have many superstars, megastars, universal stars, a thalaivar, a thalapathy, an illai thalapathy and what not. Even the most “intellectual” actors don’t mind keeping one. Kamal Hassan is Dr. Kamal Hassan. Mammootty is Padma Shri Bharath Mammootty and Mohanlal is Bharath Mohanlal.

Little do Mammootty and Mohanlal know that the title “Bharath” was removed long ago before either of them had won the National Award for Best Actor. In fact the last person to receive the title “Bharath” was Gopi. And ever since he has been known as Bharath Gopi. Imagine Tom Hanks being called Oscar Hanks, Russell Crowe – Oscar Crowe and Sean Penn – Oscar Penn. But then there are exceptions even in the West too, albeit a bit dignified, Sean Connery is Sir Sean Connery!

What about the South Indian actresses? With the exception of Silk Smitha, Shakeela and Co., I have never seen any title for mainstream actress until today. It was a poster of the movie Drona (not the AB-Chops one). The poster shouted “High voltage action” (burp). And then there was this extremely thoughtful line (kudos to the producer and the marketing guys) “The hot buxom beauty Priyamani in Drona”. So what if Priyamani had won the National Award for Best Actress in 2007, Tamil Nadu State Award for the Best Actress the same year, and two Filmfare Awards; for some her awards still fall well short of her physical attributes.

Woodsgate

Woods was only trying his best to make golf a non-sexist game. Long before GOLF became Golf, it stood for Gentlemen Only Ladies Forbidden. Poor Woods now has to spend rest of his life in wilderness.

Kannan

Kannan is quite unusual for his size. He’s a charmer. Quiet, restrained and gentle, he has a majestic aura around him when he walks to you. But it disappears once you get to see him completely. Chained and flanked by three mahouts, he’s one of the 15 elephants that have come down to Tripunithura for the Vrischikha Utsavam.

His full name is Jayaram Kannan. He got the prefix from his owner – actor Jayaram. I am not too crazy about elephants unlike many others in this festive town but I have started a liking for him. And it is all because of my niece, Durga. Barely 3 years old, she has heard a lot about elephants from her grandmother. The first time she saw Kannan, she asked “Where’s the tailor?” reminding me the story of the tailor and the elephant.

When the daily temple rituals and other festivities get over, Kannan comes to take rest in an open place, a few metres away my home. Here he refreshes by guzzling gallons of water down his throat and then feeding on coconut leaves and bananas. The sight is worth watching.

Last night the mahout told me they are leaving to another temple. Kannan was there standing in his full glory, having his dinner. Little did he know about what would lie ahead. First, he’ll have to walk 5 kilometres where a truck will be waiting for him. He’ll be loaded and packed off in this truck to the other temple. This must be the last of what I’ve seen of Kannan this year.

On the way home from the temple, I felt extremely sad on the thought of him being chained and pushed into the truck. But I couldn’t do anything. Festivals will come and go and elephants will always suffer for our pleasures till death transcends their agony in our world.