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.