The rise of the third generation son from the DMK family
By Sreedhar Pillai
One of the most prominent names in the power list of Kollywood today is Udhayanidhi Stalin, grandson of former chief minister and DMK supremo M Karunanidhi and the son of MK Stalin, DMK’s heir apparent.
Udhayanidhi Stalin and his banner Red Giant Movies are the leading producers and distributors in Tamil cinema. He started as a producer with Vijay’s Kuruvi, became a distributor and finally launched himself as a hero with 2012 super-hit romcom Oru Kal Oru Kannadi (OKOK). In the industry he is considered to be a person who understands the nuances of Tamil commercial cinema and what sells at the box-office.
Now Udhayanidhi, said to be Karunanidhi’s favourite grandson, is all set for the release of his second film as hero - Idhu Kathirvelan Kadhal (IKK). He is paired opposite Nayanthara, the numero uno female lead in Tamil cinema. This rom-com has him playing a Hanuman Bhakt, who finally succumbs to the lure of a beautiful girl.
The DMK strongman M Karunanidhi has a six-decade long association with Tamil cinema, which go hand in hand with politics in the state, as a script writer. Now the third generation of the Karunanidhi family is firmly entrenched in show business. Udhayanidhi was the first in his generation followed by former DMK union minister and now estranged son of Karunanidhi MK Alagiri’s son Dhayanidhi Alagiri as producer and distributor through his Cloud Nine. It was followed by Arulnidhi, son of Karunanidhi’s youngest son, M K Thamizharasu, as hero with Vamsam.
There is a belief in Dravidian politics that Tamil cinema is the gateway to political power in the state. Incidentally, Udhayanidhi's father MK Stalin has himself acted in a couple of movies, and a TV serial that was aired on cousin Kalanithi Maran's run Sun TV years ago.
Today Udhayanidhi Stalin has emerged as a successful producer, distributor and actor in Kollywood. His Red Giants have tremendous clout and reach among the distributors and exhibitors and have a proven track record of hits. He has a long running battle with the Jayalalithaa government over denial of entertainment tax exemption for films produced under his banner. In Tamil Nadu films with Tamil titles and ‘U’ certificate from the censor board are eligible for entertainment tax exemption. Red Giant Movies had filed a petition in the Madras High Court, questioning the state government’s decision to appoint a committee to evaluate the eligibility of films which come up for tax exemption.
Udhayanidhi has emerged as a saleable star with OKOK. His real acid test would be his second film as hero Idhu Kathirvelan Kathal (This is Kathirvel’s love) a romantic comedy film written and directed by SR Prabhakaran, whose last release Sundarapandian was a super hit. SR Prabhakaran said: “The film is a romcom and has all essential ingredients like romance, love, sentiments and good songs. The film is targeted at the family audiences and should work at the box-office.”
IKK is said to be a breezy and humorous family entertainer, which also has the reigning Czar of comedy, Santhanam playing the pivotal role of hero’s best friend and advisor on matters of love. The soundtrack by popular music director Harris Jayaraj is ruling the charts. The film released big on Friday (February 14) in nearly 450 screens worldwide, for the Valentine weekend.
In an exclusive interview to First Post Udhayanidhi Stalin said: “I always loved movies from childhood. I come from a political family and need not take the film route to enter politics. I have no political ambitions and I’m happy producing, distributing or acting in my own productions.”
Udhayanidhi says he also took a decision not to go for the “angry action hero” image, which most people prefer to become a star or mass hero. Udhay says: “I have a boy next door image in my films, which has worked to my advantage at the box-office. I never want to be a larger than life action hero. My films are meant for the family audiences and will have humour, sentiments laced with good songs.”
And in IKK, Udhay is wooing the family audiences as the film is all about the emotional relationship between a father and his son, and packaged as a rom-com. If IKK turns out to be a hit, he will go up Tamil cinema’s rating charts, as a saleable hero.
In real life Udhayanidhi is a happy family man with two children. He is married to Kiruthiga who herself directed Vanakkam Chennai, a feel good love story, which was produced by her husband. The star concludes by saying: “I’m here to stay and will continue to do family films. I’m starting my next film by the month end titled Nanbenda, which again is a family entertainer.”
Updated Date: Feb 15, 2014 17:12:59 IST