New Delhi: They wear no cape and they have no super powers. Yet people on the streets recognise them on sight, and add superlatives to their names. The actors, nay, superstars from the Tamil, Telugu and Kannada film industry are superheroes to their fans.
Most Indians have heard of the prefix "Superstar" or "Thalaiva" that follows the name of one of the most popular actors in Tamil film industry, Rajinikanth. Then there are "Power star" Pavan Kalyan (Telugu), "Prince" Mahesh Babu (Telugu) and "Golden star" Ganesh (Kannada) as well.
But how do these names stick? Nagashree Rao, a Bangalore-based fan says, "Most of the these titles have been given by fans or fan clubs. For example, Kannada actor Shiva Rajkumar earned the title of 'Hat-trick Hero' when his first three films became blockbuster hits."
While actors with prefixes like "Victory" Venkatesh, "Mega star" Chiranjeevi, "Power star" Seenivasan (yes, there's more than one "power star") and "Supreme star" R Sarathkumar and "Rabel star" Prabhas are common in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka is more fond of prefixing the actors' name with their most popular on-screen characters.
Madhura V Rao, a Bangalore-based dentist and film enthusiast says, "In Kannada film industry, we tend to associate the actors with their on-screen avatars. Hence, 'Sahasa simha' (brave lion) Vishuvardhan, 'Doodhpeda' Diganth and 'Kiccha' Sudeep are some of the examples of our heroes."
That is not all. "Golden star" Ganesh, who was fondly given this name because "any project he touched, turned to gold", "Crazy star" V Ravichandran (origins of this title are not very clear), "Challenging star" Darshan, and "Real star" Upendra.
Curiously enough, Kamal Haasan doesn't boast of a wildly popular prefix (there are several casual 'titles', though). Similarly, newer actors like Siddharth and Dhanush don't have any titles either.
But whatever the trend, these fans seem to be more than happy to put their stars on a pedestal.