Dhanush is one of the most bankable stars down South. Known for his ability to transform into any role, Dhanush’s latest venture Karnan has opened to critical and commercial acclaim.
Here, we are taking a look at some of the most celebrated performances by Dhanush.
A gripping film by Vetrimaaran about caste-based discrimination and violence, Asuran saw Dhanush play a nuanced role as a father and son. He portrayed a helpless older farmer, who goes on the run with his family after his short-tempered son kills an upper-caste landlord. Dhanush also received the Best Actor Honour at the 67th National Film Awards for his unforgettable performance in Asuran.
Another example of Dhanush and Vetrimaaran’s magical collaboration, Vada Chennai saw Dhanush exploring his range and pushing his boundaries as an actor. He played Anbu, a skilled carrom player, who gets dragged into a gang war. The heart of the film lies in Dhanush’s ability to play the multiple layers of his character and how an underdog rose to become the people’s messiah. Dhanush received a lot of critical praise for the film.
Despite being his second film, Dhanush took up an unconventional role as a young man obsessed with a girl who doesn’t love him back. He collaborated with his brother Selvaraghavan in this gritty psychological thriller. The film was a success at the box office but Dhanush’s performance received the most attention. Even though this film isn’t mentioned as much as his more recent ventures, Kadhal Kondein cemented Dhanush as an actor with range.
Despite not being a successful box-office venture, Pollathavan saw Dhanush bring a simplistic charm to his character. He received a lot of appreciation by critics for his performance. The 2007 film told the story of a simple boy Prabhu, who gets thrown into an extraordinary adventure when his bike gets stolen. Pollathavan was Vetrimaaran’s directorial debut and the beginning of many collaborations with the actor.
Dhanush won the pan-Indian audience with his performance in Aanand L Rai’s Raanjhanaa. The actor played Kundan, a young man obsessed with his high-school sweetheart. The film was a commentary of religious bigotry and the deadly side of politics. However, many people still talk about how it glorified the ‘unrequited love’ or obsession of the main character. Even though it is a frequent topic of debates, including actors Abhay Deol and Swara Bhasker admitting to its problematic aspects, Dhanush’s excellent performance in the film cannot be ignored.
Bharat Bala’s 2013 film Maryan was another film that didn’t do well at the box office but is memorable because of Dhanush’s performance. Essentially a love story at heart, Maryan is about a protagonist who goes to Sudan to work in an oil rig but gets kidnapped and held hostage by terrorists. The rescue drama saw Dhanush unleash his vulnerable side. With an equally strong performance by Parvathy, the film is heart wrenching and optimistic at the same time.
Vetrimaaran’s Aadukulam gave Dhanush his first National Award for Best Actor. Based on the tradition of rooster-rearing and fighting that is prevalent in some states of India, Aadukulam tells the story of a respectable rooster-fighter Pettaikaran who gets challenged by his prodigy Kurup in a fight. Despite the set-up being so simple, the events that happen next make the film an unforgettable watch. Aadukalam is considered a game-changer for Dhanush.
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