I was 8 when I saw the original Vikram. My mind couldn't grasp the world of stolen nuclear warheads, undercover agents and the implications of national security. But the excitement the film generated in me was palpable. The plot was truly national, well, if you'll allow me, truly international (though, where's the Kingdom of Salamia?). While Rajini was churning out the likes of Padikkadhavan & Raja Chinna Roja,  Kamal fed the sophisticated mind; the foreign-return Rajini of Rajadhi Raja is not in the same league as foreign-return Madan of Michael Madana Kamarajan.

I listen to his interviews and the man's cinema intelligence shines through. He pushed the boundaries of acting and story telling in the 80s and the 90s. Since then, he's decided to serve only the whistle podum maasu. It's quite unfortunate that all of his smartness is channeled into grinding the idli batter that he ground decades ago. At least 35 years ago, in the original Vikram, he served us fresh idlis.

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