Tamil Cinema has the singular trait of cherishing the popularity of two heroes at a time.
It was M.K.Thiagaraja Bagavadhar and P.U.Chinnappa at one point of time in the forties and early fifties. Then from the middle fifties,the centre stage was occupied by M.G.R and Sivaji to be taken over later by Rajini and Kamal. But there always remained a third potential contender coming in between the two or joining either of them for a rightful share of his place.During the days of M.K.T and P.U.C it was T.R.Mahalingam who with his scintillating voice modulation and singing charm, kept the audience spell-bound,in his own distinct way.
Afterwards, S.S.Rajendran successfully intercepted the film career of M.G.R and Sivaji,at times joining them for a meaty role and then taking a special platform for himself, as an actor known for clear and vibrant dialogue delivery and as a rationalistic social reformer. Soon, his place was claimed by Gemini Ganesan,the embodiment of enchanting romance with warmth and grace.He acted in a number of films with Sivaji, choosing to do only one movie with MGR[Mugarasi] He proved to be a favoured actor for directors like C.V Sridhar and K.Balachander.
Then came an actor of high calibre in the form of Muthuraman who successfully appeared with Sivaji for many movies and a couple of films with MGR too.Later he joined hands with Jai shankar and Ravichandran who remained as the duo of Tamil Cinema for some time.When Muthuraman;s wings fell for a while,it was Sivakumar,an actor reputed for roles of refinement and softness who took over the realm in between Jaishankar and Ravichandran.
Rajini and Kamal became the high sensations of Tamil Cinema from the late seventies on wards For some time they shared the screen space together without giving room for rancour,But then, their pathways of acting became more and more challenging and so they decided to part ways and began to create records of kinds, one as the superstar and the other as the world class hero .Even during their days, Satyaraj joined them as a villain actor of great fame, to turn later into a multi talented actor fit to don all kinds of roles.The same Satyaraj later acted with Prabu in quite a few movies when Prabu and Karthik were the two heroes of a time.Prabu and Karthik themselves have acted together in some movies. When Vijayakanth and Sarathkumar were the two heroes,Vijayakumar joined Sarath as an excellent team character.
With the emergence of young heroes in Tamil film industry,there is no in- between today,because the number of heroes is increasing at an exciting rate.We have directors'sons, and actors'sons adorning the hero's mantle, day in and day out. Besides, we have the directors themselves of films and music testing their capacity for turning into heroes.So long one is ready to adorn the grease and act with ease,Tamil Cinema will have as many heroes as possible without a chance for the third.