The Indian film industry as a vehicle of thought and action has travelled far from a state of taboo to that of dynastic deployment. Tamil cinema is no exception to this dynastic journey.'The taste of the pudding is in its making', goes the maxim.The bark of a tree will definitely carry some of its form . Similarly, many children of film personalities step into the shoes of their parents with a prefixed fitness of body and mind.
Two men adorned grease for the first time in the early eighties to launch a confident career in acting in the name of dynasty.One was Prabhu,the son of fabulous Sivaji Ganeasn and the other M.Karthik, the thespian heir of R.Muthuraman,the actor comrade of Sivaji Ganesan For Prabu,the starting was not that easy,because,his first movie 'Sangili' with his lion brand father, failed to project him as a powerful product of the Sivaji dynasty. But Karthik began his career with a bang in 'Alaigal Oivdhillai' with the blessings of the best film maker Barathi Raja. Emulating their paternal team spirit in acting, Prabhu and Karthik initially acted together in a few films of which ManiRathnam's 'AgniNatchathram' became a super hit and fetched the film fare award for Karthik. Moreover, Karthik had already stolen the hearts of film goers as a rugged and charming youngster with a brief appearance, in ManiRathnam's first success show 'Mouna Ragam'.
With Prabhu,the expectations were always higher because of the monumental acting grade he was supposed to inherit from his father.This should have put Prabhu in a fix, during the initial years. Though he acted nearly ten movies with his father,it was 'Vellai Roja' that gave him an identity of his own on account of the interesting story line and his scope for acting.The other movies that gave him the much needed break were,'Kanni Rasi','En Thangachi Padichava','Palaivana Rojakkal', 'Chinna Thambi Peria Thambi' 'Agni Natchthiram' and 'Ninaivuchinnam'.
But it was P.Vasu's block buster 'Chinna Thambi' that became the magnum opus for Prabhu. The film was a celebration in innocence,a story of romance without the usual romantic formula.It was a family entertainer with the massive musical support from the maestro Ilayaraja. This movie placed Prabhu in an invincible position as the most endearing actor whose bubbly cheeks with a delighting dimple, made him the darling of a vast section of the audience with an overnight wind in his favour. Prabhu also got the Tamil Nadu Govt.'s best actor award for his stunning performance in 'Chinna Thambi' The greatness of Prabhu is his ever genial looks reflecting the eternal presence of the sanguine humour in his acting mood, unlike his father who could merge all the four humours [Sanguine, choler.melancholy and phlegm] at one stroke.
Karthik's sucess show became more evident with a flow of awards for his performance in movies like 'Varusham Pathinaru' and 'Kizhakku Vasal',the former, winning the Filmfare award and the latter,both the Filmfare and the State Govt.Award for best actor. Karthic's role in 'Chinna Jameen' as an innocent man,branded as mentally disabled, by his brutal relatives who usurped the Jameen, won the sympathy of the viewers. However,after the success of 'Kizhakku Vaasal',Karthik was cast in similar roles in films like 'Deiva Vakku' and 'Paandi Naatu Thangam' He was awarded again for his best performance in films like 'Ponnumani' and 'Pooveli.'Karthik always revels in his role performance and creates a breezy,felicitous focus on his acting style.Very often he made it a soothing process in movies like 'Rojavanam','Pooveli' and 'Gokulathil Seedhai'.He was equally lucky to start his career under the stewardship of an artistic and aesthetic creator like Barathi Raja. Again he came under eminent directors like Fazil,R.V Udhayakumar and Agathyan and he could do a few films under the Kavthalaya banner also.
The two heroes could not escape their wonderful stint in comedy, with Karthik's strange voice modulation leading to hilarious moments and Prabhu's body and mind translating his gusto in to a robust show of humour.It was Sundar.C who drew the comic spirit in Karthik for a rib tickling comedy parade with Goundamani, through a series of confusion of identities in 'Ullathai Allitha',a sweet reminder of the Sivaji-Chandrababu's 'Sabash Meena' an ever green comedy of the fifties shown in a similar vein. Karthik continued this comedy spirit in movies like 'Mettukkudi' 'Pistha' and 'Harischandra.' Prahbu teamed up with Radha Ravi to make a wonderful road show of comedy in 'Chinna Mappillai.'His comedy outbursts were equally enjoyable in 'Vetri Vizha'Vasool Raja MBBS 'Arangetravelai' and 'My Dear Marthandan' the first two with Kamalahasan as hero. Prabu did not miss the chance to create hilarious scenes with the Superstar in Gurusishyan and later he also did the two serious movies Dharmathin Thalaivan and Chandramugi with Rajinikanth.
Both Prabhu and Karthik took the audience by surprise by their remarkable performance as advocates in a special appearance,the former as a drunken sober lawyer in 'Pryanka' and the latter as a sprightly and spontaneous legal professional in 'Devan'. They again shared the screen space for the fairly popular film'Thai Porandachu' and then in 'Gusthi' that came a cropper While Prabhu is still busy acting in character roles,Karthik for reasons not known,is not seen much on the screen. Prabhu may have in his archives many other popular films like 'Uzhavan' 'Tirunelveli' ' 'Duet' ''Panjalangurichi' 'Parambarai','Periya Kudumbam','Vietnam Colony''Sethamizh Paattu, 'Uthama purushan' [a reminder of his father's 'Iruvar Ullam'] 'Thamirabarani' and 'Vanna Thamizh Paattu'.Karthik's folder might include 'Amaran' 'Seenu','Anandha Poongaatre'' 'Sandhitha Velai' and 'Unnidathil Ennai Koduthen'. Prabhu's acting zeal has not petered out on account of ageing. Hope Karthik also continues to do a cameo on the big screen, now and then.