Anchor to box-office raker: Demystifying the 'Sivakarthikeyan phenomenon'

Sivakarthikeyan's success story is not an all-smiles one, the more he failed the more he grew closer towards cinema.


If it takes you 10 years and 20 films to be an A-lister in the film industry, you are either bluffing or you have to be Sivakarthikeyan. 
On his 37th birthday, DTNext attempts to demystify the 'Sivakarthikeyan phenomenon', who in a relatively short period has earned the moniker "Mr Reliable" in the film business.
"Siva chooses safer movies, and that's the reason for his success" is a simplistic theory. It would not be wrong to say that he hasn't trapped deep into cliches but is also not a careless risk-taker. This balancing act has rightfully justified his rise to stardom.
Sivakarthikeyan's success story is not an all-smiles one, the more he failed, the more he grew closer towards cinema.
Multi-starrer hero to solo hero:
Early films of his like Marina, Manamkothi Paravai and Kedi Billa Killadi Ranga, either a natural choice or a conscious downplay, Siva let his supporting characters have some fun while he took a step back. These movies, we believe, gave him the much needed time to assess himself and do a bit of SWOT analysis to understand what people expect from him and how people like to see him. Then came his plunge into solo hero subjects like Ethir Neechal and Maan Karate, movies with solid comedy scenes but the hero is not a comic-hero anymore but a heroic-hero. 
Gaining and losing weight the Tamil hero way:
Tasting success with turning into a blood-dripping, slo-mo fighting hero in Maan Karate's climax, Siva would have guessed people want to see more of him fighting as well along with his humour. He gained weight to play a cop in Kaaki Sattai, a radical decision for his stature back then. A police role is something that would even make top stars break sweat pondering over how well they would suit for the role, but the then four-five films old Siva made a neat job of it. He also dropped considerable weight to fit into the role of Regina Motwani, the nurse in Remo. 
Beckoning of the B and C centres:
While Sivakarthikeyan has been experimenting on his physique, he was also switching back and forth between urban and rural films. His bid to be relatable to both the city and village audience was a resounding success. It is with Ponram's Varuthapadatha Valibar Sangam and Rajini Murugan, Siva gave a out a message that he means business. These two rural comedy films saw the actor make inroads into the box-office.
With success comes responsibility:
Amazed at Siva's ability to display variations at a really early stage in his career, Superstar Rajinikanth wished the actor for his nurse role in Remo saying, "a star is born". But the film didn't just receive love, Siva was criticised for normalising stalking in the film. He was also looked unfavourably for the regular heroine-cursing 'sarakku song' in his movies. He could have easily brushed off these criticisms as these movies were money-spinners. But he did make a brave move not to play roles stalking the leading lady and curse her in a tipsy. His call to primarily cater to the family audience and kids is the lynchpin of his stardom. 
Lessons learnt in misfires:
Like they say, "too much of anything is bad", Sivakarthikeyan learnt this maxim from films like Hero, Seemaraja and Mr Local. Mr Local being a banal, cut and dried hero-loves-heroine-hates-hero-persuades formula film, this Rajesh M film stands as a proof that every formula comes with an expiry date. Same goes with Seemaraja, too much of Ponramisms and a terrible attempt to recreate the Soori-SK magic. While people commonly think that superhero films are a jinx to Tamil cinema, we believe the reason for Hero's failure was the reluctance to let go off the boy-next-door image of Siva and a simulataneous effort to set him into the over-the-top superhero crucible. These lessons paid off big time in his recent outing Doctor, where SK played a reticent army doctor in the middle of bizarrely hilarious incidents. The film revived the pandemic-hit film business and helped Siva regain people's trust as a solid entertainer. 
In the decade-old career of his, SK has donned many hats, an actor, a producer, a singer and a lyricist, earnestly expressing his dedication towards entertaining people in every way possible. This is why he is and will stay people's favourite.
DTNext wishes Sivakarthikeyan a very happy birthday and all success to his lineup of films.

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