It’s a constellation out there…

Harpreet Kaur lives for Hindi cinema. She loves Amitabh Bachchan (in a platonic sort of way) and can’t imagine life without her daily dose of Lata. Harpreet is about a year into her Master’s in Computer Science at the University of Alaska. Her dad, back in Ludhiana and prone to hyperbole, never tires of telling people about how the Americans were bedazzled by his daughter’s intelligence and gave her “full aid” at the “best university in the world.” Harpreet did get financial aid, but she can’t get Computer Science for the life of her.

Srinivasa is the tall guy that sits with her in the Data Structures class. He hails from Nellore and has only a vague idea of how big Amitabh Bachchan is up north, but he gets Data Structures really well. He used to look down upon Harpreet because she sucked at Computer Science, but every time he did , he ended up staring at the prettiest pair of boobs in the world. And so, he fell in love with her.

Harpreet, on the other hand, liked the guy – especially on days he did her homework for her – but she wasn’t in love with him or anything. It didn’t help that he kept mixing up Lata and M.S.Subbulakhmi all the time. “I always have trouble differentiating between old women singing in alien tongues,” he told her when confronted. She wasn’t impressed at all by that answer…

Harpreet didn’t know it then, but change was in the air.

A few days later, Harpreet came down with a nasty flu that brought the meanest headache along. She took a Tylenol, and asked her roommate Aparna Shah if she could bring her a bowl of Campbell soup, but Aparna refused because the Campbell soup in the refrigerator was purchased from her share of the grocery fund.

Unable to counter her roomate’s sound logic, Harpreet went hungry that afternoon, and was delirious by the time Srinivasa came to visit her. He had stopped by to find out if she had really bunked classes to “be with her boyfriend,” like his friend Ravikiran had speculated.

Moved by her plight (and by the sight a pretty girl coiled vulnerably on a used Sealy Mattress), he made her some soup, and then sat by her bed and said comforting things to her until she fell asleep. He then watched the Tonight Show and spent the night on the couch in her apartment. He could’ve walked to his place, but it was his turn to cook today.

The next day, he woke up, used Aparna’s Listerine, made some coffee and drank it together with Harpreet. He experienced bliss, or something like it.

This pattern continued for a few days, and Harpreet no longer had the flu, though she was still not attending classes because she felt weak. Sri wasn’t going to classes either, “to provide her some company.” He was now a regular in Harpreet’s apartment, regular enough that his toothbrush was in her bathroom, and regular enough for Aparna Shah to demand that he pay 14% of the rent that month. Things were going very well indeed…

“What do you like? ” he asked her that afternoon, acting on advice from Ravikiran “to find out her likes and dislikes.”

“My favorite thing in the world is Amitabh Bachchan”

“My favorite thing would be my iPod. But I do like Amitabh Bachchan. He is a great actor.”

“Really? Thats so sweet. What’s your favorite movie of his? ”

“Err…I thought Shahenshah was great. So was Giraftar ”

“Shahenshah? Even I couldn’t stand that one. Tell me the truth now – how many Bachchan movies have you watched?”

“Only those two on the video coach bus from Madras to Bangalore. Nellore theaters only play Telugu and Tamil movies. But there was a lot of potential in his angry eyes.. I could see it very clearly.”

“Oh you poor thing. That’s such a sad story… I need to show you how much you are missing.”

So she said, and put in a copy of Black into their Apex DVD player. A few minutes into the movie, and Sri hits the pause button.

“So you say Amitabh Bachchan is a big star in Bollywood, right? ”

“Of course, he is a superstar. ”

“If that is so, how come the title card doesn’t say SuperStar Amitabh Bachchan. If I call him a Megastar, would that be ok?”

“Yes, he is a megastar, a superstar, a huge star. The biggest there is.”

“He can only be one star. Tell me which one. ”

“I don’t think I understand where this is going. ”

Sri takes her hand, and holds it against his chest.

“Baby, before you explain Amitabh Bachchan to me, let me explain the Southern movie industry to you. ”

“I am all ears. ”

And thus the lesson begins.

“Down south, we tell people exactly what kind of star every actor is right in the title card. ”

“How so? ”

SuperStar!

“Like Rajinikanth is the Superstar. Every movie of his, right at the beginning, will have a powerpoint animation that shows the letters SUPER STAR flying into the screen, with an awful cover version of the James Bond Theme playing in the background. He owns the title, it belongs to him. If someone else uses it, his fans will enforce copyright laws by doing nasty things to him. ”

“I see. ”

“But the domicile of the copyright only extends to the state. ”

“Is domicile a Telugu word? ”

SuperStar, Mark Two

“No.. err, whatever. I meant to say that Rajinikanth is the SuperStar only in TamilNadu. In Andhra Pradesh, Krishna is the SuperStar.”

“How sweet. I love Krishna … my whole family worships him. ”

“I worship Krishna too. No one looks better in an orange jumpsuit.”

“Yes, yes. Go on though – let’s not talk about Gods now.”

“Gods? Oh I see now. For a second I thought SuperStar Krishna was famous in Punjab.”

“You know, I like Kamalhassan a lot. What type of star is he? ”

“You like Kamalhassan? Wait till you watch Hey Ram. And just for the record, he used to call himself the Universal Hero, but now he prefers PadmaShree. ”

“Oh! ”

“Yeah, one of the reasons he is not as popular as Rajinikanth is that he doesn’t have a fixed name for himself. How will people know if the Universal Hero is acting in this movie or if it is the Padmashree. ”

“Quite true. This is so interesting. Let’s munch on a paratha while you tell me more.”

Merely a revolutionary Actor.

“The Tamils are obsessed with revolutions. And stars. MGR started off calling himself the Revolutionary Leader, and then Vijaykanth became the Captain formerly known as the Revolutionary Artist and Sathyaraj became the Revolutionary Tamil.

Rajinikanth is the SuperStar, Ajit Kumar is the Ultimate Star and to top it all off, S.J. Surya is the Multiple Star. Oh, and one must not ignore Sarathkumar, who even signs his own letters Supreme Star and Murali, who is the Revolutionary Actor.?

“Great. I can’t say I’ve heard of all these people. I never knew that people named their kids Merely.”

“Merely? No, he is actually…”

“Before you move on, I have a question. Is Ultimate bigger than Super? Is Multiple greater than Revolution? Is Supreme better than Multiple?”

Multiple.

“The hierarchical rules are very complex. Lets just say there is Super, and then there is the rest. Let me also add that Multiple is less than everything else.”

“By the way, who gives them these names?”

“Give? What do you mean give?”

“Well.. someone has to name you, right?”

“Usually, they just wait for a movie or two. If someone doesn’t call them by an epithet, they just pick one they like.”

“This is so fascinating. Another paratha?”

“Sure. Now if Tamil fascinates, Telugu megafascinates.”

“You got a great vocabulary.”

“Thank you. You got a great… never mind.. so, the Telugu field is replete with star-sons. To account for this phenomenon, they pass epithets down from one generation to another with slight modifications.”

“Theory flies over my head. Give me examples.”

“I should’ve known that my honeybun. Chiranjeevi, the most popular star in Telugu, is the Mega Star. So when his brother made his acting debut, he chose to call himself the Power Star. Chiranjeevi’s father-in-law is the Ace Producer. He has another brother, and naturally enough, this brother is the Mega Brother.”

“Ok…”

“When Chiranjeevi’s nephew made his debut, he became the Mega Power Star. And when his son does make his debut, he will be the Yuva Mega Star”

Mega, Power, MegaPower. All Stars.

“Oh, what a simple algorithm. So if the another nephew debuts, he could be the Power Mega Star. Yet another could be the Mega Brother Power Star. And then Ace Power Brother Star Mega Yuva. This could go on for several generations.”

Real Star. Real Scary.

“Exactly! Ok, let me ask you something. There is a scary dude called Srihari – the Real Star. His wife is Disco Shanti, the ex-vamp. Now … ”

“Their son could be the Ex Star. Their daughter the Ex Vamp. Or VampEx. Finally an algorithm I get. ”

“Eh, maybe. I shouldn’t forget Tarun – who sounds like a girl and claims that his proudest achievement is his shoe collection – he calls himself the Lover Boy. Positive Reinforcement, sort of.”

One of these is the Lover Boy.

“Hmm… ”

“No such worries in the case of the Crazy Star: Ravi Teja. Prabhas is the Young Rebel Star, coz someone else took Rebel Star by the time he came on board.”

“Umm…”

“Anyways, moving on…”

“Can we stop here? I’ve been bored now for the last twenty lines. You don’t know where to stop”

“Ok, whatever you say, my Princess.”

“Princess? Aww. You are my Tera Star.”

“Our kid would be the PrinTer Star. Ha Ha Ha.”

“Eww. Pathetic. I am hungry now.”

“I am always hungry. For your love.”

“Stop it.”

And we will.

46 thoughts on “It’s a constellation out there…”

  1. dna, Cipher and Subhash: Sri is sorry he left out your favorite stars. He blames the low attention span of girls in general for the unfortunate omission. He left out Chimpu too, by the way.

    And everyone – thank you all very much.

  2. How dare you forget “Ilaya thalapathy” Vijay, Chinna superstar..or sthing like that for whats his face…simple?Simble?Chimpu?

    Good post!!! So you are the blogstar!

  3. mega funny this one..

    but ya got the algorithm wrong here –
    “Prabhas is the Young Rebel Star, coz someone else took Rebel Star by the time he came on board.”

    prabhas is nephew of “rebel star” krishnam raju hence became “young rebel star”

  4. Nice post…

    Here is some more fodder for your post since you appear to be on a roll here…

    Shivaji Ganesan? Or what about Silver Jubilee Romance Hero, the evergreen and youthful Gemini Ganesan? (he passed away last year…) Jai Shanker? Muthu Raman? There is a whole pantheon that you omitted.

    In Telugu: ANR, the dance guru..the Superstar and the Superhero and demi god: NTR? (Rama laga unarru, maa NTR gaaru.)

    Kamla

  5. Hmmm, am I the only one old enough to recall the ‘Thilagam’ era of actors’s names? I know it’s awkward in translation and all, but still …

    Great post, Karthik! Is it okay to call you ‘Humour Thilagam’, now? You may prefer ‘Humour Star’ …

  6. Oops, the last comment was by me. Was so impressed by this post, that I signed in as Stochastica – similar to the rasigar mandrams in TN

  7. Queer, Rambler, Chenthil, Abi, Sudharsan… Thanks. And I stand corrected on Prabhas. His name does fit in with the original algorithm then.

    Abi – I do remember the Thilagams, but like you said, it didnt translate that well 🙁 … wonder what the equivalent would be? Crown Jewel maybe?

    Here’s a more comprehensive list

  8. Hilarious.. You are “Chinna Blog Kalaivanar” following our one and only “Chinna kalaivanar”, whoz supposed to spread thoughts for everyday along with humour..

  9. Karthik,
    Nice post.
    On a sidenote, I went through the dinakaran link too. Can anybody tell me why is this R. C. Shakthi dude called as “Makkal Iyakkunar”? Obscurest of all, I should say. (Rajasekar as “Natchaththira Iyakkunar” and Prashanth as “Kaathal Ilavarasan” come close though.)

  10. CC, thanks. Chinna Blog Kalaivanar translates to what? Small Blog Ex-Funnyman? Thanks anyway, Bart.

    Zero, RC Shakthi used to be popular once upon a time, I think. Thankfully, such times have passed. Kathal Illavarasan is overused – I think Kamalhassan used to be called that, and then Prashanth.

  11. Yeah, I know (“Sirai”, “Dharmayutham” comes to my mind).
    But, “Makkal Iyakkunar” was two words too many. Heck, he was not even a S P Muthuraman of his times! And I guess this Robert Rajasekaran was called so because he got to direct Rajinikanth in some films.
    And for the other title of Prashanth which somebody was trying to recollect, he is/was/will also called the “Top Star”!
    Name-wise, “Multiple Star” is the funniest, in my much confused opinion.

  12. and you ignore “Ilazha thalapathi” Vijay? Or “Ilazha thamizhan” Srikanth? Or the artist formerly known as “Ilazha thilakam”?

    You suck.

  13. Karthik,
    Wow – some list of comments! Here’s my two cents worth – the women have far more interesting “star names” – and am not just talking about the item girls (what’s a little superstar or even a younger general next to a Disco Shanti or a Silk Smitha, eh?) – revolutionary heros are good, but can they ever come close to sirippu azhagi siripriya or a ulaga azhagi aishwaria? I demand that you give these stellar women their due and write a post about them!

  14. Good humorous post, pretty illuminative.
    Just few titles from sandal wood, trible star, rebel star, dialogue delivery king, thriller to name a few.

  15. One of the best posts I’ve read in a long time Karthik. Way, way hilarious. Can I make a short film out of this? 🙂

  16. Zero, Robert-Rajasekaran pair (Manasukkul mathappu, Paravaigal palavidam) is not to be confused with “Natchathira Iyakkunar” R.Rajasekhar (Dharmadurai,Padikkadhavan) here.
    “Makkal Iyakkunar” is supposed to have been given to RC Shakthi bcoz he took ppl’s issues to cinema!
    Malluwood doesn’t seem to have any naming pattern. I can recollect only “Megastar” Mammooty (shared with Chiru from telugu) and “Superstar” Mohanlal.
    To add to Karthikeyan, Sandalwood also has a “Hatrick Star”.

  17. Bart,
    Oops, that was an unreasonable assumption from my side that the Rajasekar’s full name was Robert Rajasekaran. Now, I am reminded of the duo. Some memory leak, there!

  18. Even as we speak, Jr NTR, that behemoth of a star, is being conferred with the new title “Mighty Star” (and nobody can question this one, and if they do, proof will be provided for the said title by getting the star himself prove his ‘might’ by crushing the questioner under his giant feet!) because the older one is deemed unlucky having already caused 4 consecutive flops. What it was, one doesnt know since the article doesnt mention it for fear of jinx!

  19. Karthikeyan, thank you.

    And Raj, I am surprised Mighty Star wasn’t taken.. weird.

    Rafiq, short film would be great. Who plays Harpreet?

  20. On this note, I’d like to add a supreme one liner (as in, the most trivial one liner ever) by the Supreme star Sarath Kumar. (ofc, with subtitles)

    “Shower-la kulikara onakkey ivlo power irundha
    river-la kulikara enakku evlo power irukkum?”

    [[ When you, a shower-bather can wield so much power, imagine how much power I, a river-bather can wield! ]]

  21. Fantafabulistic starr… ringo dude… good one… I wonder how come you stumbled on this topic…?

  22. Real good.. How about Iduppu Azhagi Simran, Kattazhagi Namita.. probably not many titles but worth adding them

  23. Nice post Karthik – Harpreet Kaur’s family is most unlikely to be Krishna worshippers however! 🙂 — “Pooja Bhatia” might be closer perhaps?

  24. Karthik.

    Raj was honoured with the title “Natasarvabuma” and I remember people calling Raj as “Druvatharae” which is North Pole star.

    I missed the most famous start of Sandalwood he is Crazy star Ravichandran who does everything like our T.R!

  25. I missed the part where you invited commenters to post their own list of names. Appreciate & get out. What’s with the “you missed out” on this & that? Sheesh! this post deserves better.

  26. This is just too funny for words – been splitting my sides for the last few minutes 🙂 I got to your page from Samanth’s blog. Needless to say, I’ve bookmarked this page now! Thanks a lot :)))

    Amit.

  27. MGR did not give himself the title Revolutionarly leader, the title was given by his party member and also to your knowledge he also called before as Revolutionarly Actor given by his Arch Rival Karunanidhi. Write correctly.

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