Happy Birthday Daniel Balaji : The unconventional hero who broke the mould

Who knew that the guy I first saw in Chithi would one day go on to become one of the most irresistible personalities I have seen on screen. It did take him a while though. From that small inconsequential role in April Madhathil he has indeed come a long way.

Most people would point out Amudhan as his most memorable role which is no surprise but for me my love for Daniel started with Srikanth from Kaakha Kaakha itself.  He was as badass as the rest of the guys. The dark skin and that voice of his was instant love. Being a Rajini fan dark skinned guys who break the mould always have my love and Daniel Balaji was no different.

Cut to 2007. And we have Polladhavan. A very special memory from my Coimbatore. I was all alone in my PG hostel. Everyone had gone home for Diwali. I had just finished watching Aegan in theatres with one of my batch mates. I wasn’t satisfied with one movie. So I went for Polladhavan. No one knew who Vetrimaran was at that point. It had Dhanush so I kind of hoped that the film would be good.

But the film exceeded my expectations.  Daniel Balaji plays Ravi with a lot of finesse. It should have ideally been a face-off between Prabhu and Selvam. The truth is Prabhu is no match for Selvam. So Vetri turns it into a battle of equals. It’s Prabhu vs Ravi. And Ravi is vulnerable and intimidating at the same time.

Every time I see Daniel Balaji on screen I wonder why we don’t see him as often as we should. In the right kind of films he could be the badass villain that Tamil cinema desperately needs. That voice alone is enough to evoke fear.

Happy birthday Daniel Balaji. Do more films please.

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