In a time when macho-looking heroes, and established superstars like Ajith and Vijay dominated Kollywood, an actor with the looks of a boy-next-door entered tinsel town. Venkat Prabhu Kasturi Raja aka Dhanush was the actor. Judged for his looks and skinny body, the boy wonder stunned everyone with his performance in his debut film (Thulluvadho Ilamai, 2002). And there’s been no looking back ever since. Over the past decade, Dhanush has taken on some eccentric mix of roles.

With the recently released Vellaiyilla Pattathari, Dhanush has added yet another terrific performance in his career. Essaying the role of an unemployed youth, Dhanush is earning high praise from fans and critics alike. To coincide with the release of his 25th film, we list you some of Dhanush’s performances that have impacted us the most: 
Kadhal Konden
In 2003, Tamil cinema witnessed a genre-defying psychological thriller – Kadhal Konden. Directed by his brother Selvaraghavan, Dhanush reprised the role of Vinod – a psychopath in disguise of an introvert. Capitalizing on his boyish charm, the actor was potentially able to sell the heart-wrenching premise by getting into the skin of the character. Portraying the role of a guy who yearns for love, by completely obsessing over Divya (Sonia Agarwal), Dhanush hypnotized the audience with his exceptional performance. Grab a DVD to watch the unusual fight scene, in the nail-biting climax sequence.
If there is an exceptional gangster-film in Tamil cinema, then it’s got to be Pudhupettai. The winning combo, Selvaraghavan and Dhanush came together again. This film which dealt with murder, deception and showcased the ugly truth of gang wars, was typically filmed in a slum. Sure Dhanush didn’t look hefty and neither did he flex his muscles like the heavy-weight goons, but his authoritative presence bowled everyone over. After the film’s release it made Dhanush’s character, Kokki Kumar, a household name. Primarily because of the distinctive colloquial Madras slang that Kumar mimicked.

If there is an award for the category of the quintessential boy-next-door, then Dhanush is the most-likely to win it. Released in 2007 and directed by Vetrimaran, Polladhavan, had Dhanush representing the woes of a middle class boy, who struggles to unravel the mystery behind his stolen bike. One of the biggest highlights of this film is Dhanush’s sense of commitment to the character. He takes the audience on a journey, and convinces you with his charm.
Dhanush was already established as the industry’s most-versatile actor by now. In a film that predominantly revolved around the rooster fight, Dhanush gave an enthralling performance as Karrupu. Using his naturally calm and composed nature, he gave the audience a clue, as to whom they should root for. It is because of this exemplary performance, that the actor earned himself a National award. It is needless to say that his performance was both engaging and fun.
Mayakkam Enna
If there is one actor that could reprise the role of a psychopath-mentally disturbed-dejected youth, then it has got to be Dhanush. And he does this exceptionally well in the film, Mayakkam Enna. Taking viewers on a rollercoaster ride, Dhanush portrays the role of a photographer who hasn’t been given credit for his work. The well-scripted film by Selvaraghavan, allowed Dhanush to show-off his impressive acting range, whilst portraying his suffering in a multi-layered role. Both endearing and heart-felt, Mayakkam Enna is the quintessential Dhanush film.
"I have done 25 films and this is my first debut award." – Dhanush, after winning the Filmfare Award for Best Debut in the Hindi film, Raanjhana (2013).
After a terrific innings at the Box Office with Vellaiyilla Pattathari, Dhanush is undoubtedly one of the biggest stars in Kollywood. Dhanush’s future projects include K.V.Anand’s Anegan, Balki’s Shamitabh, and an untitled film with Vetrimaran.
These 5 performances would be our pick for the best role Dhanush has reprised.  Do you have a favorite from this list? Do share your views with us.

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