From Vijay’s Kosaksi To Vikram’s Love, Here Are Tamil Cinema’s 10 Maverick Scientists, Film Companion

Madhavan R’s directorial debut Rocketry: The Nambi Effect is all set to introduce audiences to Indian aerospace engineer and scientist Nambi Narayanan this Friday. While the film explores the very real trials and tribulations that the space scientist experienced, Kollywood has had some experience testing the waters with fictitious scientists before. Over the years, Tamil cinema has seen its share of science wizards – be it the mad scientist Love in Iru Mugan or the time-traveling watchmaker Dr. Sethuraman in 24. Ahead of Rocketry: The Nambi Effect’s release, let us take a look at some of the most interesting scientists that Tamil cinema has ever produced. 

Govindarajan Ramaswamy (Kamal Haasan) in Dasavatharam 

Govindarajan Ramaswamy (Kamal Haasan) is an NRI bio-scientist who tries to guard a vial containing a vector virus that could potentially end up killing millions. We do not get to see his scientist avatar, save for the initial scene set in a laboratory, where a monkey eats a sample of this virus and dies. 

Govind’s boss tries to sell this virus to terrorists and sends an ex-CIA agent to chase Govind and snatch the virus. This forms the central plot of Dasavatharam, which soon steers its focus from science in the laboratory to an action drama on the streets of India.   

From Vijay’s Kosaksi To Vikram’s Love, Here Are Tamil Cinema’s 10 Maverick Scientists, Film Companion

Dr. Stephen Raj (Nasser) in Vyabari

In this hustle and bustle of everyday life, we all could benefit from being at two places at once. And this every man’s dream becomes a reality in SJ Suryah’s Vyabari. In the fantasy comedy, Nasser who plays scientist Dr. Stephen Raj, and SJ Suryah who plays a businessman, take their work-life balance quite seriously. They create a clone of SJ Suryah, who stays back at home making up for his absence due to work. 

Giridhara Parthasarathy (TM Krishnan) in Indru Netru Naalai 

Some of the most talented brains are often found repairing neighborhood home appliances. In that line, Giridhara Parthasarathy is an interesting character who works on an AI car based on voice recognition, in the backyard of his repair shop. 

When he gets his hands on a time machine that has traveled from the 2060s, he learns the ropes of the portal. Although he is a side character in the film and remains in a comatose state, for the most part, he goes on to help the hero repair the damaged time machine. Parthasarathy and his experiments certainly deserve their own spin-off. 

From Vijay’s Kosaksi To Vikram’s Love, Here Are Tamil Cinema’s 10 Maverick Scientists, Film Companion

Kosaksi Pasapugazh (Vijay) in Nanban

Vijay plays a very peculiar character in Nanban. Panchavan Paarivendhan alias Kosaksi has always been fascinated by the science of things. From making inverters using car batteries to delivering a baby on a make-shift table, his character does it all. Ten years later, we discover that he is in fact a world-renowned scientist, who also runs a school. 

Love (Vikram) in Iru Mugan 

Love is a criminal scientist who uses his skills to concoct a drug called “speed”. The drug, when inhaled, helps increase adrenaline levels and gain enormous strength for the next five minutes. This dangerous drug can help anyone fight off their enemies, and thus Love plans to sell this shipments to terrorists. 

The scientist also runs a cosmetics company. What sets Love apart from other arch-villains is the way the character uses a thirst for science and pharmaceutics to go up the ladder. Be it using speed to escape prison and outwit the guards or creating a compact powder to burn the skin of his traitors, Love emerges victorious through unique methods.

From Vijay’s Kosaksi To Vikram’s Love, Here Are Tamil Cinema’s 10 Maverick Scientists, Film Companion

Vaseegaran (Rajinikanth) and his villains in Enthiran and 2.0

Rajinikanth plays Vaseegaran, an eager scientist testing out robots to commission into the Indian Army. He invents the android humanoid named Chitti and introduces it to a robotics conference. While Chitti is being evaluated, we see that it is capable of doing a lot of good. 

Meanwhile we also see Professor Bohra in Enthiran, another scientist who attempts to make robots for terrorists. At one point during the movie, he inserts a red chip into Chitti, turning him evil. As Chitti falls into the wrong hands, Vaseegaran runs against time to save his creation. 

In the sequel 2.0, Vaseegaran has not one but two robots, as he invents another humanoid robot Nila (Amy Jackson), and also revives Chitti to fight the cell phone swarm powered by the aura of deceased ornithologist Pakshi Rajan (Akshay Kumar). 

Dr. Sethuraman (Suriya) in 24 

Dr. Sethuraman is a reputed watchmaker and scientist who lives with his wife Priya and their young boy Manikandan. As the movie plummets to the future – which follows the life of a grown-up Manikandan – we see that Sethuraman’s time-traveling watch is central to the plot. The rest of the plot follows the adventures of Manikandan, a watchmaker and a form of scientist himself, as he fights to defeat Sethuraman’s evil twin brother. 

From Vijay’s Kosaksi To Vikram’s Love, Here Are Tamil Cinema’s 10 Maverick Scientists, Film Companion

Ramachandran (Sachin Khedekar) in Maatraan

When you learn that your most celebrated experiment has some life-threatening side effects, you either fess up or hide it. Mad scientist Ramachandran (Sachin Khedekar) prefers the latter. A well-known geneticist and businessman, Ramachandran plays the father to conjoined twins Vimalan and Akilan (Suriya). He invents a popular children’s milk powder that claims to boost energy levels. However, he chooses to look the other way when the product begins to show fatal side-effects on kids. His true colours come out towards the end of the film, when he reveals that he had used the entire society as bait for research. 

Subha Srinivasan (Shruti Haasan) 7 Aam Arivu 

Shruti Haasan plays a genetics engineer, who transforms into a scientist by the end of the film. Fascinated by the legend of martial artist and monk Bodhi Dharma, she sets out on trail to find his descendant. This search leads her to Suriya, who shares a DNA with Bodhi Dharma. The rest of the plot revolves around the duo’s run against a Chinese bio-war terrorist, who plans on wiping out Tamil Nadu with a virus variant. By the end of the film, Shruti performs a DNA experiment on Suriya, activating his powers.  

From Vijay’s Kosaksi To Vikram’s Love, Here Are Tamil Cinema’s 10 Maverick Scientists, Film Companion

Vasanth (Nakkhul) in Tamiluku En Ondrai Aluthavum

Nakkhul as Vasanth in Tamiluku En Ondrai Aluthavum could be summed up as a “scientist next door”. From making his kitchen clocks with potatoes to hacking into mobile towers, he is a master of science geekery. He makes his living by selling science projects and proposals to college students.

It looks like Vasanth’s traits were passed on to him from his genius mother, played by a brilliant Urvashi. When Chennai city’s mobile towers and network connectivity take a hit, major companies turn to Vasanth and his genius college project proposal to save the day.

 

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