In several films, the protagonists have taken up some weird or unusual professions that make their characters more interesting. Such professions are one of the defining characteristics that help us decode the nature of the lead characters we see on screen.
In Hey Sinamika, when Mouna tells Yaazhan that she studies storm movements and is a paleotempestologist, it made one wonder if such a profession really exists. On a similar note, Prabhas plays a palmist in Radhe Shyam and Fahadh Faasil plays a popular pastor in Trance. Here is a list of characters from Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and Malayalam films with unusual yet fascinating occupations.
In this Tamil remake of the Hindi film Tumhari Sulu, Vijayalakshmi Balakrishnan (Jyothika) is a housewife turned RJ. While many a film has portrayed a radio jockey, Kaatrin Mozhi focuses on how a female night RJ hosts a late-night relationship advice show. Her responses and answers to the callers on the show are interesting. The plot revolves around how she manages to balance her new job and the related issues that take place at home.
The two lead characters in Bazaar have unique jobs — Kalki is a shokdhar (pigeon trainer), and Pari is a fashion designer. Kalki aspires to become a famous pigeon trainer in the state. The movie deals with the gambling process in the races. Set in real pigeon race locations in Bangalore, Mysore, and Tumkur, it explores the intricacies involved in the profession of pigeon racing.
Venkatesh plays Venkataramana who is a ventriloquist. It is a profession where an entertainer creates the illusion that the voice is coming from somewhere else. They mostly use a puppet or dummy. In the film, Venkataramana performs in different stages with his puppet whom he calls 'Chitti Babu' and is good at what he does. The scenes at the film's beginning depict his skills as a ventriloquist. Especially the use of his profession in a political speech and his combinations with the comedian Brahmanandam will crack you up.
When an unexpected storm hits during their first meeting, Mouna finds a safe spot for them, which sets the premise for their love-marriage-hate story. But it looks like the makers introduced Mouna as a paleotempestologist only for this romantic scene, as there's no mention of her job anywhere else in the film.
Jayasurya plays John Don Bosco, a mentalist, in Pretham and its sequel Pretham 2. While he works on cruise ships and entertains the travellers as a mentalist, he uses his skills to perform several other odd jobs. He helps the police using his cold reading techniques as a human lie detector. But the central role is that of a psychic in both the films where he investigates paranormal activities.
The entire setup and brilliant visuals of Radhe Shyam echo fantasy. Prabhas plays Vikramaditya, a well-renowned palmist. The story follows his palm readings and his belief that he cannot love anyone as he does not have a love line. It also deals with the accuracy of his predictions, that towards the end, he starts doubting the readings and wonders if sometimes we can script our own destinies.
Dev, a former space scientist, is called to fix the critical glitch when a satellite loses connection with the space station. The film is a peek into the personal and professional lives of Dev and deals with his works in the space station briefly. There are also scenes set inside a crewed spacecraft as they try to fix the issues.
Jayam Ravi's Tik Tik Tik is also a similar sci-fi thriller with most scenes set in a crewed spacecraft. When the government discovers that an asteroid is going to hit the Earth killing over four crore people in India, they hire three con men to obtain a heavy missile through illegal means. The characters get training only for a few days before they travel to space and go as far as cracking China's space satellite software. From thieves to astronauts to honourable men who saved the country, they become superheroes in a few days. Not just their professions, the film is quite unusual too.
In the 1992 release Roja, Arvind Swami plays a cryptologist working with the RAW agency. The village scenes are fun to watch. For instance, initially, he tries to tell some rural people that he is a cryptologist and immediately, they assume that he goes around clicking pictures. Though we do not get to see the details of his job, he leaves for an army communications center in Jammu and Kashmir for work, where, unfortunately, he is captured by terrorists.
When a boy helps the police find a kidnapper, he is paid a reward. This makes him realize that he can earn money by finding criminals for the police. So, he starts working as a bounty hunter. Starring Prabhas and Kangana Ranaut, the film delves into the world of a bounty hunter, trying to provide a refreshing angle within a usual cop-criminal story.
Fahadh Faasil is a motivational speaker who later poses as a superstar pastor. The organization gets into trouble when a TV interview causes a potential threat that could bring out its lies. They also appoint Esther Lopez (Nazriya Nazim) to observe him. She plays a model and sex worker in this film. Trance traces the aspects of a motivational speaker, how he transforms into a pastor, and the shows he conducts.
Prithviraj Sukumaran plays a cunning con artist who plans a heist with fellow prisoners, all of whom were affected by the same fraud. He is shown as a bank employee battling with a bad past. Only towards the end, when he runs with all the money, are we revealed that he is a con artist.
Kannum Kannum Kollai Adithaal is another heist film with the lead characters playing con artists. With a few more frauds meddling in their lives, how they manage to complete a mega robbery forms the plot. The cunning acts of the con men to escape the troubles they get into, with more twists, offer a comedy caper.
Rishi plays KS Shyam, who works as Sub Inspector in Bangalore City Traffic Police in the film Kavaludaari. However, he always wanted to become a police officer in the crime branch. Based on this, the plot tracks how he finds the missing puzzles of an old case and reveals the truth about a Minister.
In Sivappu Manjal Pachai, Siddharth leaves out all other opportunities and chooses to join the traffic police enforcement. The trouble begins when he catches a brash street racer who happens to be his fiance's brother. Although broadly focussed on the relationship the lead characters share, the stern acts and the kind of passion Siddharth shows as a Traffic police officer shed new light on the profession.
Kunchacko Boban plays Vasoottan, who works as an auto driver. While the profession of a driver is not something unusual, he always helps the people around him and runs different errands. Similarly, per his lover's request, he takes up the project to export Jamnapyari goats to a foreign firm. Ironically, the central conflict revolves around the exporting of goats, and it feels that Vasoottan is better off as a goat exporter.
Rangitharanga is a little different from other crime thrillers that involve novelists. Gautam is a writer who has published several novels but the crime or the aspect of solving the crime doesn't involve any of his novelist ideas. Instead, the film focusses on his personal life and past happenings.
Bangalore Days gave us multiple professions to dream of and explored the stereotypical mindset of what counts as professional jobs. Bike racer tops the list of the adrenaline rush professions. In this film, Dulquer Salmaan and Fahadh Faasil (in the flashback) are motocross racers. The climax sequence and the visuals from the song 'Baby I Need You' are a treat for those who love racing. The film also makes you fall in love with the profession of a radio jockey essayed by Parvathy Thiruvothu.
A date doctor refers to someone who is a professional dating expert. A group of friends, who are struggling theatre artists, start a company to recreate the magical love moments from films in real life, helping their clients win their love. The different tactics and reel activities they use to create 'romantic moments' are entertaining, and these cliches win them more cash. It is also similar to Santhanam's role in Theeya Velai Seiyyanum Kumaru.
The 1973 action film stars Dr Rajkumar as Kumar, an honest forest officer. He is sent to the Nagarhole forests to stop sandalwood smuggling, where he meets some dangerous smugglers and fights them to protect the wildlife resources. Portraying the life of a forest officer and also the need to save forests and animals, Kumar puts all his efforts in protecting the forest even when he loses his child.
Which characters would you add to this list?