If at all, Anurag Kashyap were to make ‘Gangs of Waseypuram’, he will get plenty of grist from the crimson hued crime columns in our Tamil dailies famed for sober headlines such as Kadhara Kadhara Karpazhippu (raped till she screamed and screamed), Oda Oda Virati Konraar (he chased and chased and killed him) and Kanavan Sathak, Manaivi Puthak (husband stabbed, wife knifed).
The sense of blood curdling sensationalism one notices in our crime reporting is a reflection of the inherent melodrama in our veins. Even the roadside rowdy in Tamil Nadu prefers cut-through names rather than blunt monikers that will escape the eye of the cops.
VP Pandian sounds like a veshti-clad bank manager who will never hurt even a
Mambalam mosquito. Obviously, it won’t work if you were considering a rewarding
career as a dreaded henchman, right? So what does VP Pandian do? He goes to a
barber shop and chooses a hairstyle that catches his fancy. The slang word for the
style is ‘Attack’ and it seems to make a perfect prefix for a hoodlum. From that red
letter day, VP Pandian became ‘Attack’ Pandi and thus began the mythology of the
man, Madurai fears the most.
The need to send a cold shiver down the spine is why you have almost Kollywood
Villainesque names like ‘Bomb Selvam’, ‘Kathi Kuthu Ravi’ and ‘Karadi Mani’.
Using weapons as your tag can be very limiting. As in, there can only be
one ‘Soda Bottle Suresh’ in every pettai. Too many gangsters laying claim to
the ‘Revolver’, ‘Aruvaal’ and ‘Crowbar’ epithets can rob the fear factor and all you’ll
evoke is titters and not jitters.
That’s why every mobster has developed his own formula. ‘Welding’ Kumar chose his profession to carve his identity. Ayodhya Kuppam Veeramani used the violent halo of his fishing colony to deliver the message. Out Arumugham leveraged his weird mannerism (he’d say ‘OUT’ after murdering his target) to underline his cold bloodedness. Mundakanna Selvam looked into his ‘big eyes’ for inspiration for a nickname. Sketch Ravi deployed his talent (he sketched his victim’s face before getting the job done) as his visiting card. Wonder what they’ll think of next.