Dhanush, one of my favorite actors has the habit of calling himself a local boy. It's the kind of image that his movies have given him. In some of his movies, his character is so poor that a person watching a pirated copy of the movie would feel guilty and would money order Rs 120 to him. He has managed to hold on to that image even in Bollywood. Let's see what happens in the Hollywood movie in which he is going to feature in the near future.
I was very curious to know how did he get to this point of local boyism, hence I decided to do an analysis on the social status of the characters played by him. There are two components to a social status, first being the educational status and second being the financial status. Since he has acted close to only 30 films it was easy to get the list of all his movies.
The next step was to bucket the characters on basis of financial status. An easy way to assess one's financial status would be to look out for the type of house / area they live in and type of vehicle they use. Since I have watched almost all of his movies, I was able to bucket the characters into the following financial status: very poor, poor, lower middle class, middle class, upper middle class and high class. The bucketing is purely based on the financial status of the hero in the first half of the movie, as all heroes will eventually become rich in a song during the second half or at least manage to marry a rich girl, hence that was not taken into consideration. For educational qualification, I considered the educational status of the character where most of the story revolves around. So they fell into the uneducated, school, college going, graduate buckets. One thing that education taught me was that, school education takes toll for 12 years and the next 3-7 years is taken care by the college/university. So I was able to assign a number for an education status starting from 1-20 based on education and nature of the job the character does. I could not restrict this only to first half because many of his characters manage to land a job only before the climax of the movie. So with this numbers, I was able to come up with a scatter plot.
The red ones fall into poor category, the green is the middle class and blue ones are high class. The size of the bubble refers to whether the movie is a hit, miss or an average one. Bigger the dots better the movie reception.
One could immediately say that all the movies in which his character belongs to a rich, or close to rich family didn't perform well. Most of the movies in the far left corner didn't perform too well either. There is an area of strength where a cluster of big red and green dots are present. The mildly poor and lower middle class roles have given him a huge number of hits.
The median line in the center gives an average of how educated and financially stable his characters are. The two lines intersect at a point after 12 in the lower middle class region and that's where Dhanush makes his mark.