Maybe the beginning was "To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before"...maybe it was the advent of classy gangster movies of the breed of Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Snatch...whatever..but at the end of the day, producers of Hindi, Tamil and Telugu films got it into their heads that every movie needed to have a byline. Which spawned a series of bylines that leave you gaping, rubbing your eyes, twisting your brains and wondering..."how???"
One of the best I've come across was on this Telugu film poster that has the producer talking on a mobile phone in one corner. There are three pictures of the hero - one in which he's glaring at the camera, while the heroine seems to be assaulting his modesty from the back; another in which he's dancing in a kurta, with four other men blowing at their (musical) instruments; and another in which he's wearing a hoodie and has blue eyes and is staring icily into the camera. And the by-line reads 'The Ultimate Weapon'. I believe the movie is called 'Brahmaastra' and is an Indianisation of Jet Li's 'Unleashed'.
And who can forget 'Manmadhan - Only God Can Judge Him'? But even better was Simbu's father's - not to be outdone by 'The Little Superstar', he came up with 'Veerasamy: The Man of Action'. Through this film, you're torn between deciding which is the more creative one-liner; the byline, or the film's punchline, "Sollaama varadhu tsunami; solli varadhu veerasamy". Sivaji's byline was probably more anxiously awaited than its audio or theatrical release. The producers disappointed with 'The Boss'. However, they made up for it with the publicity stills...if Rajinikanth's make-up for Chandramukhi was sponsored by Asian Paints, well, his wig in Sivaji must have been a collaboration between the remnants of the Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan - a white-ish blonde.
However, the movie that wins my vote for the byline that brought traffic to a halt on Mount Road seems to have never left the cans - it was a movie called 'Arakkan' if I'm not wrong. It had the picture of this enormous body-builder snarling into the camera, blood flowing from his nails, his eyes wild (and for good measure, enhanced by firelights in the iris-es)...only to be emasculated by the by-line...'He Is Not a Man'.