Thursday, March 2, 2017

Treatment of the Theme of Competition, in Tamil Films


     Competition is a healthy yardstick for measuring human excellence, reflected in performance of knowledge,skill and talent.When it comes to the exposition of creative confidence and revelation of substance,competition holds a very important position.Films have quite often visited the theme of competition in a particular field of activity, between  individuals talented in the same field,for a realistic assessment of how much the individuals are capable of in achieving their creative goals and how they do it differently and more competently than others.It may be in the form of a lyrical or musical or dance competition or a song contest as a stage performance.Some times the competitive vigor would form a vital part of the story as the main or sub plot.The objective of this article is to focus on such competitive contexts in Tamil Cinema, witnessed by the audience as a separate unforgettable event, or as the main theme of the whole movie.
    Decades ago the historical Tamil film "Tenaly Raman"abounded in lyrical competitions between Tenaly Ramakrishna,who had the most creative brain to counter poetic challenges from anybody,and a wide section of poets, notorious for their creative arrogance. Sivaj Ganesan as Tenaly Raman excelled in every scene with his flair for creativity, evenly mixed with mischief.It was a perfect film in terms of its aesthetic dimensions and dedication to presentation of historical details.The film directed by B.S.Renga came out both in Telugu and Tamil and was released in 1956.In the Telugu version A.Nageswara Rao donned the role of Tenaly Raman. The other fact to be mentioned here is that all the  verses meant for competition were either spoken or read out and not sung by the participants.    
    Within a decade, two more films were released celebrating scenes of music competitions with challenging lines thrown to each other by the competing voices.Both were Sivaji Ganesan films. The first one Bale Pandia which hit the screens in 1962 contained a scene of hilarious competition between Sivaji Ganesan and M.R.Radha and both of them were shown as singing the song "Neeye Unakku Enrum Nigaraanavan".The four pillars of the song that made it a monumental scene of the film were,the lines of great Kannadasan,the stentorian voice of T.M.S in association with M.Raju,the exquisite musical composition of Viswanathan and Ramamurthy and the delightful demonstration of singing by Sivaji Ganesan and Radha. Even now, the great song reverberates creating sweet memories of a laugh -it-out competition.
     Fifteen months after this Padmini Pictures' film,the audience had the pleasure of watching a scene of musical contest between Sivaji Ganesan and Sharadha in the film Kungumam produced by Sivaji Ganesan's home production unit, the Rajamani Pictures. The song "Sinnanjiriya Vannapparavai" from the magnificent voices of TMS and S.Janaki was considered to be a grand show of music under the composition of the veteran music composer K.V.Mahadhevan.The high pitch notes of the song as in Neeye Unakku Enrum Nigaraanavan,was the most impressive aspect of the song. S.Janaki,the queen of high pitch notes made the song live long.
    Then came the unforgettable film called Vaanambaadi starring S.S.Rajendran and Devika. The film was produced by the illustrious lyricist Kannadasan and directed by G.R.Nathan. Released in 1963,the film had dialogues and screenplay by well known writer Valamburi Somanathan It was a beautiful film known specially for its rich musical quotient,depth of story line and portrayal of characters.In that memorable film, there came a poetry competition in which the hero and heroine would participate and render their competitive verses through the presentation of a song that would begin as follows."Aan Kaviyai Vellavandha Penn Kaviye Varuga" The audience would have come across the aesthetic deliberation of vigorous competition through words that would have both entertained and enlightened their imagination. Incidentally,it was K.V.Mahadhevan who composed music for this song too.
    Two important films included dance competition scenes as a part of the story line and this particular portion made the two films fit for  more enjoyable watching.One was the MGR starring Natesh Arts' Mannaadhi Mannan{1960} wherein the ebullient mass hero vied with the enchanting dancer Padmini to make the contest vigorous and worthy.But the best in the history of Tamil Cinema was the stiff competition between Vyjayanthimala and Padmini in Gemini Studios' Vanjikottai Vaaliban{1958} that beautifully projected both the dancers trying to outshine each other through their stupendous show of dancing potential.It created the most brilliant film -watching experience for the audience, stamping memories of an incomparable presentation of an art form, in its consummate proportion.
    Scenes showing competition between song and dance were equally exciting for the viewers in quite a few other films.The most remarkable scene in this context was the one shown in Sivaji Ganesan's Irumalargal in which Padmini was found doing the peacock dance for the song Madhavi Ponmayilaal Thogaivirithaal.The mighty voice of TMS,the dancing energy levels of Padmini and the equally fitting lip movements and body language of Sivaji Ganesan made the scene an inexhaustible visual treat. A similar contest between dance and vocal grandeur was witnessed in K.S Ravikumar's Padayappa showing the Superstar and Remya Krishnan in duet -cum- dance  competition for the song Minsaara Kanna. Though it could not be matched with the previous categories of classic performance it was truly entertaining.
    The greatest attempt at showcasing the competitive spirit between individuals bound to their career aspirations and performance ability was strikingly made in the film Thillaanaa Mohanaambaal directed by the A.P.Nagarajan reputed for his traditional fervor and cultural moorings.The whole movie was a tug of war between a Naadhaswara Vidhvaan Sikkal Shanmugasundaram,played by Sivaji Ganesan and the classical dancer Mohanaambaal portrayed by Padmini.Apart from being a romantic narration, the film poignantly drew the two artists to their highest level of competition towards establishing the supremacy of the two arts that they professed. A.P.Nagarajan's  other film Saraswathi Sabadham delineated the high spirited competitions among the goddesses ,Saraswathi Lakshmi and Shakthi to prove which was the most powerful force on mankind among knowledge,wealth and bravery.The very title of Sivaji Ganesan's most successful films like Savaale Samaali, Pattikkaadaa Pattanama,Rajinikanth's Mannan and Kamalahasan's Savaal carried the intrinsic layers of competition which were dynamically dramatized through powerful dialogues and action core.While the first three were challenges thrown between conjugal pairs,the last was a jovial tug of war between two brothers,separated in childhood.
    Apart from competitions of these kinds,there were some special movies focused on bets and challenges between the protagonists and other characters over issues and problems of life and the prevalence of justice and truth.Two special movies that dealt with conflicts between the power of wealth and the fight for self dignity were K.S.Gopalakrishnan's Panama Pasama and K.Balachander's Poova Thalaya. Though both the films appeared to be thematically identical there was a lot of difference in the treatment of the theme, course of events under narration and mode of characterization, thanks to the direct narrative approach of K.S.G and the subtle directorial perceptions of K.B.Interestingly in both the films, it was S.Varalakshmi the veteran actress, who effectively donned the role of the rich and raucous mother-in-law
    Similarly,women were shown as demonstrating the strength  of truth against falsehood in films like Sabatham and Mayor Meenakshi. In both the films the woman protagonist who fought for truth was K.R.Vijaya and the face of falsehood was represented by T.K.Bagavadhi in the former  and V.K.Ramasamy in the latter. K.R.Vijaya carried a similar battle against the untruth of the capitalist force in the film Enna Mudalaali Sowkiyama and in this film Major Sundarajan played the role of the capitalist.Films like Vaazhndhu Kaatugiren, Vaazhvu en Pakkam and Pudhumai Penn delineated the feminist force confidently competing with male domination In this regard, Sujatha Cine Arts' Vidhi' was a wonderful movie in powerfully presenting how women could fight a tooth and nail battle to prove that they were wronged by a male dominated society..
    The gusto of rivalry between the erring father and the redeeming son was the main focus of AVM's Mr.Bharath. Both Satyaraj and Rajinikanth as father and son energetically demonstrated the extent to which they could go, in out beating the other's objective.While the father's goal was absolutely negative the son's end point was born of justice and redemption.It was an excellent display of the competitive mood  permeating throughout the course of narration that included the most memorable song sequence "Ennamma Kannu Sowkiyama?"{"Hi my dear,are you all right?"}Rajinikanth's another film that depicted the competitive note was Netrikann in which Rajinikanth played  dual roles as a notorious womanizing father and a decent and respectable son.Unlike other action movies or family dramas films on challenges and competitions would transmit higher levels of tempo and enable the audience to enjoy the high voltage drama, provided the film had a strong skit emphatically narrated through the role play of a powerfully suitable cast.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Team Mates on Transmigration.

       The film Thani Oruvan brought together Jeyam Ravi and Arvindsamy for a unique show on a highly refreshing story line and narration.It was a police story vibrantly told with the stylish performance of Arvindsamy and Jeyam Ravi that took the audience on unexpected tracks with a lot of twists and turns in presentation.These two heroes have teamed up again for the film Bogan,which is again a police story with Ravi doing the role of the cop and Arvindsamy the other hero with a bunch of negative shades. .
    The difference with Bogan is that it begins with the introduction of the anti hero and then passes on to the exhibition of the other hero through a song sequence.Unlike Thani Oruvan which had the chief characters placed on a stable pedestal,here the two heroes stand on a fragile and flimsy base with a sudden shirk in their character display caused by the negative hero's capacity to indulge in transmigration.This leads us to the predicament of not being able to view each hero with their respective character base.This is because,after the transmigration, the positive hero's body takes negative shades and vice versa.One can very well imagine the scope for disaster if the bad spirit gets into the body of the good police officer and the undue suffering that the good spirit of the police officer undergoes, once it is transmigrated into the body of the evil man.
      For some of the  audience, who are used to direct narration of events and characters, this kind of subtlety in narration is likely to cause confusion.But the best part of the film is the shift in character display by the two heroes, in their respective roles of normalcy and transition.It is astutely shown how each one gets into the other's role play and delivers the role, tightly sticking to the base of the character.It is one of the best performances of Jeyam Ravi .For Arvindsamy it appears to be a cakewalk.He is both the hero of the film Roja and the villain of the film Thani Oruvan.
      On  the positive side, it should be mentioned that the director and his team of cinematographer, editor and music composer have all done a very neat job. Hansika's performance is both robust and graceful.The absence of comedy, has not affected the pace of narration of the film, because it belongs to a serious thriller-cum action genre movie.Though in terms of narration, Thani Pruvan certainly reigned high, Bogan cannot be underrated on account of the brilliant character delivery of Ravi and Arvindamy who have simultaneously undergone the ordeal of performing two characters in one role.
D.Iman's music hardly disappoints the viewers these days.But Anirudh's Aalumaa Dolumaa carried greater amount of energy than "Damaalu Dumaalu".Nassar, Naren and Ponvannan have all been quite compact in their roles.I believe Prabu Deva and Lakshman have not disappointed their audience and I am sure Ravi and Samy can team up again, for another course of transmigration as hinted at the end of the film.             

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Three Actors with their Metropolitan Prefixes.


          Celebrities at times would like to carry the names of their native places, along with their names.We have come across this practice among politicians,Carnatic singers and musicians as well as actors.Among singers and musicians the list is quite vast.Names like Chembai Vaidhiyanadha Bhagavadhar,Semmangudi Sriniasa Aiyyar,Ariyakudi Ramanujam,Lalgudi Jeyaraman and Madhurai Mani Aiyyar, would still keep vibrating in the memory of ardent fans of carnatic music.Besides these, we have popular playback singers like Sirkazhi.S.Govindarajan,Chidambaram Jeyaraman and Tiruchi Loganathan .Lyricists like Pattukottai Kalyanasundaram,Thanjai Ramaiahdas were equally popular. Actors like Tiruchi Soundarajan, Suruli Rajan and Thalaivasal Vijay are carriers of the names of their native places.But there are three actors who have prefixed the names of metropolises along with their names.They are Delhi Ganesh,Delhi Kumar and Calcutta Viswanathan.
    Among these three, the first name is the most popular, because he has been a prolific actor on the stage and on the big and small screens.Born in Tirunelveli, he took the Delhi prefix after being a significant part of the Dehi drama troupe.It was K.Balachander the peerless peak among directors who first put him on the Tamil cinema map with a breaking entry in Pattanapravesam released in 1976. From then on, he made a four decade journey through the tinsel world acting in more than 400 films besides acting in about eighteen television serials starting from Marma Dhesam, till the latest Chellame.Delhi Ganesh fits himself neatly into paternal roles, as a perfect father figure.
      Aaha,Arasu, Aanandham,Saamy,Edhiri, Vettaikkaran and Thenavettu are a few outstanding samples of the numerous father roles he played.Of these Anandam will be ever remembered for his excellent role performance as the patriarch of a well knit joint family.On the comedy side, Delhi Ganesh has scored most remarkable innings in films like Michael Madhana Kamarajan,Tenali,Avvai Shanmugi and Kadhala Kadhala.Crazi Mohan's dialogues added pep to their joint show.It was a perfect combination of intelligence and comedy creating best laughter moments.With the same fervor, this great actor performed a villain role, in Kamal's Abhoorva Sagodharargal.
    Even in elderly governing roles, one could see him casually mixing humor in performing his character, with interesting twists in dialogues as seen in Tamizhan. Delhi Ganesh has also frequently joined Visu's band wagon, for films like Chidambara Ragasiyam,Samsaaram Adhu Minsaaram and Patrukottai Periyappa. As a dipsomaniac he did captivating roles, in K.Balachande'r Sindhu Bhairavi and Sundar.C's London. What takes him closer to the audience as an endearing actor is his soothing,clear and impressive dialogue delivery, as a spontaneous by product of acting.Perhaps it is his stage sense that has made him deliver dialogues with utmost comfort and ease..
    Metti Oli Serial fame Delhi Kumar known as 'Television father' has meaningfully occupied the small screen taking up dignified paternal roles in other equally famous serials like Chithi,Anandam, Mudhanai Mudichu and the on going Thalayanai Pookkal. His first appearance in Tamil Cinema was for Dum Dum Dum directed by R.Kannan of the Mani Rathnam school of film making.He gave an unforgettable performance in that film competing with the veteran Malayalam actor {late}Murali. His Tirunelveli Tamil was specially appealing in that film.His other notable film entries are Mani Rathnam's  Kannathil Muthamittaal,Shankar's Endhiran and Hari's Singam I and II.Unlike Delhi Ganesh,Delhi Kumar is more a sober actor, capable of forcefully stamping the sensitive side of fatherhood.It is not that he is incapable of delivering humor.On the other hand, comedy could be called the distinct fortress of Delhi Ganesh. In performing father roles, both these actors with their Delhi prefixes, have cast their indelible impressions.
     The other actor whose origins could be linked to Vellore in Tamil Nadu,is totally of a different mettle.Though he too takes his metropolitan prefix because of his chronic association with the Calcutta troupe of stage actors,he has the distinction of bearing a high profile academic background. Yes.Calcutta N.Viswanathan who is no more today, had the singular pride of teaching English at St.Xaviers' College, Calcutta for nearly forty years,besides performing stage plays and acting in films. His other unique position is the fact that he had acted in the films of Mrinal Sen and Satyajit Ray and his Bengali films were more in number than his Tamil list.It is K. Balachander who once again has to be credited for inducting this special actor in Tamil Cinema.As the father of an unimaginably aggressive son {played by Rajinikanth} in Moonru Mudichu, another memorable Balachander film,he delivered a commendable  role play, in taming his virtually bad son, with the help of his young second wife {Sridevi},whom his son wanted to marry by cleverly killing her lover. Viswanathan's first Tamil film was his best too.Next in a villain  role bearing a holy name 'Parisutham"{The Immaculate}he displayed sweet coated villainy, reminding everyone of the verity behind Shakespeare's maxim, 'one may smile and smile and be a villain'.It was a character full of venom dipped in tons of sweetness. Viswanathan as an actor, can ever be remembered for the perfect underplay of emotions and an incomparable poise in performance.His other notable Tamil films are Moodu Pani,Enakkul Oruvan,Mogam Muppadhu Varusham,Kan Sivandhal Man Sivakkum,Nilavu Suduvadhillai and Baba.
       These three actors with their metropolitan prefixes, certainly reflect the structural majesty and grandeur in their acting mold.Though Delhi Ganesh and Kumar have brought out the rural impact on their acting styles, it could be rightly said that all the three actors are more compact in refined character portrayal, with absolute grasp of the aristocratic side, which was perfectly personified by an actor of long standing repute like S.V.Renga Rao, whose splendid style of acting had a monumental influence on many actors, performing character roles.These three men have certainly brought out a kind of aristocratic caliber in their acting career.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Bhairava, Not a Top Notch category..


       Punch dialogue, tempo, fiery stunts and nimble dance movements are ever the trademarks of Vijay. They are found in plenty in Vijay's Bhairava as Pongal gift to his fans.From the start till its finish the movie moves at an even speed not sagging anywhere.The cricket stunt scene and the sparkling stunt just before the interval, would make the audience sit up and watch with excitement.A couple of new ingredients of the film are the uxorious [wife doting] villain, [played by Daniel Balaji}and the darling concept in the friendship of Vijay and Satish. The graceful song sequence 'Nillaayo' at the marriage hall is a melodious number of Santhosh Narayanan adding to the aesthetic component of the film.But unfortunately, in the case of other songs, the worthy lyrics of Vairamuthu get extinguished in the fire of Santhosh Narayanan's musical decibel.The budding music composer did much better in Madras and Kabali.
    Bhairava needs a special acknowledgement for bringing together actors from all the Southern region.Apart from a huge list of men and women from Kollywood,the film has the main villain Jagabathi Babu from Telugu,Sharat Lohithashwa from Kannada,and Vijayaraghavan from Malayalam. Of late, Jagabadhi Babu has become a popular villain of Tamil Cinema, with Vikram's Thandavam, Rajini's Linga,Vishal's Kathi Sandai and now Vijay's Bhairava. He has got a wholesome role, to play villainy and he has performed it with a combination of sweetness and brutality.As usual Daniel Balaji essays his role with characteristic clarity and force in dialogue delivery.
   The noise free comedy of Satish is always a heart warming factor. Keerthi Suresh seems to be bent upon making her substantial innings in Kollywood, with her looks and acting mettle.The film carries a huge load of cast.The clippings from old films Nam Nadu,Enga Veettu Pillai and Uzhaippali from the Nagi Reddy family's proud film production unit, speak of the glorious place this film production unit has held in Tamil Cinema.This great film house has dealt with a variety of themes such as family values,and political corruption.
       Here, they have dwelt upon the plight of higher education in the hands of wrong players.Some of the scenes and dialogues make us recall actual happenings in medical colleges in Tamil Nadu, that drew large scale media attention and public ire.I have heard some of my own relatives and friends saying that they received just a slip of paper mentioning certain number in pencil, in lieu of hefty donations they gave for a Medical or Engineering seat.But the sad factor is, such a sensational issue has taken a highly cinematic route for highlighting the horrid state of affairs in higher education. However, there is a dialogue in the climax from the hero's voice, stating that, when yardsticks are placed for the selection of students and appointment of teachers,there is no eligibility yardstick for those, who happen to manage most of the private institutions of higher education.
   Vijay's Bhairava is definitely an action packed film, in the line of his earlier hits like Thiruppaachi or Vettaikaaran in the sense, the film contains quite a lot of twists in narration as in those films.But some where something pulls it down from the top notch position.May be the narration could have been a little more realistic and refined instead of being an attempt to surpass the demands of logic and acceptability of common sense, by presenting the course of events, in a make- believe manner and in projecting the hero, as some one endowed with super powers of body and mind.


Sunday, January 1, 2017

Two Female Stars in a Comparative Perspective.


                              Two Female Stars in a Comparative Perspective.

      Tamil film industry, like world cinema, has generally cherished the status of heroes more emphatically than that of heroines. However, some heroines have outlived their positions with their unique star status and this blog has already gloried the proud star status of some heroines, who proved to be special and indispensable like most front line heroes. Again this writer has also made comparative references to Savitri and Vanisri and Sarojadevi and Bharathi  particularly in terms of their looks and demeanor. However, there were two actresses of two different generations, who magnificently ruled Tamil Cinema, with identical attitudes and similarities, in sharing screen space, with great heroes of their times. They are P.Bhanumathi and J.Jeyalalitha.
      When one thinks simultaneously  of these two female stars, the first thing that would strike their mind, is their innate zeal for aspiring independent womanhood, coupled with an obviously fiery attitude towards retaining their individual space and position, as reflected quite often, in the roles that they happened to don periodically. Both these women could dynamically portray courage and clear levels of self- confidence, as the essential characteristics of the feminist brand. There was an exemplary fighting spirit revealed in their role play, as Bhanumathi performed in films like Chandi Rani, Manamagan Thevai,Makkalai Petra Magarasi,Malaikallan,Sadhaaram and Arivaali and as Jeyalalitha took up in films like Pattikkaadaa Pattanamaa,Savaale Samaali, Paattum Bharadhamum, Kanavan and several other films. Though they belonged to two different decades, they were the chosen co- stars of the most popular hero MGR. Both  had shared screen place between MGR and Sivaji Ganesan not only with a clear mark of equality, but also without letting down their proclaimed right to their own  unique positions, as female stars.
     Both had a charming voice for the musical core, though Bhanumathi would have rendered more number of solo and duet songs. They had certain amount of facial resemblance too. When it comes to performance, both were highly capable of establishing their positions in the given roles with absolute understanding, involvement and dedication. But Jeyalalitha was certainly a more impressive dancer than her senior and in respect of dialogue delivery, she scored more points in rendering her dialogues with force and clarity. Though Banumathi’s voice carried an equal amount of force, when it came to  emotional outbursts, her voice would quite often break down resulting in a screeching, jarring note, particularly whenever she had to cry and shout out her emotions. Whereas Jeyalalitha would make it a point to deliver her emotions, in a voice that was clear, demanding as well as submissive.
      The comparison between these two epoch making actresses, has been the outcome of the writer’s observation, that when Tamil cinema was in the long standing grip of meek and submissive womanhood, subjected to chronic male supremacy, these two women definitely reflected a different profile, one that of an iconoclast, breaking the shackles of traditional womanhood. The point here is that heroines of those days, like Ranjani,[known for her pathetic role play in films like Parasakthi,Devaki and Rathakanneer} Anjalidevi, Padmini,Savithri, Sarojadevi, Devika and K.R.Vijaya could not be thought of playing rebellious roles, celebrating the pride of women’s place in society.
    Whereas these two women time and again, put up a brave face, to reach the audience with the brighter side of belligerence, that women are capable of. Vijayanthimala could also be brought into this category; but she was more a classical dancer of merit and her contribution to Tamil Cinema was comparatively much less than that of Bhanumathi and Jeyalalitha. The other fact that needs a special mention is that, both these female stars, could effectively transmit positive energy, through their sparkling body language and verbal grandeur, with casual ease and a mood of celebration in acting. It is in this respect these two female stars deserve a comparative tribute.
     When it comes to number of films, duration of acting tenure and stable as well as longstanding contribution to Tamil Cinema, Jeyalalitha was certainly far ahead of her senior.The most unexpected demise of Ms.J.Jeyalalitha set in a nostalgic mood in the writer about the dynamic and daring acting caliber of a great star whose acting career culminated long ago, paving the way for her taking up the mantle of the Hon'ble Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, in the line of her political mentor,MGR.Both her celluloid image and political legacy were factors that influenced the thoughts and imagination of the Tamil society to a large extent. Her unforeseen death is bound to make her immortal, through a striking absence of openness and exemplary courage on the political front, so vibrantly reflected by her attitude and behaviour, throughout her life time.    

Monday, December 5, 2016

பெண்மையின் போர்வாள் .

              பெண்மையின் போர்வாள்  . .

அறிவும் ஆற்றலும் அமைந்தொரு அகரமாய்,
எறியவும் எதிரியின் கணைகளை ஏற்கவும்
மறவரின்  மனபலம் மதியுடன் கொண்டநீ,
குறையாக் கம்பீரத்தில், அலைகடல் ஆனாய்!

திறனுடன் ஆளுமை திரையில்,அவையில் 
நிறைவுடன் புகுத்தி, நெஞ்சினில் நின்று,
சிறப்புடன் செல்வாக்கு நிரம்பப் பெற்று,
பிறப்பின் புகழில் பெருமிதம் பெற்றாய்! 

உறவுகள் மக்களென உறுதியுடன் உணர்ந்து               
சிறகுகள் விரித்தவர் சிந்தையில் பறந்தாய்!
மறவா மக்களின் மாபெரும் பலமாகி,
இறவா அன்பினில் இரண்டறக் கலந்தாய்.!

வெறுமை  விதையினை வலிகளாய் விதைத்து, 
இறைவன் மலரடியில் இணைந்தாய் இன்று.  

                                                                 . சந்திரசேகரன்.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Rajiv Menon's Two Rejuvenating Tales of Romance,



        Tamil Cinema has established its proud position marching through decades of remarkable contribution by a galaxy of talents, that include reputed film production units,eminent film makers amazing actors extraordinary cinematographers, musical wizards and several others taking care of the various segments of film making.Some have made their long innings and carved an immortal niche for themselves. Many have retained their powerful place in the film industry for quite long.But very rarely have we come across, a film maker leaving an indelible mark with just a couple of films. Rajiv Menon who made Minsaara Kanavu  and Kandukondein Kandukondein,the two ultra refined films, stays acknowledged as a breezy film maker of outstanding merit.
    Rajiv Menon needs a special pat for giving the audience something totally different from what they were used to watching.The first of his two films  produced under the biggest AVM banner,has been reputed for leaving celebrated memories of delicate touches of romance.It was a fine,feather touch tale of love, involving two guys and a girl.One of the two guys, and the girl were schoolmates and childhood acquaintances and the other turned out to be an accidental intruder, with unique characteristics of ruggedness, warmth and sprightliness,the qualities that would easily attract any woman.Here the wealthy girl was a decisive spinster readying herself to put on the ecclesiastical attire .But her rich childhood cousin was dreaming all the time about winning her hand in love.
    What mattered more was the exciting cast of the movie. Menon went in for the Bollywood Kajole, bypassing all the actresses here and it beautifully worked out. Kajole was seen as a sweet mix of toughness and tenderness reflecting a balanced inclusion of the felicity and agony of falling in love, with just a role play of her sparkling eyes and adept body language.Similarly, she poignantly brought out the conflicting emotions arising out of her chosen spinsterhood and the sudden occurrence of falling in love.While handsome Arvindsamy neatly performed as the chocolate boy and dreamer of romance,Prabu Deva caught our imagination by his rugged charm and nimble niceties of role performance as a youth capable of creating sparks of love in a girl. S.P.Balasubramanyam and Girish Karnard were perfect in their paternal roles.
    The casual happening of love between the poor, happy-go-lucky Prabu Deva and the nun- to- be Kajole, was exuberantly narrated by Rajiv Menon, with exquisite scenic display and aesthetic grandeur.The brilliant musical composition of A.R.Rehaman was another great talking point.I still keep on wondering about the most poetic cinematography of the song sequence "Vennilave Vennilave".How enchantingly Prabu Deva and Kajole would move their limbs in very close proximity,without touching each other and how like an escapologist they would get disentangled without actually getting physically entangled, finally reaching the irresistible embrace.It was an exotic visual extravaganza projecting  windy dance movements, shuttling between  breeze and storm.It was like the fascinating experience of passing through the peerless lines of 'Ode on the Grecian Urn' of John Keats.No doubt the film generated electrifying dreams for a huge section of the audience, with its neat narration and energizing songs like ''Poopookkum Osai''."Manamadhurai Mamarathu" "Strawberry Kanne""Thanga Thamarai Nilave"and "Anbenra"besides the scintillating "Vennilave Vennilave"
      Rajiv Menon's other film "Kandu Kondein Kandu Kondein" based on Jane Austen's famous novel 'Sense and Sensibility' created an experience of watching a constellation of stars from the North and South.There were Aiswarya Rai,Tabu and Abbas from Bollywood,Mammootty from the Malayalam film industry and Tamil Cinema's great names like Ajit,Manivannan,Raguvaran,Nizhalgal Ravi, Srividya and S.N.Lakshmi.As an avid reader of all the novels of Jane Austen starting from Pride and Prejudice to Persuasion, I did enjoy watching the film that warmed up the core of the book with the big screen.The underplay of emotions by Mammootty,Ajit,Tabu and Srividya stood in sharp contrast with the dramatic uproar of Abbas,Aiswarya Rai and Manivannan.
      This was another version of romance demonstrated by conflicting interests and emotional outbursts between two pairs of lovers played by Ajit and Tabu on the one hand and Abbas and Aiswarya Rai on the other.How the war affected Mammootty mellowed the boiling mood of Aiswarya and saved her from the emotional turmoil resulting from jilted love, was brought home through subdued narration.Like Minsara Kanna this film was also known for its exalting music core with unforgettable songs like Enna Solla Pogiraai,Yenge Enadhu Kavidhai,Konjum Mainaakale Kanna Moochi Yenada and the title song Kandukondein Kandukondein composed by the same A.R.Reheman.
       Both the films were rocking romances with distinguished themes and story lines narrated in a different vein. While the former was a consummate tale of romance the latter was a family drama too. The romantic dynamism of Minsara Kanna inspired the audience to a great extent.Whereas Kandu Kondein Kandukondein was a blend of usual family emotions and those of expectations and the consequent moments of disappointments and pangs of separation arising out of the misplaced expectations. Aiswarya Rai compactly revealed the vagaries in her characterization with the mature Mammootty making her, getting into terms with the practical implications of life. Tabu elegantly reflected her suppressed emotions and Ajit was in full form of youth with his creative and histrionic formulations. Minsara Kanna was meant for all sorts of audience thanks to the popular presence of Prabu Deva. But the Menon's second film Kanukondein Kandukondein,appeared to reach a selective group of audience, on account of its inherent layers of consistently felt elegant touches in narration.On the whole it could be said that, with two films Rajiv Menon created a life time impact of a rejuvenating, film watching experience.