Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Satirical Voice of Tamil Cinema.



     Tamil Cinema has taravelled on several tracks and has celebrated a galaxy of themes and styles of narration.There have been actors of all kinds enriching the fundamentals of Tamil cinema as an effective medium of entertainment.However,in promoting the satirical tone of narration there has been only one film personality who is greatly esteemed as a creative and critical expert in the line of Girish Karnard in Kannada.That is the most experienced, multi faceted Cho Ramasamy,the noted Tamil playwright,actor,comedian, prolific commentator and bold critic of political and social foibles.It is his pragmatic vision and poignant element of satire that has made his performance very interesting in all the activities mentioned above.As this blog is confined to films I am constrained to restrict my focus on Cho as a film maker and actor.
    When compared to his contemporary comedian Nagesh,Cho's participation on the big screen was not voluminous.But in whichever film he appeared either in isolation or being teamed up with other comedians like Nagesh and Thengai Srinivasan, Cho's contribution would stand apart as a factor motivating audience intelligence and analytic mindset along with humour.This he would pass on, through an assertive element of satire with an aggressive component of caricaturing individuals and social systems, embedded with untenable loopholes.In this regard, his main target would be the political whims and fancies filled with inherent follies, looking for instant and permanent remedies.
     Cho's exclusive cleverness lies in giving contextual twists to any dialogue that would ultimately end up in taking a dig at individuals or groups.He would see to it that he cracks spontaneous and timely jokes at the expense of others  and make the audience enjoy his verbal dig.Though Tamil film comedy has never been lacking in verbal force and humour,Cho's additional score would always be the satirical thrust infused in words mostly genial in content and at times pungent in tone if the situation warranted.
     If Nagesh was closer to MGR in the earlier years of his career,Cho began to find a place in the later films of MGR.Some of the popular films of MGR that included Cho's comedy flair were Sange Muzhangu,Adimaipenn, Maattukkaara Velan, En Annan and Engal Thangam.The same way he enjoyed equal amount of confidence with Sivaji Ganeasan in films like Paar Magale Paar,Gowravam, Galaattaa Kalyaanam,Thangapadhakkam,,Nirai Kudam,Thavapudhalvan, and Anbaithedi,The last three were from the Mukta Films'production house and it is a known fact that Cho was a regular addition in the films of Mukta.V.Srinivasan.The fact that Cho was the most valued comedian in other Mukta Films' movies like Thein Mazhai,Ninaivil Ninraval,Aayiram Poi  Bommalaattam and Sooriyakanthi, showed the amount of rapport he had with that film company.In Thein Mazhai and Ninaivil Ninraval his comedy scenes with Nagesh became the talking point.
     Cho has worked with all great heroes like MGR, Sivaji Ganesan,Gemini Ganesan,Jai Shankar, Ravichandran Kamalahasan and Rajinikanth.Cho's  association with the Superstar appears to be stronger than with Kamalahasan and  the number of films he has worked with Rajini would be an evidence of this fact.His comedy scenes in Guru Sishyan, Manidhan and Adhisiappiravi created a lot of fun .As Visithiraguptan in Adhisiappiravi,Cho led the audience to wonderful moments of laughter. Besides these films his character in Rajini's Aaarilirundhu Arubadhuvarai was of special significance.
     If Cho had just been another actor, his popularity yardsticks would have been confined to the celluloid world.But he has established his position rather unshakably as a film maker and exuberant writer with an exemplary critical frame of mind.Some of his stage plays that were made into films like Mohamadbin Tuklaq,Yarukkum Vetkamillai,Unmaye Un Vilai Enna and Mr.Sampath speak of his trade marks of satire and social perceptions.Particularly,the film Unmae Un Vilai Enna was thought provoking.Cho definitely deserves a special place as a film personality, because of his variety in focus and versatility in the execution of his creative capabilities.Very few actors have set the audience to think,by their contribution on and off the screen,like Cho Ramasamy.
    Cho's egg like eyes and the vibration in his usually excited voice, are his special attractions.His sense of humour and comedy fundamentals have always remained perfectly decent.Vulgarity would be the last thing he would ever resort to, in generating laughter.The vibe of his satirical tone is enough to kindle laughter and set the audience to thinking aloud.As a Tamil movie comedian Cho will always occupy a distinct position and his space with his singular voice of satire will ever remain incomparable.
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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

AACHI,THE GREAT.

                                                      
    













      Aachi is a very popular brand name for quite a few food products made in Tamil Nadu and sold around the world. But here  it is Aachi, the most  famous Tamil comedienne and character actor I am talking about. Manorama who is affectionately called Aachi,first acted as heroine in the film Konjum Kumari  after appearing  in a few movies like Maalayitta Mangai and Kalathoor Kannamma released in the Nineteen  fifties.
    Tamil Cinema has successfully introduced and patronized quite a lot of women talents, performing as heroines, comediennes and character actors. Among comediennes there were robust performers like T.A.Madhuram,T.P.Muthulakshmi,M.Saroja,Kumari Chachu,Madhavi and Kovai Sarala. But none of them ruled the Tamil big screen for so long a time as Manorama, acting in a wide variety of roles in more than one thousand movies. She stands apart as a colossal actress surpassing the claims of any other woman in the Tamil film industry.
     As a vibrant and winning comedienne, her hey days were with Nagesh, contributing equally to the humour segment of many MGR and Sivaji Ganesan movies, competing with that veteran and at times even overshadowing him.From the Nineteen Seventies to Eighties, Tamil films without Manorama were not many.Besides Nagesh, she would be a perfect pair with other comedians like ThengaiSeeinivasan,Cho,Surulirajan,V.K.Ramasamy and M.R.R Vasu. Manorama was not only a versatile actor like Sivaji Ganesan,  but was also a good singer lending her voice to music, in films like Edhir Neechal,Poovaa Thalaiyaa, Dariisanam Bommalaattam,Sooriyakandhi and so on.Some of her best shows in humour  were in Anbe Va,Baratha Vilas,Pattikkaadaa Pattanamaa,Galattaa Kalyaanam, Thiruvilaiyaadal, Saraswathi Sabadham,Kandhan Karunai,Edhir Neechal, Bommalaattam,Kaasedhaan Kadavulada, Thillaanaa Mohanaambaal,Samsaaram Adhu Minsaaram and Nadigan.
    Like SivajiGanesan,Manorama  was adept in using different dialects in Tamil with native ease and felicity.Her bold and clear tone was ever her asset and with that she would deliver dialogues with consummate force and confidence, making a deliberate audio  visual impact on the audience. Emotions of anger and righteousness would naturally rise through relevant intonation in her utterance of dialogues and the same way her tone would settle down to adequate levels of submission and modesty whenever  the context warranted humility and grace. She could comfortably reach levels of sentimental melodrama and realistic patterns of behavior without any semblance of overdoing, from her side.
    While no one can forget her comic roles in several films, she has also been invincible in performing character roles particularly that of a devoted mother reflecting  powerfully, the positive energy and compassion of motherhood. Manorama  stands as the most cherished and loved mother character in films like Sooriyan [where she shows immense love to the hero Sarathkumar whom she treats as her son}Pudhiya Paadhai [in a similar role with Parthiban as hero],Chinna Thambi,Kizhakku Vaasal,Pangaali, Gentleman ,Jaihind,Saamy, Annamalai, Chinna Gounder,Marumalarchi,Vallal,Gemini, Honest Raj, Parambarai,Periya Kudumbam, Thaamirabarani, Naattamai and Natpukkaaga. In all these movies as the mother of heroes like Rajinikanth, Prabu,Karthik Muthuraman, Sathyaraj, Sarathkumar, Vijayakanth,Arjun and Mammootty,she has represented  the inspiring, emboldening  and sacrificing dimensions of  an unflinching mother, creating a vacuum in the life of her sons through her death or separation.
    She has definitely been a creditable addition into the films of two great heroes. One is Sivaji Ganesan and the other is Rajinikanth. Though she would have acted in the films of every other hero, Sivaji and Rajini  have inducted her as a valued colleague and senior artist respectively, in most of their films.She has certainly reciprocated their gesture by her open adoration of Sivaji Ganesan  and categorical statements of gratitude to Rajinikanth. A couple of scenes in the epic like film Thillaanaa Mohanaambaal  would  show how much she admired and  respected Sivaji Ganesan as an actor of grand scale. The number of Sivaji Ganesan films she acted were many  and one could see her even in the later year films of the Chevalier such as Thiagam,Viduthalai,{a combined show of Sivaji and Rajini} and Needhipathi released during the Eighties.
      As far as Rajini  is concerned, starting from  Kuppathu Raja she has often joined the films of Rajinikanth in a vital character role. While Annamalai  showcased her as the  beloved and dignified mother of the hero, she has generated spontaneous humour in other films like Pokkiri Raja,Billa,Thee,Thanga Magan,Adutha Vaarisu, Guru Sishyan,Naan Adimai Illai, Ejamaan, Mannan and Arunachalam. Both in Pookiri Raja and Guru Sishyan, she appeared as a greedy woman getting caught in the hands of Rajini, thereby generating moments of laughter. In Thangamagan she was compact as the adopting mother of Rajinikanth. She has also acted in other Rajikanth films like Bhairavi,Aaru Pushpangal, Sivappuchooriyan and so on.
    With Kamalahasan, apart from Kamal’s first film Kalathoor Kannammaa, Manorama has  been the world hero’s pet actor in his  most popular films like Aboorva Sagodharargal, Per Sollum Pillai,SingaraVelan,Unnaal Mudiyum Thambi, Savaal,Sattam, Enakkul Oruvan, Michael Madhanakamarajan and Vaazhve Maayam .
    The major Tamil film  production houses have utilized Manorama’s talents as many times as possible. Though she was introduced as a heroine by Modern Theatres, other film makers like Devar films, Vijayalakshmi Pictures, A.V.M.Pictures,Muktha Films and  Sujatha Cine Arts would usually have a script with a provision for an important comedy or character role for Manorama. In this respect, her number of entries will be more with Sujatha Cine Arts and AVM pictures. Manorama’s personal popularity as a meritorious artist should have been the major reason for her inclusion in a vast number of movies produced by these production units.Similarly a huge line of eminent directors starting from A.P.Nagaran and K.Balachander down to P.Vasu ,K.S.Ravikumar and Shankar, have brought out the best layers of acting from Manorama.
    Aachi  has reached a monumental status in Tamil Cinema, which even many outstanding heroines could not attain. It is really an extraordinary thing for some one to stay wanted in a field  after making a long standing contribution through dedication and magnificent performance. As an artist of  individual potential and versatility in demonstration, she will ever occupy the foremost place in Tamil Cinema in the line of Sivaji Ganesan. She would not have got an award like the Chevalier.But she is ever our Aachi the great.

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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Tamil Film Actor of Theatrical Excellence.



    






            
      During the last century, quite a number of actors gradually moved to the big screen from the stage like a cluster of stars. Starting from great heroes like P.U.Chinnappa,K.R.Ramasamy, MGR and Sivaji Ganesan, many villain and character actors also enriched Tamil Cinema with their theatrical experience.The list would include many actors like M.N.Nambiyar,M.R.Radha, TKS Brothers, S.V.Sahasranamam ,V.S.Raghavan and the most illustrious comedian N.S.Krishnan. In this list there was another amazing actor, well built in body frame and impressive in looks, with a pair of clear, bold eyes. That was R.S.Manohar, an exemplary stage artist who founded his own National Theatres and performed many stage plays of which remains, the immortal play Ilangeswaran eulogizing the epic grandeur of Raavana, the king of Sri Lanka who as per the epic Ramayana, kidnapped Rama’s wife Sita and kept her as captive. I have heard many of my friends telling that besides the deviation in narration and glorification of an anti hero,the unique technicalities involved in the stage presentation of a newer version of the epic resulted in a grand appreciation of the live show of a theatrical extravaganza. R.S.Manohar came to be known as Lankeswaran Manohar.
    As a film actor R.S.Manohar is rightly remembered as a dedicated, talented and diligent artist. The fact that he was closer to both MGR and Sivaji Ganesan and that he was a favoured actor of the Modern Theatres,R.R.Pictures,Sathya Movies , Gemini Pictures and Sujatha Cine Arts Pictures, are enough to prove his credentials as a remarkable performer. Manohar was good at fencing and boxing and had a face fit for playing mythological, historical and family roles. He was  equally convincing as a villain and character actor. He had a gruffly voice and with that he would deliver clear dialogues through calculated efforts.His well built physique added to his sparkling image as a powerful villain and henchman. His levels of sobriety in role performance were creditably high. But he had a face fit for performing humorous roles also, as he did it Vallavanukku Vallavan for the song sequence ‘’Paaradi Kanne Konjam/Paithiyamanadhu Nenjam’’.
    In mythological roles, be it that of Ravana or Lord Shiva, he was  facially compact like S.V.Rengarao,who had a perfect face to fit into any character from Hindu mythology. Manohar was magnificent as Lord Shiva in the film Datchayakgnam with Jamuna as Goddess Parvathi. It was almost like watching Sivaji Ganesan as Shiva in Thiruvilaiyaadal. Though the film was not a hit its memories are inerasable for those who had watched it. The other mythical films of Manohar were, Thiruneelakandar and Mahakavi Kalidas.  In royal garbs Manohar was greatly appealing in films like Raja Raja Cholan, Aayirathil Oruvan and Adimaippen. When it comes to villainy, Manohar had an independently fascinating style of performance  with regard to body language, dialogue delivery and aspects relating to stunt scenes. Nobody can forget the boxing scene at the start of the film Kaavalkaaran that showed MGR and R.S.Manohar  in a professionally rich form.The fencing scene between him and MGR in Aayirathil Oruvan was another treat.Almost all his fight sequences with MGR in films like Panakkaara Kudumbam,Parakkum Paavai,Panam Padiathavan, Olivilakku, Rickshawkaaran and Idhayakkani were full of fire and ferocity.
      R.S.Manohar performed villainy with force and brutality in several films like Naan,Parakkum Paavai, Raaja,Vallavan Oruvan,Idhayakkani and Rickshawkaaran. Like M.N.Nambiyar,He enjoyed equal intimacy with both MGR and Sivaji Ganesan. If he would have acted in more than fifteen films with MGR, he had also shared screen space with Sivaji Ganesan in Raja,En Magan,Rojavin Raja , Sivagaamiyin Selvan,Raja Raja Cholan, Sangili, Paattum Baradhamum,Chitra Pournami and Mahakavi Kalidas.The other popular heroes with whom Manohar got into fisticuffs on the screen were Jaishankar and Ravichandran.The number will be more with Jaishankar because both of them were  favourite actors of the Modern Theatres.RS.Manohar would have acted in almost all Modern Theatres' releases including Chitraangi,Petra Maganai Vitra Annai and Konjum Kumari.Similarly he was a regular addition in the films of R.R.Pictures' films.The other memorable films of Manohar are the most historic Konjum Salangai,and the greatly valued film Idhayakamalam besides the children movie Pattanathil Bhoodham.
     Some of the hero-cum- character roles Manohar  performed were in films like Vannakkili, Vallavanukku Vallavan and Kaidhi Kannayiram. In Vannakkili it was a redeemable negative role that brought him a lot of accolades from the audience.Similarly,Manohar's character almost as hero carried a telling position as a cop in the old film with the lengthiest title''Thayaipoal Pillai Nolaippoal Selai''In Iru Vallavargal it was again a redeemable negative role, as the elder brother of Jaishankar. All these films became hits and Manohar’s contribution was noticeably on the higher side, in all these films. Manohar has acted with many heroes from MGR to Pandiarajan. His  films with Rajnikanth like Billa,Thee and Thangamagan were super hits. What is more significant in Manohar’s role assignment is that he would be a crucial character in carrying on the tempo or suspense in narration of the main plot ,however small his role was. This is how his role solved a ticklish issue of the husband suspecting the fidelity of the wife as seen in the film Vaazhkapadagu, {another Gemini pictures movie before the release of Olivilaaku}.Manohar’s character served a similar purpose in Thangamagan.In Rickshakkaran,as the wayward husband of Padmini,he would play a major role in finally exposing the darker side of a judge, played by Major Sundarajan.
    Whatever be the character that was offered to him and however small it was,R.S.Manohar was never lagging behind in his dedication and whole hearted contribution to the delivery of the role in its perfect presentation. The salient part of his acting mode was his calculated manner of dialogue delivery with relevant display of contextual emotion and flawless diction with proper stress and intonation. This must have been one of the positive impacts of his regular stage performance. It was his devotion to the stage that groomed his acting style on the screen with necessary changes incorporated on a modest scale. The over all impact was ultimately the audience getting closer to the nuances of theatrical excellence scrupulously  displayed on the screen  as the right kind of comprehensive evolution in acting.It was this factor that constantly projected R.S.Manohar as an actor different from  the others, making straight entry into Cinema, without  getting routed through the stage. The end result is R.S.Manohar is remembered today as a dramatist, stage colossus and film actor with infallible grace, embracing all his profiles.   
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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Dynamic Comedy Duo.



             
















    Tamil Cinema has not been lacking in dynamics of comedy and humour at any point of time, ever since its inception. Even during its founding years, Tamil films were reputed for vibrant comedy, displayed by amazing comedians such as N.S.Krishnan, Kali.N.Rathinam, T.S.Dorairaj and later  by great actors like K.A.Thangavelu, Nagesh and V.K.Ramasamy. It was these people who took verbal comedy to its decent and enjoyable heights. But even among these comedians, we would not have seen a continued team spirit, in the line of the Hollywood famous Laurel and Hardy.
   However, there are two comedians of Tamil Cinema,who launched a team show and went on well, with unusual gusto and exuberance, calling for spontaneous audience admiration, for nearly two decades. Strangely, both these actors began acting on an independent track.By a touch of fortune,they came together to reach new heights  in commendable verbal comedy with an intermittent spell of physical comedy necessitated by contextual compulsions.These two comedians Goundamani and Senthil  will ever stay tuned to the memory of a large section of the Tamil audience,who were fortunate as movie watchers, during the Nineteen Eighties and Nineties.
     As far as their independent comedy roles are concerned, Goundamani  would have scored more credits  than Sendhil because of his extraordinary verbal force, which he would have sensibly used teaming up with all heroes including Kamalahasan {Singaravelan and Indian need a special mention} and Rajinikanth [ Padhinaaru Vayadhinile, Uzhappaali, Mannan and Baabaa in particular}.Goundamani’s  grand show of verbal comedy took several U turns and stomach curdling curves whenever he joined the company of Sathyaraj. Some of the special films in this regard are Thirumadhi Pazhanichami,Vela Kidachuduchu,Walter Vetrivel, Bramma, Nadigan, Pangaali,Vallal,Thai Maaman,Kungumapottu Gounder,Maaman Magal and Malabar Police. I think Goundamani  would have acted maximum number of films with Sathyaraj as hero. Goundamani's  role as a political aspirant in Sooriyan {with Sarathkumar as hero} was another feather on his cap with a performance full of lively wit vibrant satire.He also celebrated his solo comedy in films like Payanagal Mudivadhillai and Naan Paadum Paadal. 
    For Sendhil  without  Goundamani, it is not that easy to display his intrinsic  humour potential. It is the presence of Goundamani  that inspires him to make a marvelous show of his cheeky side of humour taking his senior comedian casually for a ride, every now and then. Tamil audience can never erase from their memory hard drive, the most hilarious scenes from films like Kattabomman, Chinna Gounder, Chinnavar, Manasukketha Maharaasaa, Thangamana Rasa, Naattaamai , Gentleman,Jaihind. Karna, Indian, and the most famous Karagaattakkaran. The banana scene from the last film mentioned here, would stay as an epoch making comedy scene like that  of K.A.Thangavelu narrating his bogus award winning function to his wife M.Saroja, in Kalyana Parisu and  Naagesh narrating the ghost tale in his proposed film to his father T.S.Balaiah, in Kadhalikka Neramillai.
   There is a remarkable scene in a movie in which Goundamani  would have explained the meaning of cholera as an evil spirit. Subsequently fearing the spread of cholera, Goundamani will travel on the pillion of the cycle pedaled by Sendhil . When Goundamani’s foot gets stuck to the back wheel, he will shout ‘kaalraa Kaalra’[my foot man! my foot] Senthil  will coolly say that he knows it is cholera and that is why he is riding fast so that both of them can escape from it. In another film, Sendhil  will watch Goundamani consoling a bereaved son at a funeral, stating that the dead man was not only a father to his son but also a venerable father to everybody in the village. Soon in  a similar context,Sendhil  will be seen consoling a bereaved husband, stating that the departed wife was not only a beloved wife of her husband but a loving wife of everyone.How much Sendhil   gets thrashed for this, is anybody’s guess. Senthil  will then innocently think, why when Goundamani says such things he is not beaten by anybody, forgetting the context and its requirements of behaviour and manner of talk.
    In another film Goundamani  will  be selling tender coconuts and Sendhil as his assistant driven by the temptation to become a coconut seller will soon indulge in stealing Goundamani’s tender coconuts, using a rope and pulling them one after the other, to another place installed by him as a shop. He will do this with the help of Vadivelu.  In Jai Hind, every time when Goundamani{ a cop, in that film}goes to sleep, Sendhil will appear in his dreams, goading him to do the unwanted, thereby causing a demotion or some other punishment in his job. Through out the film, Senthil will be a nightmare for Goundamani. Who, other than Sendhil ,will have the temerity to argue that  he an  eight standard passed out candidate, is superior to Goundamani, a tenth standard failed person, because a pass is always superior to  failure in an examination.
    The collateral damage that Senthil  causes to Goundamani in several movies, is the creamy layer of hilarious comic situations ending up in thunderous applause from the audience. The most unforgettable comedy in this category is from K.S.Ravikumar’s Naattaamai  wherein, Sendhil plays the notorious womanizing father of Goundamani. While Goundamani will be helplessly looking for  a girl for himself to be his wife Sendhil will effectively thwart the former's attemptsThe other noteworthy aspect of Goundamani's search is his desire to know who his mother is. Whenever Sendhil addresses Goundamani as'My son' Goundamani will retort by calling him'Dei Thagappa'}.Though Naattaamai was a grand show in all respects, one could firmly acknowledge the dynamic reach of Goundamani Senthil comic anecdotes adding to its historic victory at the box office.
   At one point of time or the other any trend  has to meet its natural end. This dynamic duo could not be said to have parted ways. But  the audience preference began to move towards newer display of laughter quotient and comedians like Vivek and Vadivelu took over the screen for the evolution of  social concepts and contextual display of physical comedy combined with verbal banter. However, Sendhil  like Goundamani ,established his  individual might of comedy, by his special association with the Superstar in films like Muthu,Arunachalam and Padayappa and the comedy segment of these films was a clear indicator of what Senthil is  independently capable of .
   Goundamani, who was introduced by Barathiraja, continued to remain a constant addition in most of the films of this  epoch making film maker. His talent has also been successfully utilized by many able hands like R.Sundarajan, Manivannan, Ramarajan, Ve.Sekar, P.Vasu, K.S.Ravikumar,R.V.Udhyakumar and Shankar. Besides he was  regularly included in the films of the Motherland pictures. Sendhil being almost the alter ego of Goundamani would have been there in most of the films directed by the above film makers.Perhaps Shankar would have inducted him in a few more films like Jeans and Boys.Sendhil has also been a special favourite of actor Thiagarajan who gave him the first opportunity in Malayur mambattiyaan.
    Like Nagesh whose comedy show dominated Tamil Cinema for more than two decades, the humour  component of Goundamani and Senthil  flew high  wielding their welded wings to newer zones. Trends might change every now and then. But each age has a special message to pass over to posterity. It is this message that makes history. In this regard  the message passed on by the duo is that, if two individuals set aside their ego, they can create new records in joint ventures  with a dynamic reach of their joint show.
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Friday, September 5, 2014

The "Innocent" Face of Malayalam Cinema.

    




















     Malayalam Cinema owes its credibility in creativity and success in status, to many veteran film makers, script writers, actors, cinematographers, musicians, singers and so on. There is always a unique stamp of originality governing the entire gamut of Malayalam film making. Among heroes, from Prem  Nazir to the most recent entrant, many would take credit for lifting the creative face of Malayalam film industry, each one unfolding a distinct dimension to character delineation. But among character actors, mixing a celebrated   gusto of comedy, there are only a few actors who have made a long standing impact with a constant display of spontaneity, individuality and variety.
    There was Adoor Bhasi who occupied the centre stage as one of the prominent  faces of Malayalam Cinema, nearly for four decades from the Nineteen Fifties. Luckily,there was no vacuum left by him because immediately, there came another ebullient actor, who amazingly mixed up comedy with character portrayal and sustained the tempo maintained by Adoor Bhasi. The grandeur in Bhasi was due to the impeccable mark of innocence coupled with mischief and there was no decline in this extraordinary brand of character fixation, thanks to the emergence of yet another master of the craft, carrying innocence in his name too. Innocent Vareed Thekkethala, shortly called Innocent, is the steadfast actor- turned politician and Member of Parliament, who has  attained the singular position of an inseparable segment of the Malayalee movie routine.
    Those who have acquainted themselves with the inception, emergence and progress of Tamil Cinema would  compare  Innocent without prejudice, to the prestigious position held by actors like S.V.Subbiah, S.V.Rengarao,T.S.Balaiah,V.K.Ramasamy and M.R.Radha of the last century. Innocent has in him, a trait or two of all these actors and with his own  masterly strokes has added pep and dynamism to each of his role performances. Voice is the greatest asset of Innocent. It is a tremendous voice pattern capable of churning out several emotions at one stroke. In expressing anxiety and nervousness, he may resemble T.S.Balaiah and in increasing his decibel he may be closer to V.K.Ramasamy. In moments of dignified silence he will bring the veteran SV.Subbiaha to our memory. In deliberation of hasty dialogues ending up  in a sudden switch off, he will be like S.V.Rengarao and Radha. It is my remarkable association with Tamil Cinema, that makes  me equate Innocent with the stalwart character actors in Tamil films. Otherwise, one could simply say he is an actor in the line of Adoor Bhasi,  opening up newer channels and intricacies in acting, through his independent creative formulations .
     As far as quality of role performance is concerned, Innocent heralds fresh throws and trends in acting by injecting hilarity and emotions relevantly to the context, thereby making himself incomparable. One could say he is unbeatable in combining comedy with character projection.The salient humour shots of Innocent, generate more from his physical demonstration [otherwise known as body language]than from his utterances. It is a kind of immobile, stony stance he periodically maintains in his body language, resulting in instant laughter.His face is a symbolic exterior,shuffling expressions and emotions in a sequence, through the calculated movement of his eyes and lips. Most often, one could perceive an ostensible stubbornness in his body mould and gesticulations, that would successfully reflect him as an unrelenting talent. Yes, as an aggressive artist, he would not surrender his position  to anyone in any context. Be it in the midst of reputed Malayalam big screen comedians ,or great heroes like Mammootty,Mohanlal Jeyaram and Dileep, the presence of Innocent, will be a poignant indicator of the shot that stays glued to the memory of the audience.
       Malayalam films abound in rib tickling physical and verbal comedy scenes vigorously carried on by a hearty tribe of humour mongers, like[ late] Cochin Haneefa,Jagathy Sreekumar,Harisree Ashokan,Salim Kumar, and Sooraj Venjaramoodu. Among these seasoned comedians, the first two have excelled in character acting too. But Innocent belongs to a specific category of actors capable of establishing an endearing link with the audience, demanding an invisible personal acceptance. It is difficult to bring in the list of all his great movies because the number itself is great. However, there are some special films, that would force the audience to keep thinking not only about those films, but also about Innocent’s contribution towards enriching the quality of the films.
      In this regard, my memory archive could release from storage films like Kilukkam, Devasuram, Life is Beautiful,Vietnam Veedu,Ravanaprabu ,Mithunam, Rasathandhiram, Manichithrathaazhu, Balettan,Naran,Madampi,Ustaad, Alibhai,Baba Kalyani,Maambazhakkaalam,Snehaveedu, Gitanjali [all with Mohanlal}Hitler, Pattaalam Valiettan, Chronic Bachelor, Kaazhcha,Vesham,Kadha Parayumbol, Pranchiettan &the Saint with Mammootty,Verudhe Oru Bharya,Bagyadhevadha with Jeyaram,Nanedanam and Vellithira with Prithviraj and Chandran Udhikkunna Dhikkil,Vettam, Ishtam Marykkundoru Kugnaadu,Paapy Appachan,and Aagathan with Dileep, apart from the mega hit multi-starring Twenty Twenty produced by Dileep.
      I have given here only the list of significant movies that I have watched. I have not seen his most popular films like Mannar Mathai Speaking l and ll and Husbands in Goa.The eventful scenes of comedy and character performance of Innocent, are an on-the-spot  quick fix, refusing to leave the memory slot. The periodical  quarrels between him and his wife in’ Life is Beautiful’ ending up in a sweet course of romance, thanks to Mohanlal, his helplessness in preserving secrets in ‘Rasa Thandhram' his comedy time presented in association with  Mukesh and Harishree Ashokan in ‘Chronic Bachelor’ and in almost a similar role as a confirmed bachelor with a craving for women in Ishtam,,his rigid approach towards his son in ‘Pappy Appachan’ and his self-centered clandestine banking  activities in ‘Chandran Udikkunna Dikkil’are a few samples of the variety dimensions of characters he played on screen with precision and perfection.Besides these memorable performances, it was a pleasure to see him in priestly roles in a few movies and the way he fixed himself compactly,with unfailing look of dignity and sanctity in the character of God, in ‘Philips and the Monkey’s Pen’.
     Innocent’s progress and sustenance in the field of acting has been both stable and substantially qualitative like the unobstructed acting career of the Tamil comedienne Manorama.The presence of this amazing actor in several Malayalam films is not due to any special favour shown to him, but because of his indispensability for adding certain amount of valid vibration to the narration of the main story. Above all, his amiable frame of innocence, capable of delivering the perennial flow of mischief and humour, is his potential  market value, selling himself lovably into the hands of many film makers as an inevitable value addition.The really complicated issue in the case of this renowned Malayalam movie lord is the difficulty in assessing, when actually Mr.Innocent is mischievous and when this cheeky mischief maker is helplessly innocent.This is certainly the piquant side of the 'Innocent' face of Malayalam Cinema.
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Friday, August 22, 2014

An ''Intensively, Dialogue Supported'' Film.

      



      Radhakrishnan Parthiban’s ‘’Kadhai Thiraikadhai Vasanam Iyakkam’’ {Story, screenplay, Dialogue and Direction’’} carrying the apologetic note ‘a  film without a story’ rightly justifies the note. Perhaps the lengthy title of the movie has inspired the director in Parthiban to expand his name too, from the hitherto R.Parthiban to Radhakrishnan Parthiban. The four worded title, in my opinion, could do Parthiban {one of my highly esteemed Tamil film personalities known for creative originality,in the line of K.Balachander Barathiraja and Kamalahasan }genuinely  proud of the third component of the title.
       Parthiban,most reputed for his spontaneous potshots hardly misses them at any point of the scenic sequences and it is the banter and cheeky sense of humour that infuse consistent tempo and gusto to an otherwise moderate film and make it fit for audience appreciation. Every scene showing Arvind{Dhinesh Natarajan} snubbing Seenu Sir {Thambi Ramaiah} is a mixture of juvenile presumptuousness  and senile helplessness. But  the amount of hilarity and laughter these scenes generate, are a great stuff, minimizing the  impact of the loopholes in narration.
   Parthiban’s banter is not anything new to us. We have been interestingly watching it from his very first film Pudhiya Paadhai. Besides his word teasers, we have also seen a kind of mood shuffling, deftly introduced by him in narrating his scenes and characters. This mood shuffling of Parthian is always a beautiful blend of humour,despair, anger, taunt and cynicism, hardly sparing any section of society including women. His wrath against irresponsible parents for the creation of bastards, criminals and thugs used to surface in some of his most successful films. He has not spared the political system and police force too. 
    There is a kind of creative audacity in him that places him far ahead of others, involved in making films. One could also see a pattern of mood imbalance prioritized in the form of themes and characters in many of his films and even in this latest venture, there is a character-a security guard-talking to the ghost of his boss. Satire is Parthiban’s pet area and in this film he has run the risk of temerity, in throwing stones from a glass house, not minding the damage it might cause to his own creative abode.
   The caricature of Lord Bramma, briefly played by Praksh Raj is nothing but a hurried hotchpotch. In fact all the beginning shots, except the one showing Vijay Sethupathi stealing the ceiling fan instead of  doing the anticipated act of committing suicide by hanging from the fan,do not seem to evoke the intended result of creating an inventive approach. Similarly,the story within the story, showing Arya and Amala Paul as lovers, turns out to be a listless narration without adding any tempo to the main course. 
    In one scene a woman is shown asking the film making team if they do any preview of their films. When the team responds in the affirmative, pat she asks them, then why the films are so intolerably bad. This is Parthiban’s style of self-criticism that has the potential to endanger his own script and its final outcome. But he does not bother  about that.
    Two characters who monitor the pulse of the film from the audience track, are Arvind and Seenu Sir.I am sure this is yet another memorable performance of Thambi Ramaiah after Myna and Kumki. The sly reference to Devar Films leaves its intentions to audience perception. But the new generation film makers should not forget the fact that Devar Films had its distinct merit of grasping what would sell and what would not.The pointed reference to Bagyaraj excellently handling the climax in his most celebrated filmAndha Ezhu Naatkal, speaks about the quality of career association between Parthiban and Bagyaraj.
    Santhosh Pradap playing the hero is compact in form and performance, maintaining the level of sobriety that his role requires. Akila Kishore as the heroine Daksha, has been adequately utilized in reflecting the aesthetics and dynamism of womanhood. Dialogues such as ‘you deserve a kiss’ and koyya pazham becoming koidha pazham would reach the younger audience in their romantic ripeness.
    The film unit repeatedly says that the audience are the ultimate jury to accept or reject a film. Four of us went to watch the film. I loved the film for its cutting dialogues and screen play but regretted the absence of anything new in theme and direction. One of my companions could not watch it because her kid cried at the irrelevant horrid start of the film.The three year old kid, used to watching films with a projector at home, rejected the movie and asked us to change the film.As we could not do it at a theatre, the mother and kid instantly left the theatre. Of the other two,one could withstand it, while the last in the list squarely hated the film, calling it a waste of time.Interestingly, all my companions for this movie watch, constituted the women audience. What the other sections of the audience would say, we have to wait and see.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Tamil Films on Patriotism.

























      Patriotism could be called a fine feeling cherished by everyone, for the well being of one's country.It is similar to one's love and attachment for one's parents or even more than that.One's patriotic ground turns firm and robust when one's country faces threat to its sovereignty or when its independence is under pressure from imperialist forces.To be ruled by others at the cost of one's freedom is worse than serfdom and suppression.When a country is suppressed,enslaved and ruled by others it results in untold agony and outbursts of resistance letting out a collective, clarion cry for freedom.It is then the natives' love for their country deepens its roots for a firm resolve, to guard their soil above everything else.Films quite often pay encomiums to the spirit of patriotism, in the form of exemplary themes,stories and characters.Tamil cinema has shown consistent enthusiasm and involvement in this regard.
     When one's country enjoys independence and freedom,the greatest effort sets in, to look forward to rejoicing moments of prosperity and peace and protect one's geographical frontiers against corrupt and divisive forces that begin to function with vested interests. When the native rulers at times, make the people feel that their post independent era is no better or even worse than that of the colonial rulers,the true patriots begin to simmer in rage and react vehemently, to the prevailing practice of injustice that dampens the presence of independence.Patriotism does not say goodbye, when a country becomes independent.On the other hand,it is a sustained sense of fulfillment when one feels that everything goes on on well ever,in one's country, thereby making the concept of freedom more meaningful and rewarding. Pre-independent years in India witnessed the united voice of patriotism in ousting the colonial forces;post independent years have propelled patriotic fervour against selfish power mongers, settling their personal scores through money,muscle and the might of governance.
     Tamil films on patriotism, released just before and a decade after independence,dwelt mostly on the defence forces devotedly guarding the territories, from cross border aggression by neighbouring countries.There were also a few impressive shows of freedom fighters, through films like Veera Pandia Kattabomman,Siva Gangai Seemai and Kappalottiya Thamizhan released during the Nineteen Sixties and these films carried substantial relevance to the mood of freedom.A couple of films like Padhi Bakthi, Rathathilagam and Paarthaal Pasitheerum,paid grand tributes to the service and sacrifices of soldiers, languishing at the defence borders.In a majority of films, the greatest Tamil actor Sivaji Ganesan was seen adding glory to the heroes of patriotism by his emotional percolation into such characters. He did this not only by adorning the protagonist's role in patriotic films, but also proudly facilitating the spirit of patriotism through a scenic or song sequence of that kind in any film, on other family or social themes such as Baratha Vilas and Rajapart Rangadhurai.
   Heroes like Vijayakanth and Sarathkumar have time and again carried on their struggle for a brighter and more powerful India,through their repeated role performance in a number of films. Rajinikanth's Raanuva Veeran,Saratkumar's Captain and Yei, Vijayakanth's Sandhanakkatru,and Satyaraj's Thai Naadu have narrated story lines directly related to the experiences of army men. There was also an army related story background in Prabu Deva's Villu starring Vijay.Most of these films tried to pinpoint negative tendencies among some army men  that transformed them into anti nationals at the cost of their fundamental patriotic requirements.  
     Social inequalities,neglect of those who fought for the freedom of India,promotion of deliberate injustice for the sake of personal aggrandizement,have served as powerful themes and have dramatically supplemented the patriotic voice, in a number of films and the proud fact is this kind of films are more popular with the audience at all times.It comes as a comprehensive story format of social concern and this is how some of the leading heroes create their mass base for success formula.This is how MGR became a people's hero.Almost all his films either completely or at least partially, formed a battleground against social evils and injustice.In this way,MGR became an all time hero and a stalwart voice of patriotism.
    As a director of the new generation,it is Shankar who has taken the lead in projecting social concern as synonymous of patriotism.His constant and compulsive line of thinking against corruption and injustice, places him as a front liner among the new wave patriots patrolling the field for a clean up.What is striking about this new tend in patriotism is the passion for pruning one's home through a simultaneous tone of sympathy for the personally and socially affected lot and through anger and force displayed in the cleaning process.
    Starting from his very first film Gentleman,Shankar has steadily grown as the brand master of the most sensational theme of political and social corruption being handled astutely by the concerted, anti corruption lobby.His Indian was the story of an erstwhile freedom fighter and a true patriot whose disgust against enormous corruption took him to the extent of terminating the whole corrupt lot and a single knife became the tool, picked up for the cleaning process.His film Mudhalvan resorted to a more positive and pragmatic approach, but finally showed the patriot embracing the firmer,manipulative Machiavellian mode to eradicate the evil political face.Shankar's other film Annian showed the patriot as a case of paranoid, split personality,choosing a much cruder method, for extinguishing the social and national enemies from within.His film Sivaji, like his Gentleman,focused on positive intelligence as a powerful ploy against the perpetrators of corruption and social injustice.
   When it comes to new generation actors,it is action king Arjun who looks up high as the proudest Patriot of Tamil cinema.Be it the titles of his films or the roles he has played so far, his conviction has placed him as the topmost among Tamil heroes,saluting their country's image and its flag with dignity and gratitude.Even from his earliest films like Sankar Guru and Pratap,Arjun has stuck to the position of a hard core fighter against the wrong side players spoiling the peace and happiness of the place they dominate.Titles of his films like Jai Hind,Thaayin Manikkodi,Vandhe Madhram straight away take us to the patriotic zone. Arjun deserves a singularly commendable position in Tamil Cinema, for powerfully presenting and representing the sense of well being, cherished by all Indians, in each of his films.He could be rightly called the Indian of Tamil Cinema.
   Films on patriotism would be perennially powerful as a thought provoking exhibit of heroism,dedication and sacrifice.A periodical portrayal of patriotic values on the big screen becomes a prerequisite for reinforcing the ethical foundation of every nation.The quality of life of all citizens of a country needs to be augmented and enriched by those who take oaths in the name of their conscience,to govern.Those who govern with qualms and ethical norms would ever remain as the truest patriots,inspiring the people who they govern.In a country where the citizens are inspired by valued governance,everyone shares the mood of patriotism towards the over all development of their country.
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