Monday, February 1, 2016

An Ace Tamil Film Director of a Quarter Century.


    There were more than half a dozen film makers who made Tamil Cinema proud,during the Nineteen Sixties and Seventies,by their creative excellence through a number of worthy and beautiful films.This Blog has already recorded with great appreciation, the remarkable contribution of directors like A.Bhimsingh,A.P.Nagarajan,P.Madavan,Krishnan Panju, K.S.Gopala krishnan, P.Madhavan A.C.Thirulokchandar and K.Balachander through its publication of many articles either collectively or independently of them, in different contexts.Of these,A.C.Thirulokchandar occupies a unique place for bringing out a vast variety of films in genres like historical fiction, family drama, romance,comedy and action with emotionally light and heavy events and characters.
    A.C.Thirulokchandar started his directorial venture under the big AVM banner, with the most successful film Veerathirumagan celebrating the musical grandeur of Viswanathan and Ramamurthy and the fascinating historical element pictured magnificently through a catchy narration of events .Actors like C.L.Anandan,S.A.Asokan Kumari Sachu,E.V.Saroja and others made a grand show of their performance to make the film a big hit.With this film this director's association with AVM studios grew stronger and he directed renowned films like Naanum Oru Penn,Anbe vaa, Kaakkum Karangal,Ramu,Adhe Kangal,Enga Maamaa and Babu.
  Of these Anbe Vaa needs a special mention because it was the only movie of MGR under the AVM banner and it was also the only film of MGR that A.C.Thirulokchandar directed.Similarly Adhe Kangal was a thriller cum action film.Both these films were wonderful entertainers with the beautiful blending of comedy,romance and action. Anbevaa was a little more breezy in narration but both the films were highly acclaimed for their rich music quotient. Naanum Oru Penn and Ramu were extraordinary family stories gracefully narrated with the amazing performance of actors like S.S.Rajendran,Gemini Ganesan, S.V.Rengarao,V.Nagaiah,Vijayakumari and K.R.Vijaya.Both the films demonstrated the emotional strength and nobility of womanhood.
    Beyond all these outstanding list of films what made A.C.Thirulokchander stand firmly to the ground of his career was his right understanding of Sivaji Ganesan's profound perceptions of acting and the right way he made use of that colossal actor for a leading show of his films.In other words it was the intimate creative relationship between Thirulokchandar and Sivaji Ganesan that enabled the former to dedicate a major portion of his career towards exhibiting what Sivaji Ganesan was as an actor of legendary stuff.It was an emotional parade that Sivaji Ganesan made under the stewardship of Thirulokchander.
   Starting from his first film Thangai,produced by the Sujatha Cine Arts Production house of K.Balaji, Thirulokchandar went on to make not less than twenty five films with Sivaji Ganesan.Their combined show of unforgettable films were,Thangai,Thirudan,En Thambi, Enga Maamaa, Iru Malargal, Bharatha Vilas, Engirundho Vandhaal, Dheiva Magan,Babu,Pilot Prem Nath,Ennaipol Oruvan, Avanthaan Manidhan,Avan Oru Sarithiram and a few others.His last film with Sivaji Ganesan was Anbulla Appa another AVM release.Most of them were also the best films of Sivaji Ganesan putting his heart and soul to the role he performed.Almost half of them were silver jubilee hits too.
    There were a few memorable non-Sivaji films like Panjavarnakili,Sondham,Deeegasumangali Badrakaali and Aval that travelled through the memory lanes of every body, depositing precious emotions and dignified attitudes towards human relationship, particularly between spouses.Excepting the last two,K.R.Vijaya played the female lead in all the other films symbolizing either wifely or womanly devotion to the better half.Both Badrakali and Dheerkasungali transmitted the pang of sorrow ending on a tragic note.While Dheerga Sumangali rejoiced over the incomparable state of conjugal harmony,Badrakaali was the sum total of a woman being a replica of divine strength. It was really unfortunate that Rani Chandra who played the female lead in Badrakali, died in an accident, during the time of release of the film.
   Sondam was a vibrant family drama with a lot of positive energy reflected by K.R.Vijaya as the passionate wife of a  rude and wayward husband,played by Muthuraman.Pramila who played the second heroine demonstrated her great strength of acting in doing her best, to reform the hero.All the five films listed here, showed Thirulochandar's dynamism and power of understanding of human emotions and family relationship.Aval which was a Tamil remake of the Hindi blockbuster Doraha,sharply focused on the plight of a woman/wife raped by her husband's trusted friend. Strangely, actor Sasikumar who did the role of the husband of Vennira Aadai Nirmala,[the heroine of the film] in Aval, also died in a fire accident later.These films, along with the Sivaji Ganesan masterpieces, truly enriched the quality of Tamil Cinema.
   What was special about Thirulochandar's direction was his remarkable thrust on a variety of human emotions and the impact of vibration those emotions would transpire.When it comes to depiction of the tragic core or intensity of grief, this director would ever stay unsurpassed.Some would call it melodramatic;but for many viewers those were events on the big screen, capable of inspiring,melting and mellowing the mood of the audience in the best manner possible.It would look as if the film watching experience was one of boiling in a cauldron of emotions, getting themselves ennobled, as gold gets purified in fire.For the highly emotional audience of the Nineteen Sixties and Seventies, this was the most rewarding experience and Thirulokchandar as an ace director  presented elegantly the existing lifestyles, as he did wonderfully, for example,in Dheiva Magan.This is how he got himself imprinted in the minds of the viewers, as a maker of living models of life, in celluloid form.
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Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Two Monumental Films of MGR.












       'M.G.R',the magnificent three letters, are inseparable from Tamil Cinema.This is because of the charismatic appeal of the man behind these letters and the way he carried on the brilliance and dynamism of the Tamil film industry on his shoulders, for nearly four decades,with pomp style and splendour.It was MGR who made Tamil Cinema a completely commercially viable field, with its success formula well defined and financial core well established.The indisputable fact was that even if an MGR film ran only for four weeks,it would not cause any financial loss for the producer.This is how quite a few films of Sando M.M.A Chinnappadevar,survived the victory mark.M.G.R's grasp of the fundamentals of film making was always strong.Social awakening,respect for women,mother sentiment,ebullient romance,swash buckling,abundant music sense clear and bold dialogue delivery [even after the miserable incident of gunshot} and an editorial mindset, were said to be the rare traits of this celluloid prototype, who later, went on to rule Tamil Nadu, with never failing love and support from an emotionally strong Tamil society.
    Starting from Mandhirikumari and Malaikkallan,it was an unending saga of grand show, till the last spell of his films like Needhikku Thalaivanangu and Netru Inru Naalai.Most of his films could easily cross the One hundredth day of screening and several others were silver jubilee hits.Some of the outstanding hits in this regard were,Mahadevi,Alibaabaavum Naarpadhu Thirudargalum, Thaaikuppin Thaaram, Thaaisollai Thattaadhe,Dheivathaai,Periya Idathu Penn,Anbe Vaa, Nadodi Mannan Kaavalkaaran, Padahotti, Kudiyirundha Koil,Nam Naadu, Petraalthaan Pillaiyaa,Engal Thangam, Maattukkaara Velan,Adimai Penn,Kannan En Kadhalan, Oli Viallku, Rickshakaaran, Idhayakkani, Urimaikural,Naalai Namadhe, Sirithu Vaazha Vendum and Ulagam Sutrum Valiban. But there are two films that stand apart, as colossal blockbusters.Both these films created a new sensation in their success rate one running for more than a year and the other claiming an epic status besides becoming a silver jubilee hit.The two films were Enga Veettu Pillai and Aayirathil Oruvan.
    There were some significant similarities between the two films.Both the films were released in 1965.While Enga Veettu Pillai produced by Vijaya Combines' Nagireddy and Chakrabani, was the Pongal release of that year,Padmini Pictures'Aayirathil Oruvan hit the screens five months later.For both the films the distinguished duo Viswanathan&Ramamurthy did the musical score. Nambiyar was the  redeemed villain in both. Nagesh and Madhavi provided the comic relief in the two films.While Engaveettu Pillai was directed by Chanakya,Aayirathil Oruvan was B.R.Panthulu's product.
    However,the differences between the two films were many.While Engaveettu Pillai was an enchanting family drama with M.G.R doing  double roles as twins, paired with B.Sarojadevi and Rathna,Aairathil Oruvan was a fantasy tale of slaves and provincial rulers, narrating exquisitely, events relating to the thirst for freedom,the quest for power and the zest for conquering human emotions through selfless love.It is the element of nobility and undemanding love that made the hero one in a thousand.Thematic excellence and narrative grandeur raised the film to its epic status, through exotic locales, reverberating romance and exalting music.
    Both Enga Veettu Pillai and Aayirathil Oruvan were celebrations in the music of ,Viswanathan Ramamurthy who never failed in their amazing musical delivery of songs with perfect clarity of lyrics and control of instrumental wield.The song "Naan Aanaiyittaal, Adhu Nadandhuvittal"{If I order and if it happens}created waves in villages and towns alike, raising one's positive energy levels to their peak.The song was a clarion call for creating the sense of right as an essential human virtue, towards achieving self actualization and personal freedom.In the stentorian voice of T.M.Soundarajan the song made each one's nerves throb with relentless power, to crush the evil forces and promote justice.The same way the song "Adho Andha Paravaipola Vaazhavendum"{We should live like the birds there}from Aayirathil Oruvan, expressed vigorously the collective cry for freedom from slavery.All the songs from both the films became very popular through out Tamil Nadu and in this regard,Aayirathil Oruvan would have created greater records than Enga Veettu Pillai. But the one song "Naan Aanaiyittal"would have surpassed all the songs of both the movies.
    Regarding the cast and the role performance of the actors,a special mention has to be made about the casual performance of S.V.Renga Rao in Enga Veettu Pillai, as the father of B.Sarojadevi one of the two heroines. K.AThangavelu as the erring accountant of M.N.Nambiyar and as an old man trying to protect his daughter from the ever stalking Nagesh,would ever stay remembered.Though M.N.Nambiyar was there in both the films,his scope for performance was more meaningful in Enga Veetu Pillai and he made effective use of the space given to him.MGR was of course a little more enchanting in Aairathil Oruvan but his performance in Enga Veettu Pillai simply stole the hearts of men, women and children alike.If the scene showing him being whipped by M.N.Nambiyar in the latter,drew tears from his hard core fans,the other scene showing him lashing Nambiyar back, was the most cheering one, making the whole audience clap and applaud.While the hero in Enga Veettu Pillai redeemed his erring brother in law through both innocence and vigorous resistance,he did a hat trick in Aayirathil Oruvan by redeeming every baddie through a consistent show of nobility,kindness and magnanimity.
    The romantic element in both the films was greatly appealing.However Aayirathil Oruvan was a captivating show of romance with J.Jeyalalitha's grace and charm adding to its fascinating side.On the whole both were mega entertainers, living up to the cinematic aspirations of an eternal mass hero like MGR fulfilling the passionate desire of the Tamil audience for watching an MGR film.These two films not only exceeded the profit margin of a normal MGR film, but also remained as the most frequently watched films of MGR.The success factor of these films was rather unique and no doubt Aayirathil Oruvan title was given to a 2010 film, starring Karthik Sivakumar and the song Naan Aanaiyittaal became the title of another MGR film.There came, also a digital version of Aayirathil Oruvan, reflecting the zeal of the Tamil film world to stay stuck to the film.All these historic facts make Enga Veettu Pillai and Aayirathil Oruvan the two monumental films of MGR.
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Friday, January 1, 2016

Tamil Films on Men, with Two Women Syndrome.

 

















 









   Women play an important place in the lives of men both in real life and in the world of Cinema. After all, cinematic presentation of events and characters has a lot to do with real life. It is the generational perspectives that pointedly give a new dimension to reflection of attitudes and behaviour both in real life and in their portrayal, on the big screen.
   Owing to the course of circumstances or due to the vagaries of men,at times, two women cross the lives of men either simultaneously or as uncommon intrusions, either before or after one's marriage. Though  in modern times parental role in Children's marriages is getting a newer dimension as facilitators,in the past the participation of parents in getting their wards married off,remained as one of the most vital responsibilities.Love marriages were not common events and even in such cases the difficulties in convincing the parents were too many.Richer parents playing foul in separating lovers could not be ruled out.There were communal factors in quelling the spirit of romance and even now we come across honour killings in the name of one's caste.In the midst of these realities does exist, the predicament of two women crossing the life of a man.
    Among the most popular heroes of the last century.MGR cautiously avoided such story lines.Any of his movies with two heroines will have him either playing a dual role, or two women loving him and he choosing to go with one of them.This is how one of the two women characters in films like Parakkum Paavai,Thozhilaali, Kannan En Kadhalan,and Naan Yein Pirandhein would silently suffer the pang of not getting him.The image-conscious hero carefully avoided sailing between two shores.
    The most frequent delineation of this two women syndrome would be the outcome of  either parental interference or circumstantial negative impact,on the lovers,leading to the occurrence of the hero marrying some other woman and the former woman stepping into his routine quite unexpectedly. The sudden reappearance of the former woman would throw a lot of emotional turmoil into the hero's family routine, in many an unwelcome dimension.This is how the two magnificent films Iru Malargal and Iru Kodugal, came as mind blowing experiences fort the viewers.In both the films it is the paternal heads who make their sons marry another woman through a course of emotional blackmail.
    The former was a grand Sivaji Ganesan show brilliantly told by veteran director A.C.Thirulok chandar.It was Padmini who as the pathetic lover of the hero, created an emotional storm in Iru Malargal. Sivaji Ganesan as the helpless victim of the manipulative circumstances, displayed a fabulous demonstration of concern for his former lover and deep love for his wife and daughter.His emotional sufferings and the pitiable position of the two women that he had to handle delicately,were poignantly portrayed on the big screen.K.R,Vijaya as the hero's wife was an embodiment of feminine grace and dignity.Even today the audience would be carrying disturbing memories of those anguished moments of screen watch.
    The latter was a Gemini Ganesan film adeptly and admirably narrated under the exemplary direction of K.Balachander.Gemini Ganesan well known for his subdued role performance made his character unenviable by his soft underplay of emotions. Sowkar Janaki as Gemini Ganesan's former woman, was a grand combination of conflicting emotions, such as the pride of the neglected woman coming up in life, with legitimate anger and fury against the man who failed to protect her, and her sympathy for her lover and his family with utmost feminine grace and compassion. It was really exciting to watch Sowkar Janaki,as district collector and Gemini Ganesan as the office superintendent at the collectorate,discussing heatedly, the loss of a file and the loss of Janaki's life at one stretch. Jeyanthi as the wife of the hero, delivered her role as the helpless home maker in an inimitable grumbling style.Every scene was well made and even now it would be a great pleasure to recall the stupendous moments of watching the film in a mood of total absorption.
   There were  the other two Sivaji Ganesan films  Paalum Pazhamum and Uyarndha Manidhan and Gemini Ganesan's Paarthaal Pasitheerum[shared as second hero with Sivaji Ganesan as main hero] which showed them marrying another woman either after seeing the death of the lover as in Uyarndha Manidhan or under the presumption, that their first wife is no more as in the other two films. Paalum Pazhamum had Sivaji Ganesan donning the role of a doctor working on a cure for tuber- culosis, with a nurse who later becomes his wife and gets affected by the very same disease.As she does not want to trouble her husband with her disease she disappears from his life.The doctor becomes depressed and after pressures from his family, agrees to marry his uncle's daughter.The hero also turns blind in a chemical explosion ,during the course of his research. Meanwhile his wife reappears and what follows adds up to the conflicting moments.B.Sarojadevi exquisitely played the role of the nurse and the hero's wife and Sowkar Janaki was compact in the role of the hero's marriageable cousin.
    Paarthaal Pasitheerum presented beautifully, the entanglement of the hero in not being able to disclose to his second wife, the fact that his first wife who was believed to be dead had come back alive but in a stat of blindness.Gemini Ganesan was a perfect bet for the powerful character fitting into its groove as naturally as possible. Where as Uyarndha Manidhan showed Sivaji Ganesan at the most powerful delivery point, entangled with the complexity of his son born of his association with his late lover, knocking at his doors years later.The son knew his father but the latter did not know him as his son.The dramatic events that followed were an emotional package beautifully delivered by the hero and his childless wife finally taking the youngster into their fold.Sivaji Ganesan,his charming lover Vanisri and the highly dignified and understanding wife Sowkar Janaki were all mightily carved characters making a mega impact on the screen, to last for a life time.Sivakumar as the orphaned son was just meek and lovely. All these films were magnificent revelations of how difficult it is for a man to undergo the trauma of the two women syndrome in their life.
   There was another film called Thenum Paalum, starring Sivaji Ganesan,Padmini and Sarojadevi appearing as the two wives of the hero.How the hero struggled between the two women was precisely described through a song"Nadhiyinil Vellam Karaiyinil Neruppu"{ one between the floods in the river and fire on the shore}sung by the hero.Though the film directed by P.Madhavan was not that popular,it did not fail to impress the audience because of the deeply emotional role performance of Sivaji Ganesan, Padmini and Sarojadevi. Then came Bharadhiraja's Mudhal Mariyadhai with the tale of a Platonic bond of love between a henpecked husband,[ whose wife  had gone astray before marriage],and a younger woman known for self dignity and positive energy,Here,Vadivukkarasi played the role of the wife and Radha  excellently performed the role of the other woman
    In this category there are two memorable films of Sivakumar narrating differently the tale of men living between two women.They are the humorously told 'Veetila Raman Veliyila Krishnan' and the most passionate Balachander film Sindhu Bhairavi.The first of the two released in 1983, was a freak kind of movie with vagaries taking the hero into an unusual experience of living with two women. The film directed by Manivannan had Radhika and Suhasini as the two women crossing the life of the hero.Manivannan did a similar kind of film with Mohan playing the lead and the film Gopurangal Saaivadhillai became a popular release of the Nineteen Eighties.In this film Mohan was not satisfied with the funny name of his wife called Arukkaani[neatly performed by Suhasini] and her rustic and shabby looks.Hence he went in search of a beautiful woman[[played by Radha]and the following incidents were an even mix up of  humour and pathos.The film pointedly tried to establish the core values of life.
    Whereas K.Balachander's Sindhu Bhairavi was an epoch making film, with Sivakumar playing the role of a renowned Carnatic musician and his wife Sulakshana who had no interest or love for music proving to be a fiasco in his musical routine.The arrival of another woman [here again Suhasini]with a distinct flair for music, wins over both the ego and love of the exceptional singer.What follows in the life of the musician is the core of an aesthetic and emotional experience for the audience.Here was another film to add to the proud moments of K.Balachander as a film maker of very high quality.It also brought a lot of accolades for the meritorious performance of Sivakumar with absolute grace ,charm and spontaneity.Both the women characters impressed the audience thanks to the natural and involved performance of Sulakshana and Suhasini.The musically talented and well informed Suhasini's character and the profoundly family bound Sulakshana's role, were both the two grand models of aesthetic and ideal womanhood.
     There were a couple of films of the invincible film maker  Balu Mahendra on this exceptional theme of double- women impact, on men's lives.This new wave director's narrative style was known for a charming element of aberration.Mohan's 'Rettaivaal Kuruvi'and Nizhalgal Ravi's 'Marubadiyum' are the two special Balu Mahendra films of this type.Rettaival Kuruvi was a catchy humomrous narration of how a man struggles to hide his extramarital relationship from his wife and manages his time between his second woman and his innocent wife. Archana an extraordinary, Balu Mahendra's well- groomed actress, beautifully performed the role of Mohan's wife.Radhika as Mohan's second wife, as usual delivered her brilliant performance effortlessly and created a special impact. Marubadiyum was altogether a very serious film depicting the vagaries of a film director for an actress possessively passionate about him.The movie also effectively portrayed the plight of the suppressed  wife of the director and it was a cake walk for the highly talented Revadhi to play this role.Both these films of Balu Mahendra dealt with a similar theme in two different dimensions with events and developments not related to each other.
    The most recent addition in this line of stories was Parthiban Kanavu starring Srikanth and Snega. This film felicitously narrated the tale of a youth falling for a woman and marrying another woman looking similar to her.His marriage is under the assumption that he is marrying the very same woman whom he fell for.But when the truth unfolds, his happiness dies and interestingly he soon happens to meet the girl who pulled his imagination.The later developments and the traditional culmination of the story, called for  a realization of what womanhood and marriage should actually mean for a man.
    The enigma of man-woman relationship is always an engrossing field for creative portrayal of stories and characters, through the medium of cinema.To deal with topics of one man living in between two women, becomes still more challenging for any film maker.For film makers of absolute psychological understanding of the intricacies of man woman relationship, stories of men with two women syndrome, takes one's imagination to exploring heights as to how  individuals make their destiny and how destiny shapes the life of  individuals.This is perhaps an endless zone for newer interpretations, in terms of the ever changing generational attitudes and perceptions.
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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Radha Mohan's Quest for Quality.

   


     Each creditable film maker,would like to have a firm base, on which they plan to build their creative empire or foundation.Some are ambitious to leave an empire behind themselves;some are contented to have at least their creative fundamentals well utilized during their life time.This is how a mighty film maker like K.Balachander who left a legacy of life time achievements behind him, did not hesitate to boldly and beautifully bulldoze Tamil cinema through controversial dialogues, unconventional narration of events and characters and  aggressive scenic expositions of thematic content in films like 'Arangetram','Aval Oru Thodarkadhai',' Aboorva Raagangal 'and 'Manamadha Leelai'.But his empire was strongly built on an unshakable base of films like 'Naanal','Edhir Neechal', 'Iru Kodugal','Punnagai','Major Chandrakanth','KaaviyaThalaivi','Bhama Vijayam' 'Velli Vizha' 'Poova Thaiyaa' and 'Nootrukku Nooru',besides several trend setting films with Kamalahasan and Rajinikanth.Even some of the controversial films succeeded because of the socially shocking new approach.
    But there are several other film makers in Tamil who stick to their core values strongly, in spite of their modest low profile ventures.They are a vital part of the stream of clean cinema.Radha Mohan is one such film maker who relentlessly sails his film boats on this stream selling his stuff without sound and fury.Quite often he creates a nostalgic mood for me, taking me to the times of Tamil Cinema of the early Nineteen Eighties when a film maker called Bharathi Vasu sailed his modest film boats, delivering high quality films like'Panneer Pushpangal' and 'Mella Pesungal'. Only an exclusive audience will remember Bharathi Vasu, who kept his pure video files on a clean shelf. Mohan is yet another film maker of this kind.
    Be it the choice of titles of his films or the style of narration Mohan's aesthetic interlinks of film making are well set to protect his films from the virus of vulgarity in narration.From 'Azhagiya Theeye' down to' Uppu Karuvaadu' his journey has been on a stream without ripples and needless noise.He makes a simple action plan that incorporates a story line, expanding into men and matters mixing up mellifluously for a seamless show of events on the screen.For Radha Mohan it is dialogues and events that matter more than the performing individuals because the focus is mostly on the cinematic interpretation of the human mind in relation to men and matters.It is a kind of intellectual exploration leading to the grasp of a situation through ideas and their presentation.I started this article with a reference to one of my most beloved film makers,[Late] K.B because Radha Mohan's platform like that of KB,opens up diverse channels for formalizing and reinforcing a proper understanding of life's intriguing situations caused by intriguing people.
    Among the six Tamil films made  by Radha Mohan so far, Prakash Raj has been of energizing support to five of his films, excepting the recent 'Uppu Karuvaadu'.'Mozhi' and 'Abiyum Naanum' have been critically reviewed and have received awards.Prasanna.Ravi Krishna,Prithviraj,Nagarjun and Karunakaran have all joined his bandwagon as heroes.His line of heroines includes Navya Nair, Gopika, Jyothika Trisha,Nandhitha and Rachitha,of whom the 'Mozhi' heroine achieved an award winning position through her distinct performance.Radha Mohan's films in general, are known for cherishing the dignity of women. Vidya Sagar has been the music composer for three of his films,while Ramesh Vinayagam, Pravin Mani and Steve Vatz have done the musical score for the rest.Radha Mohan is in the line of Sridhar the renowned film maker of the last century,in giving a feather touch, feel good factor, to his films, worthy of family watch.Similarly like  director Vikraman,he infuses a lot of positive energy, promoting a healthy experience of viewing events on the screen, that do not hurt the viewers' imagination or emotion.But for Vikraman's films, it is perhaps the big star impact, that claimed greater recognition and audience support.
    Radha Mohan should be credited for not repeating the same theme in all his films.Apart from romance, he has dealt with interesting aspects like the trauma of a facially disfigured youth{Ponniyin Selvan}the niceties and psychological subtleties embedded to the routine of a hearing and speech impaired woman,{'Mozhi'} a breezy capturing of the perfect bonding in a father and daughter relationship{'Abiyum Naanum'}an incident of flight hijack pictured in a lighter vein {'Payanam'}and now in 'Uppu Karuvaadu' {Salted Dry Fish},the  aspiration and plight of a youngster,earnestly entuned to the creative path,towards making a qualitative film.In all his makings, there lies a genial sense of humour and healthy element of satire passing smoothly and soothingly, as the underlying layers of narration.
     Coming to his latest venture,the title 'Uppu Karuvaadu' seems to be symbolic of the sum and substance of  creative inspiration and involvement in performance, filling the drier side of creativity with taste and refinement so that the created product becomes worthy of its salt.One can imagine the unpalatable quality of dry fish without its salt.Similarly without involvement, nothing happens to merit an acknowledgement.In other words, what one does, gains valued acceptance only by how it is done.
    The absence of Prakash Raj is very difficult to to be compensated in a Mohan movie.But  his absence is fairly filled here, by half a dozen actors.M.S.Bhaskar who would have frequently worked with Radha Mohan appears in a vibrant role with a menacing profile surpassed by his poetic whims ,Ilango Kumaravel, a regular addition in a Radha Mohan film does a neat job in correcting the dialogue segment of the hero's film venture, While Chaams comes upon with a Thirukkural piece matching the context, Narayan Lucky does the second fiddle. Mayilusamy provides the back up support. Karunakaran as hero,seems to be always in the grip of tension, with a tightened attitude, with regard to his role performance.His capacity for humour has taken the back seat,may be, not to let down the sober nature of his character in the film.There is always a clamor for perfection hitting the mood of the hero and his crew,through a collective clash of brains. Here and there, they come out with some dynamic delineation of scenes to their own enjoyment.The Malayalam singer's continued,clumsy interruptions do not enrich the humour component intended by his addition.The dialogue referring to the agony of erasing the name of a dear friend from one's mobile phone upon his death, adds a fresh dimension to the narration.
   However,apart from  all the positive intersections,the over all feel of the film is one of longing for more tempo and gusto, in the presentation of characters and events, so that the final impact could have been more impressive and memorable.In fact, one would be compelled to compare this film with R.Parthiban's 'Kadhai Thiraikkadhai Vasanam Iyakkam' released a year ago and in retrospect, give a little more credit to that film, for the simple reason that the latter struck a more cordial note with a larger section of the audience, through the cheeky sense of humour and tricky banter, that is part and parcel of the maker of Pudhiya Paadhai.Both these films do run the risk of throwing stones from inside a glass house, in a mood of professional introspection,as insiders, through a humorous and satirical assessment of the world of cinema. Comparatively Parthiban's potshots can be said to have made more powerful inroads in the minds of the audience. Setting aside the temptations to make such comparisons,if one looks at the overall stuff of Radha Mohan,the truth remains that his quest for quality is ever infallible, towards getting him a  lovable place in Tamil Cinema.
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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Energizing Music makers of Modern, Tamil Cinema.





    Music has been the most vital segment of Indian Cinema.Tamil films have most often hit the highest mark in terms of their musical glory.Starting from the days of G.Ramanathan,music has occupied the imagination of film makers as the foremost ingredient of the creative order of Tamil Cinema.Even after six decades, a vast number of songs of the last century are eagerly listened to,sung in musical contests and have attracted music composers of the existing generation for a fascinating remix.At the same time, there have stepped into the field,many new faces who are capable of stimulating the musical thirst of the audience, for an exuberant and rewarding experience.This article of my blog proposes to give due credit and appreciation to three music composers who have been distinctly enriching Tamil film music, by their celebrated contribution of songs and musical notes in new style and gusto, with the sole intention of energizing and entertaining the audience.They are Vidyasagar,Baradwaj and Harris Jeyaraj.
    Of these Vidyasagar is the oldest, who started his career in the late Nineteen Eighties with the Tamil film Poomanam. After this Vidyasagar's concentration turned to Telugu and Malayalam films winning quite a few awards particularly for Malayalam films.His most popular and strongest musical scores in Tamil were for Lingusamy's Run and Dharani's Dhil,Dhool and Gilli.He has been the preferred music maker for the films of Arjun such as En Thangai,Jai Hind, Karna, Ayudha Poojai and Vedham. Besides Gilli,his other Vijay movies include Thirumalai, Madhurey. Kuruvi and Kaavalan. With Ajith his films were Ji and Poovellaam Unvaasam.He has also been the favourite of directors like Radha Mohan [Abhiyum Naanum and Mozhi].His other reputed entries include K.V.Anand's Kana Kandein, R.Kannan's Jeyam Kondan and Karu Pazhanaiappan''s Paarthiban Kanavu.
    The other outstanding film known for his musical composition, is the Superstar's Chandramugi.I would have left out some other worthy films in my reference.But it is not the number of films that matters. Vidyasagar is always known for a special kind of rhythm that is closer to our heart beat.His music is rich in speedy energizers like 'Ichuthaa Ichu thaa','Theradi Veedhiyil','Kaadhal Pisaasu'[All from Run}'Kokkara Kokkarakko''Appadi Podu' { both from Gilli,},'Machaan Peru' {Madhurey}, 'Dhevudaa Dhevudaa' {Chandramugi} and unique melodies such as' Poi Solla Koodaadhu' from Run 'Malare Mounamaa'[Karna}'Aasai Aasai' from Dhool,'En Samayalaraiyil' from Dhil 'Neeya Pesiyadhu' from Thirumalai and 'Thathindhom' from Chandramugi.
    What is singularly absorbing about Vidayasagar's music, is the stupendous way of blending instrumental grandeur with vocal wield and the exceptional word clarity of lyrics, in his musical compositions. In other words,he would always see to it that the power lyrics is not eroded by instrumental monopoly.This is how he has amazingly exploited the power of singing of Shankar Mahadevan in songs like 'Aasai Aasai','Neeyaa Pesiyadhu' and 'Machaan Peru Madurey' by creating different moods with the voice magnificence of just one singer.'Neeyaa Pesiadhu' is in fact, one of my life time favourite songs.
    Unlike Vidyasagar,Bharadwaj and Harris Jeyaraj  have shown that their instrumental throb and reach, have a magnetic appeal, at times even to the extent of surpassing lyrical grandeur and vocal excellence.If Bharadwaj is a Saran favorite,Harris Jeyaraj has continued with Gowtham Menon in his journey towards hitting new rhythms of film making.Starting from Saran's first film Kadhal Mannan, Bharadwaj has added incomparable energy in his musical stuff, with songs like''Unai Paarthapinbu' {Kadhal Mannan} 'Satham Illaadha Ulagam Kettein'{Amarkalam}'Nenjuporukkudhu Gemini Gemini' 'Pennoruthi Pennoruthi'{Gemini} and ''Kalakkappovadhu Yaaru'{Vasool Raja MBBS}.He has given us energy packed songs in all the films of Saran.'His ever fascinating melodies are 'May Maasam Thonnuthettil' {Jay Jay}''Ovvoru pookalume'' {Autograph} and 'Unnodu' [Amarkalam} 'Paarthein Paarthein Suda Suda Rasithein' {Paarthein Rasithein}which prove his capacity for lyrical clarity and musical charm.The other notable films of Bharadwaj are Rojavanam,Pooveli and Rjakkoottam. But as a Saran team musician he has never failed to hit the mark in all the films of that juvenile director.He has also got an award for the film Gemini, a Saran hit.
     Harris Jeyaraj who began to enchant the audience by his most popular ''Vaseegara'' sung by Bombay Jeyashri in his first film Minnale,which also happened to be the first film footing of Gautham Menon,continued his exceptional musical magic in the other Gautham Menon hits like Kaakka Kaakka,Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu,Pachaikkili Muthucharam,Vaaranam Aayiram and Ennai Arindhaal. Apart from 'Vaseegara' {Minnale}his melodies like ''Idhudhaanaa''{Samy}''Paartha Mudhalnaale''{Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu}'Unnaale Unnaale'{Unaale Unnaale}''Oru Maalai'' {Ghajini} 'Ennamo Yedho'{Ko} 'Idhayathai Yedho Seidhaai''{Yennai Arindhaal} and 'Aathaadi Aathaadi' {Anegan}are of the rarest kind.Some of his energy packed numbers are 'Rahathulla Rahathulaa' {Ghajini}''Thangaamaari Oodhaari'{Anegan}and 'Adhaaru Udhaaru'{Ennai Arindhaal}
     Harris Jeyaraj has also made an impressive show in Hari's Saamy, in which all the numbers were mega hits.His other Hari films were Kovil and Arul. Shankar who would not think of any one other than A.R.Rehaman for his films,deviated twice to induct Harris Jeyaraj for his films Anniyan and Nanban whose success also depended upon the captivating songs like 'Iyengaaru Veettu Azhage' 'Kaadhal Yaanai''Andangkaakaa  Kondaikaari'and 'Kannum Kannum Nokiyaa'[ all from Anniyan] and 'Enfriendapola Yaaru Machaan','Olli Jelli' [from Nanban].His felicitous musical component enriched the over all quality of films like Ayan, Aadhavan,Gajini,Unnaale Unnaale,Ko Maatraan, Enrenrum Kaadhal,Thuppaakki, Oru Kal Oru Kannaadi and Anegan.
    While the music directors of earlier generation were making miracles in music from the existing raagaas and swarams,the new generation composers keep on exploring the nuances of the human voice and the plausible reach of stringed,wind and percussion instruments in newer dimensions. Moreover,the keyboard in their hands becomes the key to unlock the doors,to a fantasy zone, for a panoramic reach of their auditory imagination for never experienced musical niceties. To put it in a nutshell, it is the freshness of music in a kind of research perspective, that has led Tamil film industry to a hugely exalting proportion.
    Though all the three music composers have struck a note of individuality and charm Harris Jeyaraj appears to have moved closer to the younger audience, to stay as their heart throb in the line of A.R.Rehaman.The fact that he is the youngest among the three, could be a reason for this, because only a youngster can read the pulse of the youth and their preference for a particular brand of music. Again,of the three men,it is Harris Jeyaraj who commands a greater instrumental wield to capture the imagination of music lovers.But it can not be ignored that the other two musicians will also find an immortal place in Tamil Cinema, because of their extraordinary contribution of energy and solace, through their fast and soothing numbers.It would not be an exaggeration to say that all the three music makers, have wonderfully modernized Tamil film music, through their independent musical might and punch.
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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A Film Maker of Crime,Justice and Punishment.


     


     To be consistently focused on a particular theme and genre is the mindset of some film makers. This is how A.Bhimsingh specialized on family drama and K.S Gopalakrishnan and Barathraja chose to set their films on the rural stage.In a similar way,director S.A.Chandrasekar loved to portray a huge galaxy of crime and punishment,in different forms,both within and outside the legal parameters. Starting from his very first film Sattam Oru Iruttarai,he has been concentrating on this most vital aspect of human life with storyline and action fitting the ambiance of criminality and justice in a variety of style in exposition.
   In exhibiting the world of crime and justice Vijayakanth became his right hand hero, fighting crimes with fire, sheen and gusto.Vijayakanth was not just the hero of his first film but nearly twenty of his films.Apart from Sattam Oru Iruttarai. some of their significant joint journeys on the road to justice were Sivappu Malargal,Sattam Oru Vilaiyaattu,Jaadhikoru Needhi, Needhiyin  Marupakkam, Enakku Naane Needhipathi, Needhikku Thandanai,Rajanadai,Rajadurai, Saatchi and Vetri,the last one produced by P.S.Veerappa,the last century's pride of villainy in Tamil Cinema.
   Even their other two popular films Sendhoora Paandi and Periyanna. were not free from their struggle for goodness and justice though these two films carried the romantic element of young heroes like Vijay [son of this director] in the former and Soorya in the latter.One could say that it was S.A.Chandrasekar who shaped the early film career of Vijayakanth.The other fact is like P.Neelakandan who directed a large number of MGR films,it is S.A.Chandrasekar who has directed Vijayakanth's role performance in a maximum number of movies.It should also be mentioned here that for the film Needhikku Thandanai, it was the DMK leader Dr.M.Karunanidhi who wrote the story.
    S.A.Chandrasekar's film journey with his son Vijay, consisted of romance,crime and punishment.  'Once More' was perhaps the only film, from the father and son combination, which was an exclusive tale of freak romance and had the pride of enrolling Sivaji Ganesan and  B.Sarojadevi, in meaty roles, pleasantly recalling their romantic experiences of the Ninteen Sixties' famous film Iruvar Ullam, directed by the most renowned film maker L.V.Prasad.
   All the other films of Vijay such as Nalaya Theerpu, his debut film as hero,and others like Vishnu, Deva,Rasigan,Maanbumigu Maanavan,Nenjinile and Aadhi showed the hero fighting injustice besides doing romance.But unfortunately,excepting Thamizhan, for which S.A.Chandrasekar wrote the screen play,almost all the films of Vijay directed by his father, did not do well at the box office. No doubt films like Aadhi,Nenjinile and Vishnu were all fast in narration and were not of the boring category.But it is a bitter truth that Vijay who takes the credit for giving the maximum hits among the younger heroes,could not play the hat trick in the case of his father.
   The most talked about film of S.A.Chandrasekar was the Superstar's blockbuster, Naan Sigappu Manidhan.It was a consummate narration of crime and justice neatly presenting the gruesome plight of a college professor who had to take law in his hands, to punish a most crooked and brutal anti social gang.The fascinating addition of Bagyaraj in the role of a private detective{ as CID Singaram}  was an added telling point, for the entertainment component of the film.The grandeur of the movie and its title were so deeply imprinted in the minds of the audience and the film makers that the same title was recently used for a Vishal movie, to treat an altogether different story line. S.A.Chandra Sekar's film had Sathyaraj playing the villain and Ambika as the pair of Rajinikanth.Released in the mid Nineteen Eighties, the film not only drew huge audience to the theatres, but also received very positive reviews.
     Like 'Once More' there were a couple of pure romances from the creative kitty of this director. They were Vasantharagam{another Vijayakanth film}and Nenjirukkumvarai.Pandhayam was also a love story but it was action packed. Some of his latest popular releases were Sattapadi Kutram and Touring Talkies.S.A.Chandrasekar has directed about eighty films of which I have included all the important films here.Besides being a reputed director, S.A.Chandrasekar is the proud father of a very talented mass hero, who has made victory as his trade mark, besides his name itself symbolizing victory.But the point here is that S.A.Chandrasekar has constantly made his thrust on a society, free from crime and illegality. In this respect, he could be fairly called the most prominent director of films, based on the core of crime and punishment.
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Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Status of Heroines in Tamil Cinema..


 







































 








    There is a famous saying in English literature, that Shakespeare the most renowned dramatist, has in his plays, no heroes, but heroines .This statement is perhaps the outcome of the fact that in many plays of Shakespeare,the women protagonists are more resourceful and inspiring, than the men characters.But in Tamil Cinema, the approach to women characters has generally been the other way round. The status of heroines in Tamil Cinema has hardly been ever different from that of Indian women in general and Tamil women in particular.
    Starting from the inception of the Tamil film industry, heroines were always on a slippery or unstable ground, when compared to heroes.The industry has mostly been hero-centric, with some heroes found dominating the stage, more than others.We have come across all time heroes, as well as short time heroes.But as far as heroines are concerned, a majority of them would not have reached the fifty films mark.Even before reaching that magic number, many of them would have been pushed to the role of elder sisters and mothers of  the all time heroes.
    This is how actresses like Pandaribai,G.Varalakshmi,S.Varalakshmi and even T.R.Rajakumari were seen within a short span of time as elder sisters and mothers of heroes and upcoming heroines. Except G.Varalakshmi,the other three heroines later acted as the mothers of MGR. Among the senior most actresses,excepting  Padmini, others such as V.N.Janaki, B.S.Saroja, Madhuri dhevi T.R.Rajakumari and P. Banumathi could not dream of doing at least fifty movies as heroines in Tamil.All these women were either married off and left the scene, or remained contented with roles other than that of heroines.
   The number of films released during the Nineteen forties and fifties, were considerably less than those released later.Perhaps this would also have restricted the opportunity for the heroines to maintain a stable position in the industry.Though competitions were much less then,because of film acting being considered as a taboo or even a stigma,some of the actresses like P. Banumadhi, Vaijayanthimala,Anjalidhevi and Padmini could make greater innings than others,because of their singing or dancing calibre. Of these women, Vaijayanthimala could find a permanent place in Bollywood, after doing not less than a dozen films in Tamil with the topmost heroes of Tamil Cinema, like MGR,Sivaji Ganesan and Gemini Ganesan.
     Padmini who achieved stardom in Tamil Cinema also had a meaningful stint in Hindi films. Padmini  was perhaps the first heroine, who found a status for herself as a longstanding heroine in the Tamil film industry.This was because,her contemporary heroine P. Banumathi was shuttling between Telugu and Tamil films, making a more vital impact on Telugu cinema,as  her mother tongue being Telugu. Anjalidevi was also in a similar position.
    After Padmini,it is known to all those well versed with information on Tamil films, that it was four other actresses who found an enviable place in Tamil Cinema, as the most outstanding heroines.They were,Savithri,Sarojadevi,K.R.Vijaya and J.Jeyalalitha. All the other heroines, despite some of them being greatly talented and being award winners, have stayed way far behind these four women.One of the vital objectives of this article is to throw light on the mettle of  some such heroines, whose contribution to Tamil Cinema could have been brief but solidly memorable.
    The value of a heroine till the mid Seventies, was in fact measured by their ability to withstand for a longer period, as the favoured heroines of MGR and Sivaji Ganesan.MGR's pet heroines from the middle Nineteen Fifties were,P.Banumathi,Sarojadevi,Jeyalalitha, Manjula and Latha. Here and there he would have made some adjustments for other heroines like Savithri K.R.Vijaya and Vanisree. Whereas Sivaji Ganesan had a huger list of heroines, with himself being cast as hero.Besides his most frequent heroines like Padmini,K.R.Vijaya and Jeyalalitha,he would have been paired with' heroines like Sowkar Janaki, Devika, Vanisree, Manjula and Usha Nandini,He would also have opted for younger heroines like, Sujatha, Srividhya,Sripriya, Saritha,Ambika and Radha.
    However,in spite of domination of heroes and hero based stories, once a way, there came films based on the importance and achievements of women.There were hits like Penn,Adhisia Penn, Adutha Veettu Penn,Naanum Oru Penn, Pudhumai Penn,Mangaiyar Thilagam, Bagyalakshmi, Kalathur Kannamma,Annai,Chithi,Kula Vilakku,Namma Veetu Lakshmi, Vaani Raani, Thaamarai Nenjam, ,Mayor Meenakshi,Vandhaale Maharaasi Avalukkenru Oer Manam, Aval Oru Thodar Kadhai and so on.There were also movies bearing women's name as titles such as Devaki,Dr.Savithri,Saratha, Karpagam, Malathi, Vaijayanthi IPS Pavithra and Bhavani.All these films distinctly and poignantly, presented the struggles and accomplishments of different types of women making a tremendous mark, both at the domestic fold and in their career field.The variety in story and character formation, handled with imagination and intelligence, by amazingly qualified film makers, made these films a wonderful treat for the viewers.
    Moreover, unlike MGR, in many of the Chevalier's films, the heroines would not remain as mere  glamour pieces but would substantially emote to claim their valued position, as heroines adorning meaningful roles.Films like Mangayar Thilagam, Iru Malargal,Kai Kodutha Dheivam, Engirundho Vandhaal,Savaale Samaali,Sivagaamiyin Selvan,Thillaanaa Mohanaambaal and Mudhal Mariyaadhai would prove the fact that Sivaji Ganesan would ever like to draw a line for competition and appreciate the talent of the heroines exhibited well in his films.
    Actresses like Devika and Vanisri made a telling impact on the Tamil audience for more than fifteen years, though they would not have ruled Tamil Cinema with more number of films,like K.R.Vijaya and Jeyalalitha.No one can forget Devika's sterling performance in films like Nenjil Oer Aalayam, Aandavan Kattalai,Karnan, Sumaithaangi and Vaazhkai Padagu.She had also acted in films like Paava Mannippu, Annai Illam,Muradan Muthu,Anbukkarangal,Pazhani and Bale Pandia with Sivaji Ganesan. The only movie she did as MGR's pair was Aanandha Jothi.She was known for admirable charm and grace, always fond of reflecting beautifully, the spirit of submissive womanhood.She could not be thought of playing feminist roles and she was a fascinating pair of Sivaji Ganesan,Gemini Ganesan and Muthuraman Notwithstanding her enchanting looks and subdued acting skills, she could not reach the status of heroine stardom.
    The other vibrant and  ebullient performer Vanisri deserves a commendable place for her remarkable performance in films like Uyarndha Manidhan,Vasantha Maaligai,Vaani Raani and Kulama Gunama.Resembling Savithri, in appearance and acting style, to a great extent, she was a perfect match for Sivaji Ganesan though she would have paired with Jai Shankar in more number of movies.She had also been the heroine of MGR, in films like Kannan En Kaadhalan,Thalaivan and Oorukku Uzhaippavan. But she is remembered for her exuberant performance in Balachander's beautiful films Velli Vizha and Thaamarai Nenjam[in which she and Sarojadevi as intimate friends, were trying to outwit each other in giving up their love interest for the sake of the other].She was a sparkling and sprightly performer, but unfortunately she focused more on Telugu films like P.Banumadhi.
    There were a few other heroines, who made a brief but brilliant stint in Tamil films.Take for instance,the National award winner Oorvasi Saradha, whose remarkable role performance in Thulaabaaram still remains green in our memory.In reflecting the mood of anguish and agony she remained unbeatable.Starting from Kungumam,she was seen growing up the ladder of acting, with an extraordinary strength to emote beautifully and powerfully. She acted as the younger sister of both Sivaji Ganesan{Gnana Oli}and MGR{Ninaithathai Mudippavan} and was last seen as the unwed mother of the Superstar in AVM's Mr.Bharath.
   There were two great Kannada artists who made a striking mark in the minds of the Tamil audience. They were Barathi Vishnuvardhan and Jeyanthi.The latter was a Balachander favourite and performed amazingly with the able guidance of her mentor, in films like Edhir Neechal, Punnagai,Iru Kodugal,Velli Vizha and Baamaa Vijayam. She could adeptly handle comic and grief stricken roles with equal efficacy and found a lasting place in Tamil Cinema, through her short but scintillating verbal throw and display of emotions. Her ever grumbling tone with a nasal touch, was her special asset.
    Bharathi was a perfect pair of Jai Shankar and Ravichandran. If B.Sarojadevi resembled Vijayanthi mala to some extent,Bharathi looked like Sarojadevi. Though she could not attain the dream girl status,Bharathi made a sterling performance in Avalukkenru Oer Manam,under the ace direction of Sridhar.She was the second heroine in MGR's Nadodi and was paired with Sivaji Ganesan in T.R.Ramanna's Thanga Surangam. But her Tamil dialogue delivery could not escape the intrusion of her mother tongue Kannada.She was also a favourite of the Malayalam film industry and made a striking role performance in Mohanlal's Narasimham.
   Saritha and Archana whose black complexion did not deter their classic levels of acting,were wonderfully groomed by directors like Balachander and Balu Mahendra.While Saritha got an an award for her unique show in Agni Saatchi,her other Balachander films like Achamillai Achamillai and Thanneer Thanneer were great hits.Later she did a remarkable role in Sivaji Ganesan's Keezh Vaanam Siakkum as the latter's daughter-in-law.Her belligerant performance in Mouna Geedhangal would have been a tough challenge for Bhagyaraj, the most cheerful face of Tamil Cinema.ForArchana,the award for her performance in Balu Mahendra's Veedu, was a highly deserving point.Both these women overcame their shortcomings in appearance by an admirable delivery of emotion -packed and refined performance of well- marked characters.
    Sowkar Janaki who also belongs to this category of less glamorous heroines, was never lagging behind men in her portrayal of highly challenging roles.In most of her roles, as Sivaji Ganesan's pair,she could noticeably give him tough times, in competing with him, in films like Padikkadha Medhai,Paar Magale Paar,Motor Sundaram Pillai,Paarthaal Pasitheerum and Uyarndha Manidhan.She would also have been a challenge for  Veteran K.Balachander in casually creating records  both as a sobre and comic performer in films like Iru Kodugal, Kaaviya Thalaivi, Edhir Neechal,Bhaama Vijayam and Thillu Mullu.I would call her an encyclopedia of acting, because her performance was a combination of modesty and arrogance,love and hatred,humour and grief.
    Kaanchana,whose beauty earned her a rightful place in Tamil Cinema,has acted with MGR, Sivaji and Gemini,though in MGR's films she was only the second heroine.Her best show was in movies of the thriller genre such as Adhe Kangal,Saanthi Nilayam and Ponnu Mappillai. Sivantha Mann with Sivaji Ganesan could be called her biggest show of performance with utmost reach.She was also good at the comedy spot, in films like Kaadhalikka Neramillai, Bhama Vijayam and Utharavinri Ulleva.She was the greatest scoring point of the mythological film Veera Abhimanyu.
     Lakshmi the other great performer, did not just remain a glamour piece though some of her earlier films with Sivakumar, Jaishankar and Ravichandran carried the glamour stamp.But she has to her credit, films like Jeevanaamsam,Mannippu,Kannippenn,Nootrukku Nooru, Veettukku Veedu, Akkarai Pachai,Unakkaaga Naan,Thiaagam and the most magnificent list of movies like Sila Nerangalil Sila Manidhargal,Oru Nadigai Naadgam Paarkiraal,Sirai and Samsaaram Adhu zminsaaram.No other actress can display a mood of suppressed emotions as enchantingly as Lakshmi.Even Sujatha and Sri Vidhya will occupy only the second position in this regard.
    Successive heroines like Sujatha,Srividhya, Jeyachitra Sumithra,Sridevi and Sri Priya held the stage for more than a decade as popular heroines of Tamil Cinema.Of these Sridevi created a magic spell in Kamalahasan's films like Padhinaaru Vayadhinile, Moonru Mudichu,Sigappu Rojaakkal, Varumaiyin Niram Sigappu, Moonraam Pirai[one of her best roles] and Vaazhve Maayam.She would have acted the maximum number of films with Kamalahasan as Padmini and K.R.Vijaya did with Sivaji Ganesan. But later she moved to Bollywood to succeed the dream girl status of Hemamalini,for a while.Excepting Dharma Yudham and Jaani,her films with Rajinikanth were more on the glamour side.May be, if she had stayed back with the Tamil film industry she would have attained a place equal to that of K.R.Vijaya and Jeyalalitha. Her prominence in Bollywood literally pulled her away from Tamil Cinema,
    Though Sujatha and Sripriya firmly stuck to the ground realities of acting,Sujatha like Sri Vidhya and Sumithra took up mother roles faster and Sri Priya who after a dozen big entries with Kamal and Rajini almost bade goodbye to Cinema.Similarly Jeyachitra was a part of quite a few successful films of Jai Shankar [mostly comedies] and Sivakumar [Sollathaan Ninaikirein Ponnukku Thanga Manasu and Vellikkizhamai Viradham need a special mention]left the centre stage after a decade of busy acting schedule, to reappear later as the arrogant mother of heroines in a couple of films.
     From Nineteen Eighties onward,there was an exodus of actresses claiming special heroine status based on looks, aptitude and motivation for performance in terms of grace, glamour, emotion and courage .Some of them like Ambika, Radha, Radhika, Revathi, Meena, Kushbu, Simran and Jyothika got themselves imprinted in the minds of the audience as favourites and passionate symbols of woman- hood. Other actresses like Sulakshana,Sukanya, Poornima Jeyaram, Suhasini, Ramya Krishnan Suvalakshmi, Devayani and Kausalya, who made themselves compactly impressive in traditional roles, soon settled down in family life or moved to other film industries like Malayalam or Telugu. Sulakshana's Thooral Ninnupochu, Sukanya's Walter Vetrivel and Chinna Gounder,Poornima's Darling Darling and Thanga Magan,Suhasini's Gopurangal Saaivadhillai and Sindhu Bhairavi, Suvalakshmi's Aaasai and Devayani's Kaadhal Kottai and Suriya Vamsam are their special entries not only for their personal remembrance but for the memory of the Tamil audience.Several others like Sneha and Trisha known for their cute looks of feminine fitness have not yet made any special impact on account of yet wanting to do roles of significance and value.
    While Ambika's initial, innings were similar to that of Sri Vidhya, she had more opportunities to perform well, in films like Sakalakala Vallaban,Andha Yezhu Naatkal,Naan Paadum Paadal, Padikkadhavan and Vaazhkai,the film in which she was paired with Chevalier Sivaji Ganesan, Radha who created a telling impact in her very first film Alaigal Oivadhillai continued her journey on the glamour side with actors like Rajinikant,Kamalahasan,Karthik and Sathyaraj. But the film Mudhal Mariyadhai with Sivaji Ganesan established the fact that she was an excellent actor supported by strength of emotions and feminine independence.Her other great film was Engeyo Kettakural with Rajinikanth,at the initial spell of her acting career.
     Rathika was literally a firebrand during the beginning period of her acting journey.But her subdued acting grandeur got a face lift in films like Ninaivu Chinnam,Poonthotta Kaaval kaaran, Nallavanukku Nallavan,Sippikkul Muthu,Thaavani Kanavugal,Keladi Kanmani, Kizhakku Cheemaiyile, and Pasumpon.Her fiery acting stamina, was beautifully displayed in films like Oorkaavalan,Poisaatchi and Jeans. 
    Revathi ,one of the finest R heroines of Bharathiraja,could be called an outstanding performer like Lakshmi,with regard to suppressing emotions but at the same time setting her firm ground of powerful feminine stand well understood, through her focused  role delivery. Films like Man Vaasanai,Pudhumai Penn,Kizhakku Vaasal,Mouna Raagam,Devar Magan,and Marubadiyum are the hallmarks of her power of feminist grace expressed either clearly or in a subtle style.At the same time, films like Oru Kaidhiyin Diary and Punnagai Mannanan would demonstrate her capacity for smart portrayal of roles.In reflecting pathos she would stand out as  the best, in films like Kai Kodukkum Kai and Vaidhehi Kaathirundhaal.
     Simran and Jyothika are the other two impressive heroines of Tamil Cinema.Simran was of course more on the glamour side but in expressing suppressed anguish and anger she has expressed a special identity for herself through films like Thullaadha Manamum Thullum, Vaali,Kannedhire Thonrinaal, Arasu,Ezhumalai and Natpukkaaga.Her proven dancing credentials were an asset to Tamil cinema like those of Ramba.Jyothika has ever been her original stuff in powerful delivery of emotions and dialogues in the line of Savithri and K.R.Vijaya. Her performance in Chandramugi, Mozhi and 36 Vayadhinile, are her best scores.She is one actress capable of evoking a mood of self dignity of womanhood in the midst of grief and a sense of longing for being accepted for what she deserves, as an individual, rather than as a woman treated on conditions of gender equations.
     Kushbu has  been adored in Tamil Nadu as a wonderful actress of brilliant charm and glamour and her roles in films like Chinna Thambi,Annamalai,Varusham 16,Kizhakku Vaasal Naattaamai and several others have made her part and parcel of the Tamil soil, though her origins belong to the Northern part of India. Meena a distinguished  heroine of sweetness, charm and mellowed mode of acting, has been a fascinating part of Tamil Cinema from her childhood.As a child artist,she won the hearts of the audience, through her captivating performance in Anbulla Rajinikanth, as the Superstar's fan and later co starred with him, in films like Ejamaan,Veera and Muthu.Her enchanting appearance could be tagged to her roles in films like Sethupathi IPS, Maaman Magal,Muthu,Avvai Shanmugi and Harischandra.As a modest character she has been fine in Bharathi Kannamma,Oru Oorla Oru Rajakumari and Aanandha Poongaatre.She has sufficiently proved that she is a right mix of grace, modesty, sweetness and glamour.Malayalam Cinema has been meaningfully utilizing her talents and her latest entry in this regard, is her charming and impressive role play in Drishyam.
    Whereas Roja and Ramba have been categorically on the glamour track, though the former has come out with creditable performance in films like Unnidathil Ennai Koduthein,Maakal Aatchi and Vallal.The new millennium has a long list of newer addition of heroines getting into the groove of genuine acting.to carry forward the objectives of Tamil Cinema to more challenging heights and greater glory.Two dynamic actresses whom this blog would like to glorify are Fadafat Jeyalakshmi and Soundarya,who died young.
    Though the world is by and large in the grip of macho might and grip,many women have shown that they are as great as an MGR or Sivajiganesan,a Rajinikanth  or Kamalahasan a Vijay or Ajith.But most of these heroines could not see their one hundredth film as heroes do. What we need is a frequent release of purely heroine- oriented films, with a  hearty thrust on the prominence of womanhood, in forming the story base and characters that could outshine the role of heroes.
    But such things happen rarely, like oasis in a desert.It is the lack of adaptability for and acceptance of,what a heroine deserves, that pulls her down to the secondary position.That is why, we have no heroines but heroes. That is why, we have not frequently come across immortal heroines like Padmini, Savithri, Sarojadevi, K.R.Vijaya and Jeyalaitha.It is this immortality that will give meaning and status to the heroines of Tamil Cinema.Otherwise the status of heroines will stay where it is,just on the cosmetic line of film making, adding fleeting moments of glory to the physical side of womanhood, at the cost of its emotional and intellectual niceties.
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