Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The Rural Best of Heroes



 

























    



      Until the late nineteen sixties the urban-rural divide was an insignificant factor in India and so Tamil cinema,was deeply oriented to the then existing belief that India's soul was in the villages.Most of the films made,were either based on historical fiction or related to life in villages because India was then more a land of villages than of towns.Hence it was difficult to say during those decades,who were the heroes fit for urban stories and who would rightly fit into characters of the rural tales.
   Take for instance the case of MGR.His facial composition was absolutely unfit for the rural roots,though he did films like Thaaikku Pin Thaaram,Periya Idathu Penn,Vivasaayee,Pattikkaattu Ponnaiah,Maattukkaaravelan and so on, ebulliently.One would love to see him in royal garbs or in highly sophisticated urban roles like those of a doctor or lawyer or cop.In fact,for the Tamil audience the mere appearance of MGR on screen would do.His roles were immaterial for them.One should really be blessed to be loved by so many people without any expectation and MGR was truly blessed in this regard,taking himself closer to the people of the Tamil soil,through stereotyped roles of a do gooder and the Good Samaritan.Hence the urban rural divide did not matter in his role delineation.
    Whereas, Sivaji Ganesan not only clearly marked this division but also made his acting career a compendium of human life with its galaxy of characters and events.He had a face made for characters of all sorts and with that he created a world of faces and moved far beyond towns and villages into chronicles and myths.However,some of his wonderful rural films were Makkalai Petra Makaraasi, Bhaaga Pirivinai,Paava Mannippu,Pazhani,Kulama Gunama,Enga Oor Raja,Pattikaadaa Pattanamaa,Savaale Samaali, Kalthoon,Padikkadha Pannaiyaar and so on.Of these,his role as Sengodan in Makkalai Petra Magarasi and that of Mookaiyyan in Pattikkaadaa Pattanamaa were perfect revelations of rural fragrance and fineness. Sivaji Ganesan stoutly established the pride and glory of what a village life means in P. Madhavan's rural blockbuster Pattikaadaa Pattanamaa.With the Chevalier's magnificent role play the village voice reached newer heights,spreading the splendour of farming and labour.
   Gemini Ganesan's profile was never made of the rural stuff,though his performance made its punch in films like Devar's Vaazha Vaitha Dheivam,AVM's Kakathur Kannamma,Raamu, K.S.Gopalakrishnan's Karpagam and later in his natural performance as a respectable village elder in Vijayakanth's Ponmana Chelvan and K.Balachander's Unnaal Mudiyum Thambi.He also caused some lighter moments with rural breeze in Sundar.C's Mettukudi.The next generation heroes like Jai Shankar and Ravichandran changed the track by travelling mostly on action zones.But still Jai Shankar's Mukoortha Naal and Ravichandran's Kumari Penn contained a lot of worthy rural material. R.Muthuraman's unique rural shows were Sondham and Namma Veetu Theivam and Mudhalali and Manapandal remained as the rural best of S.S.Rajendran.
    While Sivakumar quite often proved to be unique for urban roles,his characterization in films like Ponnukku Thanga Manasu,Rosaappu Ravikkai Kaari,Vandichakkaram, Annakkili Pudhuvellam  and Pattikaattu Raja were films denoting  innate village vibes and flair for playing rural characters with comfortable ease and captivating vigour. 
   Rajinikanth's face carries a significant rural charm.Despite the Super Star image his films like Engeyo Ketta Kural,Mullum Malarum,Kaali,Murattu Kaalai,Thambikku Endha Ooru, Dharmadhurai,Raajaadhi Raajaa and Muthu could be called unique village stories establishing the rural appeal so spontaneously evoked by the convincing facial indicators of this invincible actor. Rajinikanth's earliest stamp as an uncouth villain called Parattai in Bharathiraja's debut film Padhinaaru Vayadhinile astoundingly established his rough and tough rural moorings.  
    Contrarily,his contemporary Kamalahasan is like Gemini Ganesan whose rural hold is just half way through.But he has a few remarkable rural films in his archives such as Padhinaaru Vayadhinile,Sakala Kalaa Vallavan,Singara Velan, Mahanadhi and Virumaandi,wonderfully celebrating village vibrations leaving indelible impressions in audience memory.As Sappaani wearing just his loins,Kamal memorably personified the poverty of a little hamlet and walked away with a national award under the brilliant direction of Bharati Raja.The next two films in the list were great humour shows and the last two were gripping displays of rural innocence, back stabs and justifiable revenge blows.His Devar Makan on the other hand exhibited the plight of an educated youth from a village undergoing the trauma of incorrigible family feud and vendetta,embedded in fundamental flaws of a community waiting to be refined and liberated from its thirst for blood.
    Sathyaraj is a hardcore village hero.Besides his amazing cop role in Walter Vetrivel,his exclusive stylish roles were for films like Makkal En Pakkam,Airport,Jeeva,Anna Nagar Muthal Theru and Brhamma.Otherwise,starting from the role of a crude wolfish village chieftain in Mani Rathnam's Pakal Nilavu,till his striking character display as a village big guy craving for a male child in Kadaikutti Singam,Sathyaraj seems to have felt more comfortable with the fabulous streets of the villages belonging to Pollachi and Coimbatore.Be it Vaazhkai Chakkaram or Vela Kedachiduchu or films like Chinna Thambi Periya Thambi,Vaathiyaar Veetu Pillai,Kunguma Pottu Gounder,Kadalora Kavidhaikal,Thaai Maaman and Thirumathi Pazhanichamy it was a village parade of Satyaraj with his innate robust mischief in combination with Goundamani or Manivannan.The best in the lot was his dynamic portrayal as Balu Thevar in Bharatiraja's immortal film Vedham Puthithu.Satyaraj could be rightly called the most vibrating rural hero of Tamil Cinema.
    Following Sathyaraj was Sarathkumar,commanding the village locales in memorable films like Periya Gounder Ponnu,Cheran Paandian,Namma Annachi,Naattaamai,Natpukkaaga, Sooriya Vamsam and Aiyya.Though Kongu Tamil is not his native dialect he has rendered it so well in several films directed by K.S. Ravikumar. Interestingly,in most of the films he did dual roles as father and son casting a striking note of difference in character delineation.Like Satyaraj,Saratkumar has felicitously projected his rural profiles.
    Captain Vijayakanth who has impressively cast a niche for himself in cop roles and characters of persons belonging to the army and top notch bureaucracy,has quite a lot of films to speak about his rustic and affirmative rural depiction of roles.The best in the lot is that of a dignified and gloried village chieftain,reputed for his fairness in deposition of justice and personal integrity that never deviates from the path of justice. Vijayakanth's role in Chinna Gounder was the most illustrious milestone in his acting career and he rightly deserved an award for his role play.The other remarkable village roles of Vijayakanth were for films like Naane Raja Naane Mandhiri,Amman Koil Kizhakkaale,Vaidhekhi Kaathirundhaal, Kannupada Povudhayyaa,Thavasi and Sokka Thangam.Like Rajinikanth,his complexion and ruggedness perfectly got him wedded to his rural roles with an extraordinary stamp of nativity that is found to be missing in the dialogue delivery of the Superstar.
   Tamil cinema's universal village hero is Ramarajan whose films like Karakaattakkaaran, Enga Ooru Paatukkaaran and many films ending with the Raasaa suffix,took his profile far away from the urban side.His story line,costumes and dialogue delivery,made him breathe the rural air and stamped his hero image inseparably to the radiating rural streets.Throughout his acting career Ramarajan remained as the one and only rural hero.However the best of his rural films were Enga Oor Paattukkaaran,Pongi Varum Kaveri,Manasukketha Maharaasaa, Thangamaana Rasa,Karakattakkaaran and Thangathin Thangam.
   Between the heirs of Sivaji Ganesan and R.Muthuraman,Prabu's best rural films were Ninaivu Chinnam,Chinna Thambi,Parambarai and Mitta Miraasu. Of these Chinna Thambi scored a special place as an immortal rural love story in audience memory and as a profound celebration of innocent youth. Karthik Muthuraman's splendid rural blockbusters were Alaikal Oivadhillai,Pandi Naattu Thangam,Varusham Padhiraaru and Kizhakku Vaasal.The last two in the list were extraordinary crowd pullers on account of the astute direction of Fazil and R.V.Udhayakumar and the soul searching music of the musical prophet Ilayaraja.   
    Among the other new generation  heroes,Vijay's rural best were Thiruppaachi and Sivakasi while Ajith is precisely an urban hero with his exceptional role in Veeram. Madhavan, Arvindswamy and Abbas are all stamped with a city image though Madhavan's Dum Dum Dum,Aravinswamy's Thaalaattu could be seen as exceptions. Prashant's Winner contained a lot of the village stock.Vikram's Kaadhal Sadugudu was an exalting rural love story.
    Sivakumar's elder son mostly moved away from village stories excepting his role in Hari's Aaru. Nevertheless,his younger son Karthi gave us the two amazing rural films Komban and Kadaikutti Singam besides his debut film Paruthi Veeran. Karthi's face seems to be culled for village characters despite the fact that he made a fascinating demonstration of his urban strength in films like Paiyyaa,Thozhan and Kaatru Veliyidai.Some of the other films that enticed the rural audience in the recent past were Siva Kartikeyan's Rajini Murugan and Vijay Sethupathi's Karuppan.
    As film heroes have to don different types of characters it is the over all performance 
potential of a hero that determines his longstanding position in silver screen.But villages are the backbone of human life and the events and characters surrounding the rural milieu form a predominant part of the film medium and hence  heroes' ability to place themselves comfortably in a rural story line both in terms of body and mind,takes them closer to the rural masses and increases their popularity levels.In this respect it could be said that outstanding heroes like Sivaji Ganesan RajiniKanth and Kamalahasan can conveniently shuttle between the metropolises and mind blowing villages as characters inseparably linked to the environment. But heroes like Satyaraj,Vijayakanth,Ramarajan,Sarath Kumar and Karthik Sivakumar are closer to the villages with their body and spirit communing with the fields and farm houses.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

The Film maker after names of places.




      Film directors hold their unique positions in several aspects of film making.Apart from the choice of their pet themes,suitable story line and course of narration, they reflect their singularity in the choice of titles for their films. Gautham Menon for instance, is enamoured of lengthy titles such as Vinnai Thaandi Varuvaayaa?Pachai Kili Muthu Charam and Acham Enbadhu Madmaiyada.Some of his titles also reveal his fascination for MGR's film songs. Mysskin is known for disturbing titles such as Pisaasu and Savara Kathi. In a similar manner, we have Perarasu who has named all the seven films he he has directed,after names of places.The only film that does not bear the name of a place as its title, is a Malayalam film directed by him{Samrajyam II Son of Alexander}
    Before directing his first successful film Thirupachi,Perarasu has acted in insignificant roles{as a reporter and a doctor} in films like Edhirum Pudhirum and Arasaatchi. His first film with Vijay as hero, became a great commercial hit, because of its highly energizing sequence of events,siblings' sentimental attachment,speed in narration and heart throbbing music, composed by three music directors like, Devi Sri Prasad,Mani Sharma and singer Dhina.The film had a huge cast with abundant scope for villainy exhibited by Aryan {as Paan Parag Ravi},Pasupathi{as Pattaasu Balu} and Kotta Srinivasa Rao{as Saniyan Sagada}.
    By giving distinct names to rowdies, Perarasu took the onus of narrating the story effectively, by loading its weight completely on the shoulders of Vijay, who played the role of an unflinching villager, bent upon eradicating rowdyism fouling the city of Chennai.This he does, not simply for the sake of his sister married to a city guy, but for all men and women, to breathe the fresh air of peace and happiness in the crowded metropolis.The film was a total entertainer and became a dynamic launch pad for the directorial prowess of Perarasu. The fact that Super Good Movies of R.B Chowdhri produced the film,added to its distribution value and success formula besides the victory tag of actor Vijay.
     Perarasu was fortunate to have big production houses to produce his films.Apart from R.B.Chowdhri,it was A.M.Rathnam who produced Perarasu's next film Sivakasi, another Vijay film and later on, Dharmapuri,a Vijayakanth movie.While Thirupathi starring Ajit was an AVM film,his Thiruvannamalai starring Arjun went into the hands of Pushpa Kandasamy of Kavidhalaya Production unit. Perarasu's Pazhani and Thiruthani, both  Bharath films,were produced by Sakthi Chidambaram and Chokkalingam Subburaj respectively.Though all the seven films of Perarasu were watchable in terms of their vibrant action mode, it is only the first two films with Vijay as Hero, that speak high of his directorial efficacy.
   The themes and story background of Perarasu's films are backed by rural happenings as family and social events. mixed of good and evil.If Thirupaachi was a tale of brother sister fine bonding of affection,Sivakasi unfolded the tug off war between an evil elder brother and his redeeming younger brother.The film was a cauldron of challenges between the two revolving around both funny and furious sequences. Pazhani once again focused on sister-brother equations with the younger brother struggling to reform his ruffian brother in law and bring harmony in the married life of his sister.Here too,there were challenges and smart execution of challenges.All the films of Perarasu delve into the world of social and political crimes involving M L As{Thiruvannamalai}medicos{Thiruppathi} and anti social thugs.Thiruthani is the only film where the hero dies in the hands of the police.
    The musical quality of his films belong to the moderate category because excepting the first two films which carried the mesmerizing effect of music, the rest of his films did not leave any memorable mark.While Srikanth Deva composed music for Sivakasi,Pazhani,Dharmapuri and Thiruvannamala,Bharadvaj took up music composition for Thiruppadhi and Perarasu himself took care of the music segment for Thiruthani.Perarasu is not only fond of places as titles of his films  but is also consistently dedicated to his passionate zone of sentimental melodrama and retrieval of family and society from the deeply infected evils of criminality,violence and injustice.
   Most of his films were action bonanzas with Thiruppachi and Sivakasi stealing the show.Just as his films carry the names of places as their titles,the names of the places will some how or other bring to one's memory the films of Perarasu and their level of impact on the minds of film viewers.Incidentally,there came a film bearing his own name Perarsu as its title and this action film starring Captain Vijayakanth,Prakash Raj and Sharat Babu reiterated the power of his name through elements of dynamism and force,making the the title of the film and name of the director after names of places, stay long in the memory of the audience. 
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Monday, March 4, 2019

The off the track films of Bharathiraja










    Everybody knows that P.Bharathiraja is the prime film maker of rural romance,succulent with the unsurpassed quintessence of village routine.Starting from his Padhinaaru Vayadhinile he took us on a sweet journey,through the cute and crooked streets of hamlets and bigger villages,to experience the precious happenings in most villages,especially those  in southern Tamil Nadu.Films like Kizhakke Pogum Rayil,Niram Maaraadha Pookkal, Nizhalkal,Pudhiya Vaarpukal,Puthu Nellu Puthu Naathu,Alaikal Oivadhillai, Karuthammaa, Kadalora Kavidhaikal,Vedham Pudhithu,Nadodi Thenral, Mudhal Mariyaadhai,Kizhakkuch Cheemaiyile and Pasumpon would ever remain as rural masterpieces,from the sublime creative soul of this amazing film maker.
    But there is another side of this outstanding director of Tamil films.He has not hesitated to travel off the track and make action films,action thrillers and psychological thrillers for a change.At least six films stand to his credit in this regard.They are 1}Sigappu Rojaakkal 2}Tik Tik Tik 3}Oru Kaidhiyin Diary 4}Kodi Parakkudhu 5}Captain Magal and 6}Thamizh Selvan. Kamalahasan was the hero of the first three films in the list. Kodiparakkudhu was made as a special Rajinikanth action thriller. Kushbu and Raja shared the screen space in Captain Makal. Captain Vijayakanth as district collector made Thamizh Selvan a different kind of movie for the director. While Bharatiraja himself wrote the story for the first two,K.Bhagyaraj took up the onus of writing the story for Oru Kaidhiyin Diary.It was R.Selvaraj who provided the story line for Kodi Parakkuthu and Captain Makal.The film Thamizh Selvan travelled on the story of M. Rathnakumar.
   Of these six films,Sigappu Rojaakkal and Oru Kaidhiyin Diary received rave reviews on account of the classic role performance of Kamalahasan as a misogynist and psychologically perverted male in the former and as a personally victimized political follower,wreaking vengeance against the wrong doers in the latter.That too in dual roles,as the wronged father and dutiful son in police uniform in Oru Kaidhiyin Diary,Kamal created new performance records at the early stage of his acting career.While Sridevi meekly fascinated the audience in Sigappu Rojaakkal,Radha and Revadhi stole the show by their charm and smartness in Oru Kaidhiyin Diary.Both these films received repeated audience at the theatres during the years of safety of Tamil Cinema,free from the threats of Video Piracy.
  Tik Tik Tik was a suspense thriller with a kind of usual spicy additions of glamour and stunts of an action film.It was a moderate show depicting sophisticated romance and subhuman violence.It revolved around a tale of nefarious smuggling of diamonds inserted in the body of women models without their knowledge {by drugging them}and killing them after removing the diamonds from their body.It was a film of abundant glamour,contributed by the three popular actresses,viz Madhavi,Radha and Swapna.With absolute thriller effect,it brought out the fact that Bharathiraja was far above his stamped image of an exclusive rural film maker.Despite all the enticing ingredients,Tik Tik Tik did not toe the victory march of the other two Kaml films made by Bharatiraja.
    Kodi Parakkuthu was an indisputable Rajini film with his inimitable style formulations and dialogue delivery.This was once again an action thriller with Manivannan first donning the role of a horrid villain,with the powerful voice support of Bharati Raja. Murder mysteries formed the crux of the story line and Rajinikanth as a dynamic cop under the mask of a local rowdy did not fail to throw his pep and performance,potential to the utmost satisfaction of his fans. Amala's charming role play and Sujatha's pathetic profile,were the other supporting factors of this action thriller,though it failed to make a hit at the box office.The other action thriller Captain Makal which was greatly anticipated became a dampener,for want of consistent vigour in narration.
   Tamizh Selvan was in fact a decent action film,with political undertones reflecting the conflict between upright bureaucracy and the corrupt political system.Subdued narration and Vijayakanth's underplay of the role of a district collector without resorting to undue verbal blow ups,were the major positive factors of this action film blended with breezy narration.I still remember the peaceful march of all bureaucrats lining up with candles in their hands for the recovery of their collector hero,from a political attack on his life.Unlike most other Vijayakanth films,it was a slow moving course that would have left his hardcore fans high and dry.But for those who would look for a direct and realistic portrayal of events and characters,the film was undoubtedly a qualitative product.
  The intention of this article is to show how film makers at times deviate from their pet paths and travel on different tracks,just for the sake of experiencing something uncommon in their creative process,as and when they get inspired to try something diagonal,to their ideologically compatible genres of narration.In this respect,Bharathiraja has delightfully travelled off his most inspiring rural track.
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Sunday, February 24, 2019

A movie strictly rooted to values.





   It needs greater grit to make a film totally theme bound and give a clean product. Seenu Ramasamy has been a hard core adorer of absolute conviction as an evolving and commanding goal of life.He does not like to visit the ugly side of life through his cinematic vision.Starting from Koodal Nagar he has carried on his mission of beautifying themes,events and characters through his creamy narration in films like Then Merku Paruvakatru {for which he won the national award for best film} Neerparavai and Dharmadhurai.His latest release Kanne Kalimane is no exception to his exalting process of film making. Goodness is the core value of this film..Here all characters are good and even a greedy money lender is made to apologize for his wild behaviour.
  Nature is budding with its high energy levels of freshness and charm.Organic farming gains currency.There is a lot of critical observation of the existing low downs in the system,such as the predicament of farmers laid up with the burden of agricultural loans,the onslaught of NEET on rural students,the support that the weaving society needs and the higher interest rates involved in raising bank loans for education.The film captivates the audience through the visual greenery of a rain fed village.In the midst of the pleasant locales and loving family norms,there comes an enchanting love story where nothing is exaggerated and nothing is unreal.
  Events take place as they do in most villages in Tamil Nadu.Characters move on gliding through the line of the story,like people sailing through their daily routine in real life.There is no silver screen romance.It happens in the simplest manner as a man and woman coming together on positive notes,with clear perceptions of whether their love would end up in marriage or not and if they get married,how their  life is going to be.Love fructifies into marriage as a sequel to a kind of Satyagraha resorted to by the hero Udhayanidhi Stalin,who in his usual vein,walks through the delicate pathways of his assigned role,without any of the conventional celluloid hero norms.It is good that Udhayanidhi is becoming a director's actor instead of trying to do the impossible of a mass hero.His histrionic calibre has been growing on an upward scale and the one scene where he breaks down into the shoulders of his paternal grand mother will prove his innate capacity to emote as naturally as possible.
  Tamannaah is exuberantly compact in her role with a ripe understanding of her character requirements and she is impressively convincing in her levels of acting.It is Vadivukkarasi who steals the show with her brief cutting dialogues pregnant with profound emotions and possessive parameters.A lovely grand mother she is,both to her grandson and later on to her to her grandson's wife,whom she passionately declares as her grand daughter.Her contextual comparisons of her grand daughter in law to late Prime Minister Indhira Gandhi,carries a powerful punch and creates instant laughter.
    Poo Ramu as the hero's father excels in his role play with a mature grasp of life's realities and a meek facilitation of his son's post marital life.It is a lucky team of father and son with a silent understanding of their love and dedication to each other.In this way it becomes a perfect unison of the paternal-filial formulations.Everybody does their role neatly including Vasundhara Kashyap who appears as Muthulakshmi,the school mate-cum friend of the hero.
  Jalandhar Vasan's Cinematography is as much rooted to the theme of the film,as the narration of Seenu Ramasamy is,to the story line. Kasi Viswanathan's editing keeps the narration as a continuous progress of seamless weaving,seemingly in tune with the fact,that the heroine hails from a family of weavers. Yuvan  Shankar Raja's music is a fascinating chunk of felicitous numbers, letting the audience sit up to the tunes without hurting their ears.Starting from the initial rural festival song, all songs were a pleasant audio treat especially the last one with a splendid tribute to love,is really heart warming.Two lines of this special song, if translated into English,will go as follows."There is nothing either small or big in love.All drops of a river are equal"{அன்பில் சிறிது பெரிதென்று கிடையாதே; ஆற்றில் சகல துளியும் சமமே} 
  The other melodious number Neenda Malare Neenda Malare by Yaazin Nizar and Shwetha Pandit will keep lingering in audience memory for long.Altogether Yuvan and Vairamuthu deserve a lovely pat for ideally enriching the musical quotient of the film.
   The pathway to good goals,needs considerable patience and determination to achieve them.The same way it requires commendable patience to watch a film of this kind,rooted to the nobler values of life and goodness of mind.In both the cases the patience is definitely worth the experience.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Dhanush,the delightful actor



















    Natural ease,nimble movements, and naughtily rebelling homely voice,rightly fix the acting style of Dhanush,who has hardly failed in his endeavour to contribute his best to the field of Cinema. His interest in film making and love for vocal music,are additional feathers to his lovely profile as an actor.If he delights in acting,he has equally delighted us by his acting.In a short spell of his career,he has carved a niche for himself as a special category of hero,not falling in the line of mass heroes who mostly choose a single path to deliver variety.Whereas, Dhanush has chosen a variety of tracks,to establish his position as a challenging actor,at a very  early age.
    Starting from the days of Thulluvadho Ilamai and Kaadhal Kondein,it was an arduous film journey for Dhanush,which he has casually undertaken.He has been one among the interesting actors in depicting juvenile vagaries, in many films starting from Thulluvadho Ilamai.The challenging role that he took up in Kaadhal Kondein, brought out his extraordinary calibre for combining subdued intelligence with psychological depression and made a mark for himself as a budding actor of latent talents.Subsequently,the vibe and energy levels he demonstrated as his strong points in Thiruda Thirudi,became a special treat for the younger generation and because of these elements,the film became an instant hit.After this,films like Sullan,Puthukkottaiyil irundhu Saravanan,Parattai Engira Azhagu Sundaram and Puthupettai were modest shows not taking him to the next level though the last in the list was a greater show than the others. 
    In all the four films mentioned above,Dhanush played rugged roles which almost became a trade mark in films like Mari 1 and 2, and Mariyan.In fact,most of the roles that Dhanush performed were similar to those of Rajinikanth,during the first two decades of his acting spell. Like Rajinikanth,Dhanush is also a rugged romantic playing tough with is love interest.But as a stalker and  unrelenting lover in films like Thiruvilaiyaadal Aarambam and Yaaradi Nee Mohini, he is different from Rajini.The way he keeps throwing challenges to Prakash Raj in the former and the tense moments he creates for Nayanthara in the latter,would vigorously showcase Dhanush as a hard core romantic.However Yaaradi Nee Mohini was a felicitous combination of tough romance transforming into a breezy family drama and filial devotion.In fact,[late] Raghuvaran.In a similar way, Dhanush has beautifully depicted filial devotion to his dad Manivannan in Sullaan and his mother Saranya in Velaiyillaa Pattadhaari 1 an 2{to the portrait of his departed mother}
    Dhanush is a wonderful blend of sobriety and humour both in displaying romance and action.His humour component was visibly effective in films like Padikkadhavan and Uthama Puthiran indulging in exceptional spoilsport moves with Vivek.His two great family dramas are Vengai and Thangamahan,one with a rural base and the other bordering on the urban side.
    Dhanush has in his archives quite a few distinct films with a romantic perspective.Movies like Adhu Oru Kana Kaalam,{a film by the historic film maker Balu Mahendra} Dreams{directed by his father Kasturiraja},Kutti,{Mithran Jawahar}Mayakkam Enna{Selvaraghavan},and Anegan{by K.V.Anand} would belong to this category.His special directors are his elder brother Selva Raghavan,Vetrimaran and Mithran Jawahar.His brother gave him beautiful films like Kadhal Kondein and Mayakkam Enna.Vetrimaran who enabled Dhanush to get the national award for his meritorious performance in Aadukalam,also cast him as hero in his other memorable films Polladhavan and Vada Sennai.Mithran Jawahar came out with fascinating tales of romance like Yaaradi Nee Mohini,Kutti and Uthama Puthiran.All the three films of Mithran Jawahar carried abundant scenes generating instant laughter.The other worthy watchable films of Dhanush were Velaiyillaa Pattadhaari directed by Velraj and a sequel of this film made by Danush's sister in law Soundarya Rajinikanth.
    Like Kamalahasan and Vijay,Dhanush is also a charismatic singer and his most moving song has been 'Amma Amma' in Velaiyilla Pattadhaari,followed by the robustly inspiring numbers like 'Naatu Sarakku','What a Karuvad'' and Why this Kolaveri'.Anirudh Ravichandran takes credit for the mesmerising song 'Why this Kolaveri.'It is going to be a pretty long journey for Dhanush on the big screen and he is going to prove his stuff with substantial dynamism and dedication as he has done so far.Any one who is true to his profession will not miss the journey and the destination. Dhanush is one such committed guy with governing principles of modesty,underplay, naturalism and conviction.
    Even in a film dealing with a political subject like Kodi he exhibited a kind of inner glow in character delineation without overdoing his role in any scene.No doubt he has thrown challenges to characters in some films including Kodi.But he never raises his voice to any abnormal level to show that he has an over riding hero material.Most often he is seen as a person next door,so familiar and friendly in his moves towards endearing himself to the viewers of his films.He can be soft and tough at one go.He was once called the Bruce lee of Tamil Cinema,because he could fight with agility and grace, like that immortal actor.Above all, he is one of those loved heroes of Tamil film industry exhibiting a mega mart,on a minuscule lay out, I mean,his unenviable constitution.The fact that all age group people like him is an indicator of the delightful attributes of this meticulous hero.Here goes the maxim,small is beautiful.As far as Danush is concerned,small is more beautiful than most other Himalayan profiles.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

R. Sundarajan,the rocking film maker

 

     Film making could be a fascinating and enriching experience more for a film maker than for any one else.Every film is the product of the frame of mind of a film maker.One can see the diagonal difference in the process of film making between film makers with a positive mindset like Saran and Vikraman and those with a negative thrust like Bala and Vetrimaran. 

    Romances,thrillers, tragedies,comedies,supernatural depictions,action dramas, social and political satires and horror subjects are all reflections of the creative domain and personal quests of film makers.During the Nineteen Eighties,Tamil Cinema came under the felicitous influence of a great line of film makers like S.P.Muthuraman,Bharatiraja,BaluMahendra,Bhagyaraj,Manivannan,P.Vasu and K.S.Ravikumar.{K.Balachander's hey days were during the Nineteen Sixties and Seventies}In this list was a film maker with a hat trick for giving a cluster of Silver Jubilee hits.It was R. Sundarajan who later turned into a character actor-cum comedian like Manivannan and Manobala.
    R. Sundarajan was a specialist in narrating romantic tales with throbbing energy and enlivening sentiments,blended with the power of music,generated by the musical prophet Ilayaraja.R. Sundarajan would have directed around 25 films of which many were block busters.His successful march on the celluloid road,started with Payanangal Mudivadhillai starring Mohan and Poornima Jeyaram {before she became Poornima Bhagyaraj}.All the songs with their charm of melody and musical vibration,still remain as mind blowing numbers,throbbing in the hearts of film fans and music lovers.Most of the songs of his films were unparalleled hits and the emotional sequences of a majority of his films,were a revelation of life giving love.
    Starting with Payanangal Mudivadhillai,Sundarajan's film journey continued with the remarkable romantic components and soul making music,in films like Naan Paadum Paadal,Vaidheki Kaathirundhaal,Kunguma Chimizh,Amman Koil Kizhakkaale,Mella Thirandhadhu Kadhavu,Rajathi Raja,En Aasai Machaan, Thirumadhi Pazhanichaamy and Thaalaattu Paadavaa.How great it would have been for a film maker to consistently give silver jubilee hits,with most memorable songs. Sundarajan did that and Tamil Cinema truly owes him a lot in this regard.
    Songs like"Ilaya Nilaa Ezhukiradhe"{Payanangal Mudi vadhillai}"Paadvaa En paadalai"{Naan Paadum Paadal} "Chinna Mani Kuyile"Poove Eduthu Oru Maala Thoduthu vachene"{Amman Koil Kizhakkaale}'Nilavu Thoongum Neram"{Kunguma Chimizh}'Raasaathi Unna Kaanaadha Nenju' 'Azhaku Malar Aada"{Vaidhekhi Kaathi rundhaal}"Vaa Vennilaa Unnai thaane Vaanam Theduthu' 'Ooru Janam Thoongiduchu"{Mella Thirandhadhu Kadhavu}'Meenammaa Meenammaa' 'Maamaa Un Ponnakudu'{Raajaathi Raajaa} Aadiyile sedhi solli''Karuppu Nilaa Yeinthaan"{En Aasa Machaan}'Amman Koil Vaasalile  Vaasalile''Kuthaala Kuyile Kuthaala Kuyile"Nadu Saamathile Saamandhipoo Aala Asathuthu"{Thirumathi Palzhanichamy} and"Varaadhu Vandha Naayagan"{Thalaatu Paadavaa}are some of the mesmerizing songs that Ilayaraja composed for the movies of R.Sundarajan. I stand earnestly apologetic for forgetting a few more songs in this regard.
    Sundarajan's most frequent hero was captain Vijayakanth {most importantly Amman Koil Kizhakkaale,Vaidhekhi Kaathirundhaal,Gandhi Pirandha Mann, Engitta Modhaadhe and En Aasai Machaan and a couple of not very successful films}followed by Mohan{Payanangal Mudivadhillai,Naan Paadum Paadal, Kunguma Chimizh and Mella Thirandhadhu Kadhavu}.He did one mega hit film with the superstar {Raajaathi Raajaa}produced by Paavalar Creations.His other heroes were Sivakumar, Sathyaraj, Paarthiban,Prabu,Karthik Muthuraman,Murali and Vijay {Kaalamellaam Kthirupein}.
    All his films were breezy narrations of romance mixed with a compact display of sentiments, comedy and action scores.Poornima Jeyaram,Ilavarasi,Roobini,Amala Raadhika,Saranya, Nadhiya,Ambika,Jeevitha,Revathi and Radha were the women who constituted the fine force of feminism enriching the romantic quotient of a Sundarajan film.Of these Ambika, Radha and Revathi exuberantly  excelled in their role play. While Naan Paadum Paadal and Thazhu vaadha Kaigal were big shows of Ambika,Radha performed brilliantly in films like Amman Koil Kizhakkaale,Mella Thirandhadhu Kadhavu and Raajaathi Raajaa and Revadhi in films like En Aasai Machaan and Vaidhekhi Kaathirundhaal.
    The unforgettable pages of the director's romantic book would contain the unfulfilled desire of the hero Mohan to see the veiled face of his beloved girl Amala in Mella Thiran dhadhu Kanavu,the mutually teasing moments of love between Vijayakanth and Radha in Amman Koil Kizhakkaale and the unrealized marital dream of the widowed Vaidhekhi,in Vaidhekhi Kaathirundhaal.
    Any one who happens to view or read this article might be forced to think that it is a package of mere titles of films and songs as well as the names of heroes and heroines.But here,the titles carry a feel of revisiting the glorious experience of film watching in the Nineteen Eighties  and Nineties that had set a distinct pattern of narration of clear romance with its inherent cry for the other soul.The melting down of minds was felt by a journey through the vehicle of music driven by a prophetic music composer,whose inspiring music travelled  through the veins of each and every lover of the other soul. 
   R. Sundarajan was mostly bound to the rural soil.He made us all pass like air, through every nook and corner of the village routine of Tamil Nadu,to be a part of the breathing process of love,the vibrating levels of comedy of all sorts and the natural fall outs of each one's personal predicament,caused by disappointments and frustrations.
   R. Sundarajan enriched the Tamil big screen with the power of his story line,the presence of his characters and the pulse of Ilayaraja's musical grandeur.Most of his films rocked at the theatres,to be remembered for ever,recalling the magnificence of cinema surpassing time.
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Saturday, February 2, 2019

Tamil Cinema's Two Glorious,Spiritual Biographies .

    






















     Biography and History are meant for a specific group of persons who have an exceptional interest to travel with time.Be it books or films these two genres survive on the structure of factual veracity and genuineness in narration.Tamil films have celebrated history,myths and several other genres of narration to the extent of keeping the audience greatly involved in the experience of watching grand events on the big screen.In this regard this blog is proud of recording two fabulous biographical narrations in the form of unique category of films carrying many similar notes and a few contrary aspects too.These two films despite their moderate show at the box office would remain as irreplaceable assets in the archives of Tamil Cinema.
   Both the films were released in the Nineteen Sixties one in 1962 and the other in 1964.The former was titled Pattinathaar,depicting the profile of a staunch Shiva devotee and the latter was named Arunagirinadhar,portraying the spiritual grandeur of the saint who wrote a collection of spiritual verses called The Thiruppugazh.The story line of the film Pattinathaar was a joint contribution of the famous Tamil lyricist,Thanjai Ramaiahdas and Akilan,the reputed Tamil writer of historical novels.The film produced under the banner of J.R.Productions was directed by K.Somu. In fact there was an earlier version of Pattinathar released in 1936 in which M.M. Danapani Desikar portrayed the role of Pattinathar.T.C Vadivelu Naickar wrote the story line and produced the film which was directed by M.T. Rajan. Whereas,Arunagirinadhar produced by Baba Art Productions,was directed by the well known director T.R.Ramanna.The story line was the creative work of Sakthi T.K. Krishnasamy.
   There were many similarities between the two films with regard to their thematic content, casting and musical composition.As far as the theme factor is concerned,the chief characters of 'Patinathar' and 'Arunagirinadhr' had an infamous past. While the routine of Pattinathaar alias Thiruvengadar was entangled in wealth and greed,Arunagirinathar was notorious for cherishing a routine of debauchery and moral depravity.Both the protagonist roles were played by the monumental playback singer T.M.Soundarajan and it was M.R.Radha who played the villain in both the films.It was G.Ramanathan who composed music for the two films though for Arunagirinathar,T.R. Paapaa happened to complete the musical composition of the film after the passing away of G. Ramanathan in 1963.
    However,there were also remarkable differences between the two films in various other aspects.For instance,Thiruvengadar living in Poompuhar{earlier known as Kaveripattinam} was chosen by Lord Shiva to head the spiritual path,on being gifted with a divine baby who would later on teach the wealthy merchant-cum-adopting father,the futility of wealth reflected by a meaningful display of cow dung cakes and a needle without eyelet.
   Whereas Arunagirinadhar hailing from Tiruvannamalai,was hell bent after sensual pleasures in the line of Dr.Faustus of Greek mythology,who entered into an evil agreement with the devil Mephistopheles,that thrust his soul in the hands of the devil in exchange for a life bound for the pleasure zone.But unlike Faustus whose cry for redemption was not heeded to by God, Arunagirinadhar who became a leper ended up in frustration and was about to end his life when Lord Muruga the supreme god of the Tamil race and the Tamil language,retrieved him from his wretched state of leprosy and transformed him into a saintly poet,capable of creating commendable hymns that became a classic called The Thirupugazh,one of the literary treasures of the Tamil language.
     Both Pattinathaar and Arunagirinadhar were of no use to their families.The wives of these two real life men,were a forlorn lot.Gemini K.Chandra as the wife of Pattinathaar and Sharadha as the wife of Arunagirinadhar were devoted wives,notwithstanding their sorrow laden married life.The life of Arunagirinadhar's wife was still worse,because he was irredeemably after other women. Both Pattinathar and Arunagirinadhar had sisters,but the latter was blessed with a good one who gave up everything for the sake of her brother and was untiringly struggling to reform her brother into a better lease of life.Contrarily,Pattinathar's sister{ played by S.D. Subbulakshmi} who hated her brother for renouncing wealth and resorting to beggary,tried to poison him to death.It was Pattinathar who purified her foul intentions through flames caused by his throwing of the plate containing the poisoned food,into her house.
   Though both Pattinathaar and Arunagirinathar underwent a transformation in their mind and spirit,the course of redemption was more significant in the case of the latter who proved the theory of the sinner becoming a saint.Compared to the gross sensuality of Arunagirinadhar,the materialistic life line of Pattinathaar was a less vicious journey through the streets of desire. Besides,while Pattinathar was divinely chosen to attain bliss,Arunagirinathar was destined to become a saintly poet after passing through the ills of life. Pattinathaar ultimately attained godhood by becoming a Shiva Linga at Tiruvottiyur.Whereas Arunagirinadhar became a true disciple of Lord Muruga singing in praise of the Lord,so that others could experience spiritual exaltation through language and music.
   Another notable feature in the lives of these two spiritual men was the movement of Pattinathar from Kaveri Pattinam to Tiruvettiyur,the extreme north of Tamil Nadu in contrast to the journey of Arunagirinadhar from Tiruvannaamalai to the Southern interiors of Tamil Nadu. With regard to the musical portion of these two films,though G.Ramanathan did a good job for both the films,songs like "Muthaithiru Pathithirunakai"and"Ethanaiyo Piravipetru" from Arunagirinadhar were frequently heard and appreciated by the audience.
   These two biographical movies have stoutly championed the cause of Hinduism as a resplendent way of life capable of mitigating human agony through God realization.The grandeur of Hinduism is not only found in its age old magnificent temple towers and the power of prayer,but also in the myths and real life stories,that are not mere miracles but are interpretations of the essence of truth,towards humanizing and deifying humanity,both as a choice of divinity and a mark of destiny.It is in this respect,the two films discussed in this article,find a place for themselves as glorious treasures,in the archives of Tamil Cinema.
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