Saturday, October 13, 2018

Two Similar scenes from Two different films.




     One film was in black and white and a Pongal release in 1956.The other was an Eastman colour film released in July 1965.The interchanged last two digits in their release years,also seem to throw another aspect of similarity,in their four numbers.While the first film was directed by K.Somu,the second one was made by A.P.Nagarajan,the veteran director of grand mythological movies.In both the films the ever sterling actor Sivaji Ganesan was the hero.The first film was a family drama and the hero was capable of doing great roles,as a stage artist.The second was a mythological film and a beautiful mix of several episodes,denoting the efficacy of Lord Shiva in playing with the emotions of the members of the celestial and mundane zones. These two unforgettable films drawn together,through a convincing connecting link are 'Naan Petra Selvam' and 'Thiruvilaiyaadal'.
    The scene that becomes the centre of attraction is a stage drama of the earlier,black and white film and a vital scene in the latter mythological colour film,portraying a potential point of contention,over the fragrance of the hair of women.The doubt as to whether the fragrance naturally exists in the hair of women or is an artificial addition,due to the aroma of flowers and cosmetics,is raised by a Pandiya king and a competition with a hefty prize is announced in this regard,for the poets,to clarify the doubt of the king.
    Dharumi,a poor poet and a staunch devotee of Lord Shiva,aspires to participate in the proposed contest and win the prize but  unfortunately,he is not able to compose a verse and establish the truth of the matter,to the extent of satisfying the expectation of the king.He helplessly prays to Lord Shiva,who decides to save his devotee,and appears before him with a suitable verse that would win the heart of the King.
     Dharumi is exhilarated and rushes to the court of the king with a greater anxiety to win the prize,than with the competence and confidence to prove his poetic worth.As he reads out the borrowed lines of the verse,the king is extremely impressed by the poem and its interpretation. The prize is announced and Dharumi is rejoiced over the impending culmination of all his woes of poverty.But just at the nick of the moment,the most gifted poet Nakkeerar interferes with an objection,that the song is defective in meaning.He firmly points out that the fragrance in the hair of women is only due to flowers and perfumes and it is impossible for any woman to have a natural fragrance of hair.The king is confused and defers the grant of gift to Dharumi. 
    On hearing this,an infuriated Lord Shiva appears before the court,demanding an explanation for the denial of the prize rightly due to Dharumi.It is here the scene in the stage play in 'Naan Petra Selvam' and in the film 'Thiruvilaiyaadal',draws the attention of the audience with an enchanting focus on the dispute over the contentious issue,between the human and divine poets.
   The contextual fiery arguments,the tone and tenor of the contenders,the dialogue pattern used as the soul of their arguments pulling the course of events into a precise punch,are almost similar in the two films released within a gap of nine years.There appear to be only a few changes in A.P.Nagarajan's Thiruvilaiyadal,in terms of greater tempo in dialogue delivery,the spontaneous sparks of humour in the character of the Dharumi character in Thiruvilaiyadal, brilliantly performed by Nagesh and the conclusion of the episode showing Nakkeerar being burnt by the third eye of Lord Shiva and thrown into the golden lotus pond,after that. The latter version also included Lord Shiva's profuse admiration for the conviction and poetic grandeur of Nakkeerar,who is also said to be an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva.
    Beyond these  discussions there stands the mighty fact that it was Sivaji Ganesan who appeared both as poet Nakkeerar and Lord Shiva,in the stage play memorably added to'Naan Petra Selvam'.If one is forced to differentiate the quality of presentation between the two similar scenes of these two different movies,the first thing that would hit the mind of an observer is the modesty in tone,maintained by Sivaji Ganesan,in doing both the roles in the stage play.In Thiruvilayadan Sivaji Ganesan was seen to be roaring against poet Nakkeerar with anger and with a gripping intonation in raising his anger. A.P.Nagarajan who played as Nakkeerar did not appear to be giving in to the unacceptable angry arguments of any one,even if it happened to be the God whom he worshiped everyday.
    Both the scenes contained almost equal language stuff.But its delivery became impressively dramatic and dynamic in Thiruvilaiyaadal.The body language and the tone and tenor of dialogue delivery of Sivaji Ganesan carried a stunning impact in the latter film.Similarly,it could never be said that A.P.Nagarajan lost his hold of his role play as Nakkeerar,in his verbal competition with the verbally unconquerable Sivaji Ganesan.All said and done,the final verdict is, how difficult it would have been for the same actor,to perform the roles representing two diagonally opposite standpoints and how casually Sivaji Ganesan walked away playing these two roles,at the starting spell of his career!.Could any other actor have succeeded in this process and made a mark? Certainly not.
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Friday, October 5, 2018

The Curse of being a Cuckold.

 






     The word cuckold in English means the husband of an adulteress and an object of contempt and derision. A cuckold is a victim of infidelity and has to gulp deep frustrations and despair,with a psychic turbulence tormenting the conscious and subconscious levels of his mind.A situation of this kind,either leads to worst humiliation and disgrace,or drives the victim to retaliation and revenge.The unearned plight of a cuckold,can not be compared to the unreasonable emotional depressions of suspicious husbands.Tamil Cinema which has been conventionally devoted to dignifying womanhood,has not failed to visit the rare zone of wives betraying husbands.If an adulteress is the wife of a villain,it is mostly ignored.Whereas,if the hero has to play the role of a cuckold,it becomes a ticklish theme,driving the narration to the extent of becoming a taboo.
   MGR who was an adorer of womanhood and motherhood,would rarely agree to play the role of a cuckold,not because of the insult that the character would bring to the hero,but because of the fact,that such a theme would project women in very poor frame.But,Sivaji Ganesan who was ever an all rounder in acting,would not hesitate to go in for the depiction of such an anathema.He would have done at least two such roles,one at the starting spell of his career and the other almost at the penultimate period of his acting schedule.The first film was Thookku Thooki,released in 1954 and the other film Kavarimaan hit the screens twenty five years later, in 1979.
    Directed by R.M. Krishnaswami,Thookku Thookki was an exceptional film with a didactic bearing on the realities of life.The hero {Sivaji Ganesan} was a prince who chanced to listen to a debate held by a group of highly learned elders.The group proclaimed five prominent statements as the absolute facts of life,that could not be disproved.The five statements were 1}A father would always look for what material benefits his son brings in life 2}A mother is always a mother,whether her son brings any material benefits or not.3}A sister will treat her brother well, only if he brings her,valued gifts 4}A wife believed to be chaste,will not hesitate to kill her husband and 5}It is a true friend who would prove to be the final saviour. 
    On hearing these pronouncements the hero laughs at the elders and asserts that he will disprove them and expose their emptiness,through his own experiences,in his life time. Unfortunately,the Prince encounters events,that illustrate the veracity of all the five  maxims in his own life.The bitter part of this experience is the betrayal of his wife {played by Lalitha,the elder sister of actress Padmini}who is found to be an adulteress sharing bed with another man {T.S. Balaiah}.A brutal shock destabilizes the morale of the prince,but how he overcomes it with the help of his close friend {played by Valaiyapathi Muthukrishnan} and another noble woman,{Padmini} formed the rest of this immortal film. 
    Sivaji Ganesan was just two years old as a screen hero then,when he did this queer role in Thookku Thookki.However for an actor of his calibre who proved his excellence in acting,in his debut film Parasakthi itself,the role in Thookku Thookki was a cakewalk.As there were five vital sayings of life,the debauchery of a wife became just one among them and hence the impact of the husband becoming a cuckold was not seriously felt.Besides,the comedy element in the character formation of the villain and other lighter aspects in the narration of the film,made it a vibrantly watchable movie,rightly blended with ingredients of entertainment and ethics.
    The other film Kavarimaan directed by eminent film maker S.P Muthuraman,was totally different and down to earth,in narration.It is the story of a straight forward I A S officer,whose wife goes astray getting infatuated to another man.Stalwart Sivaji Ganesan played the role of the I A S officer and Pramila was his adulterous wife,having an extra marital affair with Ravichandran.The hero who catches both of them red handed,kills his wife in a fit of rage,on the spur of the moment and  hides the incident from his daughter {Sridevi} for reasons of her own future and the family's reputation.'Kavarimaan'the title of the film implies the magnificence of self dignity.It is believed in creative imagination that a particular species of deer will die the moment it loses its hair.The same way those who cherish self dignity as the ultimate objective of their life,will not survive if there is a slur on their name and a disgrace to their fame. Thiruvalluvar the famous Tamil saintly poet writes as follows.
                              மயிர்நீப்பின் வாழாக் கவரிமா அன்னார் 
                              உயிர்நீப்பர் மானம் வரின் 
If translated into English,this verse would mean that just as the special variety of deer will not live if it loses its hair,those who cherish their self dignity,will die the moment it is lost.Whereas, in the film,the hero does not die,but spontaneously kills his wife.In a way,this sudden act helps him to attribute some other reason for the murder,so that his family's name and his daughter's future will not be spoilt. As truth cannot be hidden for long,it gets unfolded in the climax of the film.
     Sivaji Ganesan's reaction on realizing the fact that he was made a cuckold was more poignantly felt in the second film,because the story line was truer to life than the theme of Thooku Thooki that resembled a fable.Notwithstanding the difference in narration,these two films are indicators of the excruciating agony,tearing the soul of a cuckold into pieces,unlike the psychic disorders of a suspicious husband,which prove to be self destructive.
     In fact,both Sivaji Ganesan and Gemini Ganesan have also appeared in a couple of movies, as miserably suspecting husbands,spoiling the peace of mind of their wives,besides inflicting anguish upon themselves. Sivaji Ganesan's role play in Punar Jenmam and Dheiva Piravi and that of Gemini Ganesan in Kalathur Kannamma and Vaazhkai Padaku,created a telling impact of suspicious husbands destroying their family's peaceful routine.But the bitter fact remains that being a betrayed husband,literally ruins one's image,character and purpose of living.The curse of being a cuckold is"the unkindest cut of all"

{PS:- Incidentally,consequent upon the recent Supreme court verdict removing section 497 of I P C,which attracted punishment for men alone for committing adultery,this unholy act is not punishable anymore -unless it leads to other crimes- and can not be cited as a reason for seeking divorce.}
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Saturday, September 29, 2018

The Red Sky with Stars Ruling High


   Romance and wickedness/violence are the pet themes of Manirathnam. He handled them exuberantly even  at the beginning of his directorial career,in his two simultaneous films Mouna Ragam and Pagal Nilavu. His films like Naayagan, Thalapadhi, Roja and Bombay dealt with underworld crimes,terrorism and communal violence,with a remarkable stamp of originality. Now comes Chekka Chivandha Vaanam dipped in gory violence,born of sibling gangster rivalry,running in the veins of three brothers,after the death of their 'esteemed' gangster father, Prakash Raj,who came to be brutally attacked along with his wife, by hooligans employed by one of his sons. 
   Unlike in the films of K.Balachander,the women in Manirathnam films are considerably docile,though they talk bold and  and behave in a mood of aberration like attempting to smoke a cigarette as Amala did in Agni Natchatram and Simbu's fiancee does in Chekkachivandha Vaanam. Ultimately they reconcile to the traditional mould of womanhood.That is what happens in CCV too, with firm and down to the earth actors like Jayasudha and Jyothika being made to be puppets in the hands of men so as to accept the myth of fatalism, in a mood of stoic resignation.Whereas, the men rule the red sky with their redder spirit of wrath and vengeance. Each of them displays their invincible pep and style, holding their roles responsibly, with absolute consciousness and commitment.The graceful gangster in Prakashraj is a special attraction, followed by the aggressiveness of Arvindswamy,the disarming charm of Arun Vijay and the ruggedness and spontaneity of Simbu. Beyond all of them is Vijay Sethupathi cutting a higher edge in the climax and making his role more remembered than that of others.
   Manirathnam seems to have been very scrupulous in considering the seniority of actors even in their titular introduction.Dialogues are a special asset to the film. Santosh Sivan's cinematography is commendable. A.Srihar Prasad's editing makes the fusion of scenes a felicitous treat. A.R. Rehaman could have reduced the volume of his background score especially, in a scene taking place in the police station, where Thiagarajan and the three sons of Prakash Raj meet, over a disagreeable interaction.Songs do not play a significant role in the vast red sky, filled with blood thirsty brotherhood.The theme of bloody superiority and manipulative rivalry perhaps makes the other factors irrelevant
   The film is a beautiful comeback for actor Thiagarajan and an ensured commercial hit for Manirathnam's Madras Talkies and the LICA production unit.The element of sweetness in narration is the special ingredient of a Manirathnam film and it does not fail to appeal to the audience, despite the fact that violence rules to the roost, surpassing family values due to the vagaries in character evolution.However in Manirathnam's magic world,violence also becomes a kind of poetic stuff, on account of the fascinating deliberations, involved in choreographing the violent events.Finally,it could be assertively said that Chekka Chivandha Vaanam makes the audience sit up erect and watch the two hour twenty three minutes action drama, with awe and admiration. Manirathnam has won again,after a few failures.
                                            ==================================

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Rajesh:-The Rdiance Behind His Roles.

 



    Some actors are not always the front line marchers.But they do a lot of magic from behind. They might have been one time heroes.But they maintain a demonstrative link with the big screen and make their presence felt through their voice vibe and verve.Tamil screen's one time hero Rajesh has never withheld his feet however relevant or noticeable his roles are.It is this accommodating spirit which quite a lot of heroes sitting without opportunities should seriously give thought to.
    Rajesh was offered an insignificant role by veteran film maker Balachander in his critically acclaimed film Aval Oru Thodarkadhai in 1974.Then Rajesh went unnoticed nearly for five years until his first film as hero,Kanniparuvathile was released.It was the most ticklish role of an impotent male that Rajesh performed in that film.But he played that role with an absolute understanding of the intricacies and complexities of a difficult role that was offered to him.He played the role with decency dignity and dedication with a compact reflection of depression and despair that the character required.
    His first performance was one of his best performances.Paired with Vadivukkarasi who also performed the role with in depth feminine frustration and commitment to cherished womanhood,Rajesh revealed the right dimensions of an understanding husband with unfailing respect for the emotions of the most vital,unfulfilled aspect of a woman's conjugal life. K. Baghyaraj played a one time hateful role, as a vulture waiting for its prey,towards an act of sexual aberration and wifely infidelity from a vulnerable married woman.
   The movie produced by S.A.Rajkannu {who gave great films like Padhinaaru Vayadhinile and Kizhakke Pogum Rayil}was greatly received for its very delicate thematic content and the respectful treatment it needed.The song Pattuvanna Rojavaam in the voice of late Malaysia Vasudhevan and S.Janaki is an eternal treat to the ears and is rightfully remembered for its profound lyrical vale.
   Rajesh went unrecognized once again.But he did not bother,nor did he think that he should play only the hero.He began to play different kinds of roles, occupying the second or third position.His next great entry was as second hero with Baghyaraj, in the blockbuster film Andha Ezhu Naatkal in which he appeared as the husband of the main hero's lover. Yes. Ambika who madly loved the main hero Bhagyaraj{Palakkad Madhavan Nair}continued to love him even after marriage.The wifely disloyalty was ultimately corrected by Bhagyaraj who proclaims the value and glory of true conjugal life and the importance of wifely dedication as the traditional goal of a woman.It was a meek and vulnerable role for Rajesh and he did his best to bring quality to his role performance.
     Soon Rajesh became the hero of K.Balachander's critically reviewed film Achamillai Achamillai. With negative shades, inseparable to the routine of many a budding politician, Rajesh transformed into a baddie from a fickle minded guy,with fading qualms.It was a character subtly carved by the ace director and Rajesh performed it to the utmost satisfaction of his mentor.His craving for opportunistic growth ultimately got him stabbed by his own wife {commendably played by Saritha}whose path of life was straight and bold.The movie however became the gateway for Rajesh to play quite a few negative roles in the future.He played a similar negative role as a greedy politician in K.Balaji's Makkal En Pakkam,sharing the screen space with Satyaraj.Both these films brought out the hidden solid acting credentials of Rajesh, whose assertive dialogue delivery with a little bit of nasal thrust remains as his singular asset.
    Some of his other notable films as hero were Komal Swaminathan's Anal Kaatru,Sridhar's Aalaya Deepam  R.C.Shakthi's Sirai and Motherland Pictures'Payanangal Mudivadhillai in which he appeared as second hero. Of the three,the third film in the list was based on Anuradha Ramanan's short story.The film Sirai  showed Rajesh as Anthony,a thug and ruffian spoiling the life of a married woman {excellently played by Oorvasi Lakshmi} in a drunken condition. The woman Baghiradhi  chose to live with him, after being forlorn by her orthodox Brahmin, priestly  husband {Prasanna}.When Anthony died, the woman would choose to live as his widow instead of being the wife of a living, cowardly husband. It was a great movie in R.C. Shakthi's gripping narration.
     In the midst of these worthy innings, Rajesh did all kinds of roles with Rajinikanth {Thanikattu Raja &Thai Veedu}Kamalahasan {Mahanadhi &Virumandi}Vijayakanth {Santhosha Kanavukal,Manakkanakku &Dharmapuri}Chevalier Sivaji Ganesan {Simma Soppanam Ezhudhaadha Sattangal and Mannukkul Vairam}Vijay{Sivakasi}Vikram
{Saamy}Ajit {Aanjaneya&Varalaru}Arjun{Marudha Malai} and with several other heroes. Rajesh has been a sterling performer of father roles and other character roles.
   The most significant trait of his acting is his capacity to shine from behind.The highly realistic pattern of his acting with an innate feel of modesty in role delivery has eventually made him mostly as a low profile actor, in the sense that he has never bothered to project himself closer to the audience.But there shines a never dimming radiance in his performance of roles that places him in the category of a charming actor like Sharath Babu.It is this distinct mark that puts him on an independent track,with a silent stamp of originality.
                                  ==================================

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Presentation of Song Sequences in Tamil Films.

       Film making is an arduous task consisting of various, equally important layers of the creative process.The most important of these are story line,characterization,role play of actors, dialogues,choreography, sound recording and the addition of music, followed by a course of comprehensive editing, that would make the end product a perfect piece of entertainment for enjoyment.As far as music is concerned, the background musical score takes a movie to its next level of acceptance and admiration.An Indian film can hardly be without songs and no film is complete without the background music score.Similarly,a film as per Indian norms,is also remembered by the quality of its songs and the way the songs are pictured.
     During the initial decades of Tamil Cinema, music played a wholesome place with songs at times, overtaking dialogues.This was because, most of the actors themselves were great singers. Actors like M.K.Thiagaraja Bhagavadhar, P.U.Chinnappa, T.R.Mahalingam and K.B.Sundaraambaal excelled in their acting by singing, as songs became an inseparable part of their roles and the audience those days went to the theaters, mostly to listen to the songs.
   When the next generation actors who could not sing took over the scene,there came into the picture a line of playback singers. With the induction of playback singing lip synchronization became necessary for the actors to be seen as singing the song. Moreover an enlivening presentation of song sequences,became necessary to create an ecstatic ambiance for film music. Hence, presentation of song sequences became a prominent part of the film making process, towards adding an extra edge to the audiovisual scope of the movie.If the song and its picturing are not worthwhile, it will only drive a section of the audience to the restrooms and snack bars for a popcorn hunt.
     Usually, the presentation of a song sequence varies from one type of song to the other. A film maker should know how to present a solo song,a duet number,a group song and one that needs adept choreography.To begin with, the solo songs were shown with heroes on horse back or driving a horse cart or a bullock cart.This was how songs like 'Sathiyame Latchiyamaai Kolladaa'{Neelamalai Thirudan}'Acham Enbadhu Madamai yada'{Mannadhi Mannan}'Ohoho Manidharkale Oduvadhenge koorungal'{Padithaal Mattum Podhuma}'Manushana Manushan Saapiduranda'{Thaikupin Thaaram}and'Nenjam Undu Nermai Undu'{En Annan} were pictured.Some times the hero would let the heroine sit on horse back and pull the horse as a mark of serenading.This is what MGR did in Malaikallan for the song sequence of 'Ethanai Kaalndhaan Emaatruvaar' Most of the solo songs of MGR that voiced social justice and social equality, showed him with active limb movements, challenging the evil forces.
     Whereas,quite a lot of Sivaji Ganesan's philosophical songs portrayed him,walking in a desperate mood, pouring forth his disturbed emotions.Songs like'Satti Suttadhadaa'{Aalayamani} 'Ponaal Pogattum Podaa'{Paalum Pazhamum}'Aaru Maname Aaru'{Aandavan Kattalai}'Ullam Enbadhu Aamai'{Paarthaal Pasitheerum} are a few samples that would belong to this category.
     Some times the hero or heroine would sing a song riding a cycle as Sivaji Ganesan did for the song'Vandha Naal Mudhal indha Naal varai'{Paava Mannippu} or as Gemini Ganesan and Sarojadevi performed for the song 'Vaadikkai Marandha dhum Eno'in Kalyana Parisu.Songs lulling a baby in a cradle also formed one of the highly desirable song sequences and the most remembered songs in this category are'Poomalai Puzhudhi mun Mele'{Parasakthi} 'Malarndhum Malaradha'{Pasamalar} and 'Chinna Arumbu Malarum' from Pangaalikal.
   There would be solo or group songs on running trains.Some of the songs in this category were'Sitthirai Maadham Pournami Neram'{Raman Ethanai Ramanadi}'Ethanai Manidhargal Ulagathile'{Needhikku Thalai Vanangu}'Maratha Vachavan Thanni Oothuvaan' {Panakkaaran}'May Maadham Thonnu thettil Major Aanene'{J J} and the memorable group songs 'Koodayila Karuvaadu' {Oruthalai Raagam}and 'Vellerikka Pinju Velerikka'{Kaadhal Kottai}.Similarly, the most popular boat/ ship songs were 'Ulavum Thenral Kaatrinile' {Mandhiri kumari}'Oho Endhan Babi'{Thenilavu}'Mullai Malar Mele' {Uthama Puthiran}'Amaidhiyaana Nadhiyinile Odam' {Andavan Kattalai} and the fabulous 'Adho Andha Paravaipoa Vaazhavendum'{Aayirathil Oruvan}.
     A vast number of duet songs those days would show the hero and heroine going round a tree,the heroine moving first and the hero running after her.Gemini Ganesan and Savithri would perfectly fit into this duet mode.MGR would do this with more physical force, gripping the the shoulder of the heroine and at times biting his lips. Sivaji Ganesan would hardly miss a passionate embrace of the heroines.
    Most of the group songs were also shown in a stereotyped mode.A few exceptional songs that have outlived their times are 'Vaarai En Thozhi Vaaraayo' {Paasamalar}'Maamaa Maamaa Maamaa'{Kumudham} 'Sithaada Kattikittu'{Vannakkili} and 'Nallavan Enakku Naane Nallavan'{Padithaal Mattum Podhumaa} not because of any novelty in presentation,but because of their enchanting musical richness.
     Later there came a few fascinating group songs such 'Paasamullaa Paandiyaru''Aataamaa Therottamaa'{both from Captain Prbhaakaran} and 'Adi Rakkamma Kaiya Thattu' {Thalapathi} the first two remembered for the lively dance steps of Ramya Krshnan and the other one for Rajini's nimble and stylish body movements, but both for Ilayaraja's musical richness .The  latter was also beautifully choreographed and pictured.
    However surpassing these normal depiction of song sequences, there are a few highly imaginative and uniquely creative portrayals of song scenes in many films, that would make us realize that depiction of a song is not that easy and if it is done differently it will stay in our memories as effectively as a good film does.From my movie watch I am recording some such song sequences that have lastingly settled in my memory. 
   The earliest in this category was the most vibrant dance number with the captivating song 'Thedinen Vandhadhu' in P.Suseela's superb voice,from Sridhar's film Oottyvarai Uravu. K.R.Vijaya's hey day energy, was vigorously reflected through out the song sequence.A similar sprightly dance portrayal was noticed in the song 'Thattattum Kai Thazhuvattum' in the film En Thambi. Here it was B.Sarojadevi who scored high in presenting the song, the fabulous way it came out. 
     Another unforgettable song sequence was found in'Mella Nada Mella Nada' from Pudhiya Paravai wherein Sivaji Ganesan would be seen following Sarojadevi, with a casual stylish gait, wearing a glazing slack shirt,tucked into his shining pants.In addition to Viswanathan Ramamurthy's musical mesmerism, it was the hero's pep and spark that made the song memorable.Similarly, it was a pleasure to watch MGR dancing with the professionally skilled L.V.Vijayalakshmi for the song 'Aadaludan Paadalai Serthu'{Kudiyirundha Koil}for which the energy levels of the actors perfectly matched the tempo of the song composition.The beauty of this particular song portrayal lay in the flow of vigor throughout the song, without any drop in energy, at any point.
   Most of the dance numbers of actors like Vijay,Prabudeva and a few other heroes, are beautifully choreographed with vigorous songs and agile body movements leading to a beautiful display of song sequences.Songs such as 'Aal Thoetta Boopathi Naanada' and 'Pokkiri Pongal' are remembered mainly for their exuberant presentation. 
     These days computers help a lot in creating wonderful fusion of shots to synchronize with the song by adding tantalizing touches, shot after shot.Mixing visuals in agreeable proportions without spoiling the significance of a song well written and music well composed,requires a lot of aesthetic sense. Otherwise,film music as one of the most salient aspects of film making, will go dry, making the whole exercise futile.I still remember the duet song in Kamal's Sathya showing the hero and heroine travelling on a bus and singing the song'Valayosai' In one of the shots of the song Amala the heroine,will show the biceps on her hand and Kamal will gently touch it.It still stays stuck in my memory.
    How beautifully the visuals for the song'Vennilave Vennilave Vinnai Thaandi Varuvaayaa'{Minsaara Kanavu}were shot and how elegantly the shots were made to travel with the song. Prabhu Deva and Kajole would be seen getting closer and then would escape from their bodily entanglement, only to get closer at the culmination of the song.So poetic the narration was and no doubt the song and its presentation have become immortal. 'The song Ennavale adi Ennavale'from Shankar's Kadhalan is yet another exquisite portrayal of song sequence,with a series of seamless mixing of shots watched with a marvelous feel of aesthetic splendor.
     Some innovative attempts were made in showing the hero and heroine passing through the different compartments of the refrigerator cutting the size of the human to fit into the fridge and this fresh attempt was made to present a duet song, in the AVM film Mr.Bharath. Later the hero and heroine were shown as minute and second hands of a wall clock for the film Panakkaran produced by Sathya Movies.
     Both these big movie makers have specialized in the art of erecting massive studio settings for duet songs particularly those related to the dreams of the heroine about the hero.Those who had watched Sathya Movies' Kaavalkaaran would not have forgotten the dream sequence song 'Ninaithen Vandhaai Nooru Vayadhu'celebrated for its gorgeous visuals.If the film had come out in color it would certainly have created a greater impact.There was an exotic feel in the presentation of the song "Azhagu, Nee Nadandhaal Nadaiyazhagu"in Baashaa, another film from the Sathya Studios.
     There were also some stage-prone songs signifying competitive spirit between individuals.Films like Vaanam baadi,and Pattanathil Bhoodham had such song sequences.But the best in this category were'Sinnanjiriya Vanna Paravai Ennathai Solludhammaa"from Kungumam and'Neeye Unakku Enrum Nigaraanavan' from Bale Pandia.
     In the recent days song sequences were excitingly presented in a few movies of Vijay. The presentation of the songs'Molachu Moonu Ilaya Vidala'{Velayudham}"Antartica" {Thuppaaki} and"Nillaayo"{Bhairava}could be called visual fresheners dipped in exalting imagination and creativity.As said earlier, picturing a song to the audio visual satisfaction of the audience needs a special grasp of inspiring and ingenious credentials of creativity, without which freshness and fine fusion can never get into the presentation.
    These days of electronically creative computer graphics, such fine mixed visuals are easy to blend and we know how director Shankar professionally proved it in his presentation of songs like 'Maayaa Machendra'{Indian} 'Mudhalvane' {Mudhalvan} and 'Kannodu Kaanbadhellaam'{Jeans}To conclude, beautiful song sequence is not the only thing for the success of any film.But it does contribute a special effect, adding up to the quality of the final product by making it visually more rewarding as a fulsome piece of entertainment. The examples given here are purely a subjective collection of song sequences from the films I watched.There could be more poignant song displays that have inspired other movie watchers.I give all those song sequences a big salute.
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Tuesday, September 4, 2018

A Movie Dedicated to Teachers{Recalled on the Teachers' Day -2018}

   




    Tamil cinema has frequently dealt with cop stories and occasionally focused on other professions like Medicine {Dr.Shiva was a special film on a medico's commitment to healing the trauma of lepers}and Law{ Gowravam was an extraordinary film about the pride of being a barrister}.Teaching which is called a very noble profession also drew the attention of directors during the last century and films like Teecharamma,K.Balachander's Nootrukku Nooru and Balu Mahendra's Azhiyaadha Kolangal had something different to say about the personal predicament of teachers and the vagaries of students of the school and college routine.But it was in 2012 a distinguished film on the validity and virtue of the teaching profession came out as a brilliant tribute to all true teachers.It was the film Saattai{The Whip}produced by John Max and directed by M.Anbazhagan.
  What was special about the film was the never deviating tone of narration, worthily confined to the course of events centering around a rural government school.So natural and true to life was the narration that the film almost became a treatise on the nobility of the teaching profession. Dhayalan the protagonist who chooses to work in a government rural school, takes up the onerous task of teaching with many a positive strategy, evolved in his mind,that carries well entrenched objectives such as, student equality both in terms of caste and gender,academic freedom both for the teacher and the taught and an unflinching belief that the allotted material and mind blowing benefits of education should positively reach all the students.
    Dhayalan hates corporal punishment in any form unscrupulously meted out to errant students.He stoutly fights against  pilferage of material benefits,meant for the students through the nutritious noon meal scheme.He questions the unethical practices followed by several teachers of the school including those of the Assistant Headmaster, who atrociously flouts all norms and abuses physical amenities attached to the school to promote his personal interest . Besides, he also carries on  usury, as his private business and utilizes class hours for updating his business records. 
   Dhayalan has to strain his brain and brawn to set things right and restore the lost image of the school while at the same time struggling to establish the legitimacy and dignity of the true teacher not only in himself, but also in his teacher colleagues.It is an ideological war waged by a single individual,to clean the system and call the shots for a total campus transformation.That he succeeds only by surpassing the risks to his own life and personal esteem is of course an inevitable dramatic necessity.
   At the outset, these things might appear cinematic.But at a deeper level the film poignantly showcases the ills that prevail in several such rural and urban schools.The film beautifully pinpoints that amiability,able delivery of information and knowledge,genuineness in upholding the cherished values are the fundamentals of a most crucial profession called teaching.The film also illustrates the importance of the teacher being a role model to budding generations,by maintaining punctuality and personal ethics, besides being modest in passing on to the younger generation a kind of value based, fine tuned, instructional process, that calls for active student participation at various levels, through verbal interaction and talent orientation.
   Samuthrakani's effective underplay as Dayalan,stamped a mark of absolute reliability to the role of an inspiring, exemplary teacher. Thambi Ramaiah as the vituperative Assistant Head Master made his role play amazingly realistic.There was no exaggeration of emotions.The audience would ever remember more,the live school campus,than their audio visual experience of watching a film.This is the most successful point of the film. Vijay TV can be proud of telecasting this film once a way.As a former college teacher and blog writer, I thought it is another way of paying a tribute to the teachers on the Teachers'day, by recalling the nuances of teacherly glory celebrated in the film Saattai. Hence this brief article on the film.  

Prof.P.Chandrasekaran
{Retd} 

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The Rise of Thambi Ramaiah

       












     Apart from heroes and heroines, Cinema in general is capable of portraying humanity at large, through a broad panorama of roles such as comedians,villains and greatly valued supporting individuals popularly known as character actors.Tamil movies have proudly celebrated the distinguished performance of exclusive character actors like V. Nagaiah, S. V. Sahasranamam, S. V. Rengarao,T. S. Balaiah,V. K. Ramasamy V. S. Raghavan and Major Sundarajan. These character actors would have taken up villain roles once a way.The number of villain roles would have been more in the case of Balaiah,V.K.R and Major.But Balaiah and V.K.R excelled in comedy roles also.Both these actors shared great screen space with the never tiring comedian Nagesh. 
   Similarly  starting from the pioneering comedian N.S.K, character roles have been confidently vested with most comedians like K. A. Thangavelu,Nagesh,Thengai Srinivasan and of late,Vivek.In this list, we now have a prominently notable character actor and comedian, whose rise on the big screen has been gradual and significantly steady.It is Thambi Ramaiah,the rising character actor of Tamil films.
     Thambi Ramaiah would have acted in more than twenty films before his remarkable and award winning performance in Prabu Solomon's highly acclaimed film Mynaa.In fact,Ramaiah had equally shown keen interest, in direction and lyrics composition.He was an assistant for Director P.Vasu for some time and independently directed films like Manu Needhi and Indhiralokathil Na.Azhagappan. Besides acting in P.Vasu's Malabar Police and Thottaal Poo Malarum,his other earlier roles were for the popular films Aaru,Kovai Brothers, Imsai Arasan Irubathumoonraam Pulikesi and Vaathiyaar.But after his stellar performance in Myna,Ramaiah became an indispensable comedian cum character actor. Prabu Solomon again inducted him for a meaty role in Kumki.
   Resembling Radha Ravi and delivering roles with a body language similar to that of the dynamic heir of M.R.Radha to a great extent,Thambi Ramaiah has slowly carved a distinct place for himself in Tamil Cinema.Some of the uniquely memorable performances of this vibrant actor have been for  films like Parthiban's Thiraikkadhai Vasanam Iyakkam,Vijay's Puli,Jilla and Bhairava,Ajith's Veeram and Vedhaalam, Vikram's  Raajapaattai and Thaandavam{in a brief memorable role as Thappaache Mama},Samuthrakani's Saattai and Appa and the most recent Velaikaran and Thaanaa Serndha Koottam of Sivakarthikeyan and Surya respectively,His other outstanding performance was for M.Raja's Thani Oruvan, as the puppet father of Arvindsamy.
   In negative roles,as an erring school teacher in Saattai and as the vulnerably mischievous younger brother of Nassar in Veeram,Thambi Ramaiah asserted his position as an actor capable of adequately reflecting villainy and crookedness.As the blind father of Laksnmi Menon falling into the hands of ruthless thugs,he could evoke a deep sense of pathos by his effective role performance in Ajith's Vedhaalam.
    There is a quantum of energy and vibration in Ramiah's dialogue delivery that always stands to his credit.In gullible roles he can stamp his mark as an exceptional actor.Beyond his wonderful performance in films like Mynaa,Kumki, Saattai and Kadhai Thiraikkadhai Vasanam Iyakkam,the two roles of this great actor that I would cherish in my memory are from Komban and Thani Oruvan.It has not been a meteoric rise for this vigorous actor, but a stable and steadfast one, that would keep him in the right place at all right times.
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