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.

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.


Sunday, January 20, 2019

Two thriller narrations on the Tamil big screen.


   Like all other events of life,films come and go.Like some events that refuse to leave our memory,there are a few films that create records and find a permanent place in our memory archives.Sometimes there are unforgettable scenes from movies that keep knocking at our mind's doors,for a retrospective enjoyment,as frequently as possible.It may be an exquisite  romantic sequence as the one we witnessed in the film Sathya,with Kamal and Amala travelling on a bus enriched by a background song tuned by Ilayaraja and Amala showing her biceps prompting Kamal to touch it gently,or the climax of a movie like Mozhi,where the newly wedded Prakashraj and Swarnamalya would come out of the Church and the latter would throw the bouquet in her hand at Jyothika, celebrating the moment of Jyothika agreeing to marry Prithviraj,.
   This blog already carries two articles with comparative notes on similar scenes,one involving a banana issue as shown in Padikkadha Medhai and Karkaatakkaaran and the other presenting the fiery argument between Lord Shiva and Poet Nakkeeran from Naan Petra Selvam and Thiruvilaiyaadal.
    Here comes a scenic comparison of two thriller narrations,one by Nagesh in Sridhar's Kaadhalikka Neramillai and the other by Rajinikanth in Sivaji Productions' Chandramuki. Kaadhalikka Neramillai was a run away comedy hit of the Nineteen Sixties.Each scene and each song of the film,would be worth revisiting.With new faces like Ravichandran and Kanchana,the film breezily travelled through the imagination of the audience,to remain as an immortal experience of film watching.However,the one liveliest scene which showed the film- crazy Nagesh,narrating a little bit of his proposed skit,to his parsimonious father T.S. Balaiah,became a stomach curdling comedy show.
    Incidentally,it was the stingy father who just for a time pass,would ask his son to narrate at least one scene from his film under discussion,so that he could decide if he could fund the production of the film.Thinking that his father's approach was genuine,Nagesh would tell his father that the scene would be horror filling and warn his father not to get rattled.To this Balaiah would say that only cowards would get bowled over by horrifying tales and he was a hard nut to crack. Taking his father's spirit of nonchalance as a challenge,Nagesh would squeeze out the thrilling effect of the scene,so as to bring the horror element into his facial expressions and tone delivery.
    In a series of closeup shots,Sridhar would vigorously present the ongoing fear psychosis transmitted by Nagesh,into the body language of T.S.Balaiah,with gripping words and groaning sounds.At one point,Balaiah would say that the story was really horror prone and his mind was completely disturbed to the extent of getting him unnerved.Soon Nagesh could be seen dreaming about the prospective financier of his film project showering money on his film skit. The pitch of the comedy on the contrary would be,Nagesh demanding money and T.S.Balaiah simply shrugging his shoulders and walking away,with a big 'No' to funds. The whole scene would throw the audience into reels of laughter. How many times we would have watched the scene both on the big and small screens and how many bouts of laughter would have made our jaws ache! 
    There can not be a second opinion that P.Vasu's Chandramugi was a blockbuster show of action,comedy,sentiment and suspense.Likewise,it is an agreed fact that the comedy sequences of the film involving the Superstar and the Vaigai storm {Vadivelu} was a clear breakthrough in generating spot humour.Though the film carried several comic episodes combing Rajini and Vadivelu,the one about the existence of ghosts was one of the super scenes of the film.
    The scene would go on like this. Vadivelu would ask Rajini if ghosts really existed.Suddenly  the superstar would burst out asking "What do you mean''.Soon his face would be seen moving to different angles,travelling between the graveyard and the jameen bungalow,inviting the howling of dogs,the sound of anklets worn by women ghosts and so on.Vadivelu would ask Rajini why he was twisting his face so many times,to create a world of horror.The subsequent audio visuals would be a consummate blending of the mood of horror with that of hilarious ruckus created by Rajini and its impact on a spontaneously gullible Vadivelu. At the end of the narration,when everyone would see Nayanthara wearing white dress and anklets crossing the door and Vadivelu swooning at the turn of events,the horror component would  become a perfect laughter bonanza for the audience.
    Creativity is at times a process of conceiving ideas and situations,similar to the ones from other creative sources.But what makes the difference is its presentation.The change of bottles quite often makes the wine taste different.These two thriller narrations exemplify the grandeur of film makers in using the same concept for an original presentation.In the former,a character actor fools a comedian.In the latter,the hero takes the comedian for a ride.Consequently comedy is generated at the cost of comedians.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Rajinikanth Rejuvenated.


      Rajinikanth is a special kind of hero because he inspires his fans more than any other actor.It is his electrifying energy levels in voice vibration and bodily movements that have remained as a treat to his most ardent fans whose last Rajini feast was Shankar's Sivaji. Following this most memorable film,Shankar and Pa.Renjith took Rajini on a totally different track of screen journey thereby making most film goers long for a Rajini film in the line of Baasha,Muthu,Padayappa Chandramukhi and Sivaji.The young director Karthik Subburaj deserves a special pat for presenting Rajini in his Petta,with a totally refreshing make up that takes the superstar to his forties.The first half of the film  reverberates with invigorating events comprising Rajini's invincible style,sense of humour and tempestuous action sequences.The most fascinating Rajini formula is born again and it looks as though Rajini himself breezily enjoyed his role play from the start till the end.
    In a star studded film,Rajini overtakes all the others by his singular determination to get vigorously closer to his starved fans.The huge cluster of stars includes Rajini's one time famous director Mahendran and the new generation popular actors like Vijay Sethupathi,Bobby Simha,Sasikumar, as well as the two women Trisha and Simran who had no chance to act with him so far. Besides there is the Bollywood fame Nawazuddin  Siddiqui as Villain.Anirudh's music takes the film to its height of enjoyment with mood upbeat songs. Tirru's cinematography and Vivek Harshan's editing are significantly responsible for the impressive show,the film makes.Yet another unusual beauty of the film is the in-between ringing of old tunes from films like Paava Mannippu,Sumaithangi,Paasamalar and Mullum Malarum,transmitting the glory of the immortal Tamil film songs of the Nineteen Sixties and Seventies for a nostalgic reverie.It is a reflection of the director's aesthetic quest to blend the old with the young.
   Though the events after the interval move on predicted lines the most celebrated climax of the film throws a couple of surprises that put Vijay Sethupathi in an unenviable predicament.The contrived scheme of actions carried on by the hero with epic references seem to raise an undercurrent of qualms and ethical questions,against the rightness of destroying the enemy through the back door. Vijay Sethupathi certainly stands victimized by the entangling manipulations of the hero.The concluding haughty laugh of the hero would draw more sympathy to Vijay Sethupathi sitting in absolute shock at the turn of events.
    What makes Petta an engaging movie is the travel of the Superstar with his unfailing trade mark genre of energy demonstration despite factors of ageing. Rajini has once again vindicated Shakespeare's maxim that 'age can not wither' him.The film will get into the nerves and emotions of his fans to stay firmly in their memory until a similar Rajini film is released.After all,they want to see their hero ever young and do the impossible in his inimitable style.  

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Jyothika's Jaunty role play of characters


      Most new age heroines of Tamil Cinema,have occupied only the glamour space and left the field with their glamour image.Exceptions in this regard would be Kushbu, Simran, Devayaani and Jyothika. Interestingly,all these four women were born in Mumbai the city celebrated for its Bollywood fame as much for its Dalal Street. All these four women have settled down in Tamil Nadu.While Kushbu remained as the heart throb of the Tamil film fans,Simran's dynamism as a brilliant dancer and an emotive actor is  well known to Tamil Cinema. Devayani consistently maintained her distinct features of role play.All these women need a separate tribute in the form of articles in this blog.This particular piece is aimed at showcasing and complimenting the exceptionally competitive acting calibre of Jyothika,who stepped into the corridors of Tamil Cinema as a debutante in the S.J Soorya directed film Vaali, starring Ajith {in dual roles}and Simran.Jyothika certainly made her mark in this blockbuster film through her intermittent appearances as the imaginary love interest of the hero. 
   As a heroine she was first paired with Suriya in Poovellaam Kettpaar and the duo continued their acting journey as fascinating pairs of Tamil cinema in the line of Gemini Ganesan and Savithri,S.S.Rajendran and R.Vijayakumari and A.V.M.Rajan and Pushpalatha and also became life partners like the other three pairs.The other great films of Jyothika with Suriya were,Uyirile Kalandhadhu,Perazhakan,Kaaka Kaaka,Mayaavi and Sillunnu Oru Kadhal. Jyothikaa was paired with Ajith three times {Mugavari,Poovellaam Un Vaasam and Raja}, twice with Vijay{Kushi and Thirumalai} Vikram{Dhool and Arul} and Madhavan{Dum Dum Dum and Piriyamaana Thozhi}.
   A repeated award winner for her best performance in several films Jyothika is reputed for her sparkling body language,with her sprightly eyes talking more than her mouth. S.J.Soorya's Kushi was a turning point in her acting career exhibiting her feminist gusto blended with an egoistic exterior and a poignant blow of emotions as the interior.In Vijay's combination the film became an extraordinary hit,fetching her the Film fare award for best actress.With the same acting vigour Jyothika won the best actress award of the Tamil Nadu Government three times for her amazing demonstration of ecstasy in acting,as the leading lady of films like Perazhakan, Chandramukhi and Mozhi made by Sashi Shankar {under the AVM banner} P. Vasu { produced by Sivaji Productions} and Radha Mohan respectively.
    Some of her roles that have impressively unfolded the power of womanhood were,that of a complex woman shuttling between contextual misconceptions and introspective realization of facts in Kushi, as a visually challenged woman and as an intensely romantic woman in dual roles in Perazhagan,as a positive person with an impeccable faith in the pure friendship of her husband with his childhood girl friend in Piriyamaana Thozhi,as a split personality inspired by hallucinating perceptions in Chandramukhi,as a speech impaired woman in Mozhi,as a brave and robust woman police  officer in Naachiyaar and as a desperate woman fighting for realizing her personal career dreams,both in 36 Vayadhinile{a remake of the Malayaalam hit How old are you?} and Kaatrin Mozhi {another remarkable show of Radha Mohan after his Mozhi},Jyothika's journey in the celluloid world has been one of absolute commitment, conviction and competence.
    Jyothika has delivered all her roles with a mood of consummate celebration of her performance zeal and powerful  depiction of characters.Her facial glory in compensating speechlessness in Mozhi and her perfect absorption of the split personality complexities governed by an intrinsic quest for hallucinations in Chandramukhi,were her highly creditable scores as an actor,capable of penetrating into the inner layers of the intricate roles she played. Director Radhamohan could be said to have pulled out Jyothika's levels of grandeur in acting, both in his Mozhi and Kaatrin Moazhi.There has always been a sense of casual ease and effervescence in Jyothikas' acting that has taken her to new heights.Her eyes express a kind of longing for a series of dreams and a passion to achieve her dreams.One of her indisputable assets has been her spirit of endearing herself to the audience by her performance zeal,rather than by a quest for glamour.
    She always acts with subdued grace,born of a subtle grasp of the context and a close relevance of her role play,in tune with the context.She displays a special vibration mode, through her facial expressions and tone delivery.Ripeness in performance does not come that easy to all.In reflecting self confident portrayals without any exaggeration,she is in the line of Radhika who has attained an incomparable status as an actor of individuality and force,like Savithri of the previous century.Some of Jyothika's unique roles for me are from Kushi, Perazhakan,Mozhi, Chandramuki,Priyamaana Thozhi,Naachiyaar and Kaatrin Mozhi. Her other memorable movies are Tenali with Kamal, Poovellaam Un vaasam with Ajith,Dhool with Vikram, Pachaikkili Muthucharam of Gautam Menon{in which she played a negative role} 36 Vayadhinile and Manirathnam's latest hit Chekka Chivandha Vaanam.Jyothika's powerful bold eyes and her distinct mode of presenting her vocal vagaries,have fixed her in audience memory,as a unique category of actress,with unflinching self confidence and exemplary grace. 

Friday, December 21, 2018

The Immortal Screen Image of Avvaiyaar


    Tamil language can afford to be legitimately proud of its age old literary legacy.The chronological and voluminous content of Tamil literature is as great and vast as that of the literature of most other world languages. As far as poetry is concerned,the didactic nature and epic grandeur of Tamil Literature,are of a unique kind,with a galaxy of classics and life related precepts and maxims in single or double line order.Tamil literature has categorically and affirmatively laid down rules and directions of life,leading to ennobling goals for the creation of an exemplary society and illustrious race.
     Among those who have shown the pathway to glorious living,Avvaiyaar {a term which means esteemed/ respected woman} has gained an immortal place for enriching Tamil literature.The history of Tamil literature makes references to a Tamil Saintly poet called Avvaiyaar who is said to have lived during the 3rd century B.C.E playing a significant role as a poet of the Sangam literature period,besides being directly blessed by Lord Muruga,considered to be a special deity of the Tamil race.
   The History of Tamil literature also refers to another Avvaiyaar of the tenth century A.D who had contributed her high thinking maxims during the Chola Dynasty and shaped the Tamil society for enlightened destinations.Interestingly the term 'Avvaiyaar'in Tamil could even be interpreted to mean,"who is the old respectable woman?"{Avvai-elderly woman; yaar-who}.Tamil cinema has of course given us a combined image of both the Muruga devotee of the Sangam period and the instructive voice of the Chola Dynasty.But the actor who has squeezed out the essence of the venerable Avvai {old woman} has ever been K.B. Sundarambal, who alone has frequently donned the role of Avvaiyar and made us fix her profile with that of the ancient saintly poet.
    Kodumudi Balambal Sundarambal was both a stage artist and screen actor,in addition to being a wonderful singer with a clarion voice.She was a political activist during the Freedom Movement and became a member of the legislative council of Madras State in 1951 as a Congress Nominee.After a brief married life with her fellow actor S. G. Kittappa,who passed away six years after their marriage,she devoted the rest of her life to music and selective devotional roles in films.Her face with the sacred ash marks adorning her forehead,cleanly reflected sanctity and spiritual fervour. She was seen as Avvaiyaar at least in three films viz. Avvaiyar produced by Gemini Studios in 1953 and later in Vijayalakshmi Pictures' Thiruvilaiyadal and Kandan Karunai both directed by A.P.Nagarajan. Her earliest Tamil film entries were Nandanar,{1935}and Manimekalai {1940}.
    Some of the other notable films of K B S were Poompuhar {as Gavundhi Adikal} Maha Kavi Kalidas,Thunaivan,Karaikaal Ammaiyaar{ as Karaikaal Ammaiyaar,the distinguished devotee of Lord Shiva}and Thirumalai Dheivam{as a woman saint called Narayani}.The most extraordinary credentials of K B S were the spiritually enchanting looks and the magnificence of her voice.It is this voice which is still being heard and enjoyed despite her absence from this mundane world since 1980.The way she used to address Lord Muruga,carried the absolute essence of love,devotion and self-surrender to the deity whom she worshipped from the bottom of her heart.The same way,whenever she was seen addressing Lord Muruga as 'Muruga' her probing,poignant voice seemed to drive the audience into a spiritually melting process,creating an inexplicable quantum of ecstasy similar to a state of bliss,capable of evoking the communion of the human soul with the Brhaman.
    What a glorious moment it is listening to her stentorian voice,singing songs like"Mayilerum Vadivelane"{Avvaiyaar}"Gnanappazhathai Pizhindhu"and "Pazham Neeyappaa"{Thiruvilai yaadal}"Kaalathil Azhiyaadha Kaaviyam peravandha"{Maha Kavi Kaalidas}"Vaazhkai Enum Odam"{Poompuhar}and"Ezhumalaiyirukka Namakenna Manakkavalai"{Thiru Malai Dheivam}.Likewise, we would have enjoyed her songs like "Ayyane Anbarku Meyyane"and "Muthamizh Dheivame Vaa"{Avvaiyaar}Thappithu Vandhaanappaa"{Poompuhar}" Onraanavan Uruvil Irandaanavan"{Thiruvilaiyadal}"Senruvaa Magane"{Maha Kavi Kalidas} "Piravaadha Varam Vendum"{Kaaraikaal Ammaiyaar}"Ariyadhu Ketkin"{Kandan Karunai} "Gnaanamum Kalviyum"and "Koopitaa Kuralukku Yaar Vandhadhu"{Thunaivan} and ''Kelupaapaa''{Uyirmel Asai}. Besides film songs,she had also sung devotional songs of which I recall the classical number 'Thanithirundhu Vaazhum Thavamaniye"that I had heard during my early boyhood,from the the gramophone record player.
    K.B Sundarambal's songs are ringing in our ears as much as her divine looks are indelibly imprinted in our memory.She was one of those mighty musical voices of the Tamil soil,in the line of M.K.T Bhagavadhar,T.M.Soundarajan and Sirkazhi Kovindarajan,leading the lyrics by the force of voice clarity and perfection in accent.Tamil Cinema owes her a lot,both in terms of her inimitable vocal splendour and incomparable spiritual dignity,towards performing sacred roles.Above all,she will live for ever,not only as the screen image of the Tamil saintly poet Avvaiyaar,but will also be cherished in audience memory as the truest replica of that saintly poet,whose Aathichoodi and Kondrai Vendhan continue to govern the life of every individual, endowed with a fair knowledge of Tamil Literature.