Thursday, September 6, 2012

Memories of My Teenage at the Theatres.


     My teenage visits to theatres were not limited to evening shows.The matinee shows  came in handy,usually as week end enjoyment. Movies in black and white and at times in East men colour were part of my regular schedule of weekend enjoyment.Movies of MGR,Sivaji and Gemini Ganesan were the frequent releases.At times, a few films of S.S.Rajendiran would  also be released.Most of them were family dramas;in between, a couple of films based on royal plots would also hit the screens.The greatest hits in this line were, 'Veera Pandia Kattabomman' and the ever watchable 'Aayirathil Oruvan'.Both the movies attracted huge crowds because of forceful delivery of fiery dialogues by Sivaji in the former,and the controlled command of dialogues of MGR in the latter, besides the extensive scope the films carried for outdoor shootings.Both proved to be  great extravaganzas and mass entertainers.The other wonderful treats in this category were MGR's Arasa Kattalai and Adimai Penn.I was equally enthralled in watching fantastic mythological hits like Karnan and Veera Abhimanyu.  
    However,the focus during this era, was generally on family sentiment with quite a number of movies stressing the importance of filial devotion,sibling attachment and exploitation of one   member of a family by others, in the name of affection. While Sivaji prominently devoted his role performance to this kind of  plots,MGR carved a niche for his profile in reflecting himself as an incarnation of goodness.MGR was ever shown as a steadfast fighter against all kinds of social and political offenders and an inexorable mother lover.He would always appear as a saviour of women in distress and a confirmed teetotaler. He was also cast in family dramas, but his role would be so carefully etched, that it would not deviate from its charismatic appeal.
    The sixties could be termed as a period of renaissance of Tamil Cinema with the advent of new directors. It was during this time, Tamil audience saw the emergence of great directors like A. Bimsingh, C.V. Sridhar, K.S.Gopala Krishnan, K.Balachander and A.P.Nagarajan. It was Bimsingh who excelled in films of family emotions,by roping in the wonderfully talented Sivaji to demonstrate the strength of characters, caught in the web of intricate joint family situations. The other two directors who capitalized on the acting urge of Sivaji were A.C.Thirulogachander and P.Madhavan.
      It was Sridhar who fully utilized the aesthetic aspects of the film medium for narrating his most  passionate triangular love themes and casual comedy plots.His delicate touches and breezy delineation of characters and situations,have left their indelible impressions on my mind .  K.S.Gopalakrishnan was specially acclaimed for his invincible dialogues and he successfully utilized the histrionics of heroes like Sivaji, Gemini Ganesan  Muthuraman or even a  great comedian like Nagesh to deliver the intended impact of his dialogues.His women characters played mostly by K.R.Vijaya and at times by Padmini,B.Sarojadevi and others, were as much powerful as the men characters .
      A.P.Nagarajan specialized in picturing selective aspects of Hindu mythology and he could rarely think of an actor other than Sivaji to play the pivotal role in his movies. The other directors during this period, to whom Tamil film industry owes its entertainment value were the MGR directors P.Neelakandan and M.A.Thirumugam,the AVM banner duo Krishnan Panju,the Modern Theatres' T.R.Sundaram, the R.R.Pictures'T.R.Ramanna and the Padmini Pictures' B.R.Banthulu.
     K.Balachander, an ardent promoter of new wave thinking, had the courage to modernize Tamil Cinema and take it forward to fresh destinations.He revolutionized Tamil Cinema through his raving themes and unconventional characters.Though Sivaji is also a director's actor,it is not known why KB directed only one movie['Ethiroli'] with Sivaji, as protagonist.The actors whose talent was frequently utilized by KB were, Gemini Ganesan, Muthuraman Major Sundarajan and Nagesh. This director has to his remarkable credit,the introduction of Rajinikanth to Tamil Cinema and the extensive showcasing of the acting grandeur of Kamalahasan, in a variety of roles.
    It is quite surprising, that in a period of epoch making directors,MGR scarcely came  under  directors like A. Bhimsingh, K.S Gopalakrishnan and K.Balachander. He just did one movie each with P.Madhavan [Deivathai] and  A.C.Thirulokchander [Anbe Vaa]. Similarly,he did not act for Sridhar and A.P.Nagarajan during their hey days. {However,later when Sridhar's career was ebbing,MGR gave him a lift by acting in his 'Urimaikkural' and' Meenava Nanban'.The former ran for more than a hundred days and revived Sridhar's image as director.}.MGR did a similar favour to A.P.Nagarajan by acting in a movie['Navarathinam'] directed by the latter but the movie turned out to be a dampener. However, MGR always eluded the concept of a director's actor.
     Apart from family dramas and historical films,there were noticeable comedies like Kaadhalikka Neramillai, Ootivarai Uravu,Bhama Vijayam,Veetukku Veedu and Kaasedhaan Kadavulada released during the middle and late Nineteen Sixties.There were also a few telling suspense thrillers like Naanal,Yaar Nee and  Pudhiya Paravai. Quite a few action films like Dheivathaai, Kavalkaran, Naan,Pattanathil Bhoodham,Vallavan Oruvan,Iru Vallavargal and many more,hit the screens, for the vigorous reception of the audience.The greatness of most of the films screened during my teen age days, lay in the strength of the story line,the rich quality of dialogues and the dedicated contribution of all segments of film making.Songs were an invaluable treasure of most of the films, because of both meaningful lyrics and inspiring throw of instrumental wield.The greatest thing was, lyrics were not swallowed by the sound of music.Starting from G.Ramanathan all the others like the duo Viswanathan Ramamurthy, K.V.Mahadevan, T.G.Lingappa Vedha,, S.M.Subbiah Naidu and V.Kumar, were the torchbearers of the enchanting throw of Tamil film music.            
    I have recorded only a little bit of my memory here.But one thing is sure.In the absence of Television,the big screen reigned supreme.The theaters were always busy and crowded from 9 am to 2 am,the next day.With four or two intervals, in the midst of an experience glued to the screen,and a sumptuous supply of  peanuts and peanut candies, film watching was altogether an exotic exit for visual and mind blowing happenings, outside one's home .The theaters and touring talkies were full of bustling crowds beaming with life,both during day and night.I could say my teen age years were memorably worthy, because of cinema and I remember my teen age, chiefly on account of the refreshingly fascinating moments of film watch. 


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