Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Three-in-One T.S.Balaiah.


      Tirunelvei S.Balaiah was a villain-cum-comedian-cum-character actor.In this aspect, he was like the veteran M.R.Radha; the only difference was he could not play with his tongue or meddle with his voice as Radha could do.But he had his own variety in voice modulation, that always helped him change his mood as well as that of the audience.He was the only actor of his days, who could play villainy blended with an obvious mixture of cowardice.This could be clearly seen in movies like 'Madurai Veeran','Pudumai Pithan' and 'Thooku Thooki' wherein,he would try to hide himself or avoid receiving a blow in stunt scenes.At the same time,he was capable of the brutal side of the villain, hellbent in achieving his fiendish schemes in movies like 'Maman Mahal''Pudhaiyal' and 'Pazhani'.
       In performing character roles,Balaiah was a stable achiever.No one can forget his sterling performance in 'Kalathoor Kannamma' 'Paava Mannippu' and 'Bagapirivinai' in this regard. He was perfectly fit for father roles and he always adorned it with ease like the duo S.V.Renga Rao and S.V.Subbiah .His acting style was compact as a tension ridden father and his voice modulation could exactly pass on the tension to the viewers. His voice used to shuttle between the serious and silly extremities with a ready made switch over and this was always his asset in delivering dialogues. His voice could boil and melt at regular intervals and it was the melting side of his voice that endeared him to the audience.
     Balaiah  was exceedingly comfortable on the comedy track and he performed comic roles with consummate skill; at times he did this,outshining the comedy actors themselves.Sridhar's 'Kadhalikka Neramillai' projected Balaiah's outstanding flair for comedy putting the veteran comedian Nagesh quite often at the receiving end.No one could forget Balaiah's unswerving gusto for humour in 'Thillana Mohanambal' in the train scene.The other movie that capitalized on the comedy potential of Balaiah was 'Ootivarai Uravu' that abounds in hilarious scenes of helplessness of the character played by him.This film was a successful contextual comedy revealing Balaiah's spontaneous outlet of nervousness coupled with the humour instinct.
     Later,it was K.Balachander who put to exceptional use, the comedy grandeur and character control of Balaiah in his movie 'Bama Vijayam' by assigning him the role of a loving but corrective father. Balaiah performed this role with ease and grace by mixing comedy with common sense.The movie is remembered for Balaiah's role teamed up with that of Nagesh,Muthuraman and Major Sundarajan. 
    Yet another film that brought out Balaiah's amazing calibre of acting was Sivaji's 'Thiruvilaiyadal' in which the thespian put up a brave show as Hemanatha Bagavathar with his masterly facial expressions for the song 'oru nal podhuma?'and finally submitted defeat with remarkable dignity.This epoch making actor  remained a boon to Tamil Cinema at its founding stage and contributed his best in the acting sphere by setting great examples of various shades of acting. T.S.Balaiah did not live long;but his name and fame have been beautifully carved in the annals of Tamil film history to find a lasting place in the memory of Tamil film lovers.This is because he was a fantastic character actor a fascinating villain and a fabulous comedian,all the three layers fixed in a single mould.



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