Monday, September 24, 2012

The Two Winsome Coevals


    During the middle sixties,there came two new faces into Tamil Cinema, who as charismatic contemporaries,created a lasting place as heroes in the line of  MGR and Sivaji Ganesan,adding new dimensions to the concept of hero .What was unique about these two fine actors was the spirit of competitive coexistence they reflected , by not giving room for rumours of rivalry or mistrust .They were JaiShankar and Ravichandran, the latter, about two years junior by age. Jai Shankar's 'Iravum Pagalaum',and Ravichandran's 'Kadhalikka Neramillai',put them both in the forefront among Tamil film heroes.Both shared the screen space in movies like 'Kaadhal Jothi','Naam Moovar','Naangu Suvargal''Gowri Kalyanam' and 'Akkarai Pachai.' and afterwards as elders in Abaavaanan's Oomai Vizhigal and Super Star's 'Arunachalam' They established their pathways of acting with independent moorings and left their foot prints in excellent form.
       Every one loved Jaishankar's plain and direct voice force that would cast its mettle in delivering emotions of love,compassion,hatred,anger, fear and courage.Like Sivaji Ganesan, Jaishankar boldly accepted and performed assertively,dual roles in 'Iaravum Pagalum' and 'Panjavarnakkili' at the starting spell of his acting career.In the latter movie,in dual roles, as an army officer and as a a villain, he essayed the roles like a veteran, marking a striking difference between the two characters.
       Ravivhandran who started  his great innings with an amazing level of energy in the full length comedy 'Kadalikka Neramillai'  went on the victory route giving super hits like 'Naan' 'Kumari Penn' 'Idhayakamalam' 'Kumaripen'Naan''Ninaivil Ninraval' 'Adhe Kangal' 'Sabatham' 'Enga Paappa' and 'Utharavinri Ulleva' .With his husky voice and controlled delivery of dialogues, he created a specific style of acting.
      JaiShankar's success entries were also distinctively large. Like Ravichandran,he too was capable of portraying diversity in performance,by choosing family dramas,comedies and action-cum-suspense thrillers.He had confidently got into characters  entangled in family sentiment, in movies like 'Kuzhandaiyum Deivamum' and 'Kulama Gunama' His extraordinary performance as a man of self dignity and male pride in 'Poova Thalayaa' earned him a lot of appreciation.This movie and 'Nootrukku Nooru' both directed by K.Balachander,made him emerge as an actor of meaninful merit.
      No other Tamil hero would have fitted into the garb of a crime detective wonderfully as Jai Shankar did. He was genuinely called the Southern James Bond following his effective performance as detective in movies like 'Neelagiri Express' 'Nil Gavani Kaadhali' 'Vallvan Oruvan' and 'CID Shankar' [the last two were Modern Theatres Releases].He could also express valid and relevant sense of awe in the notable Thriller 'Yaar Nee' He did not fail to evoke the comedy feel in 'Veetukku Veedu' 'Ungal Viruppam' and 'Kalyaanamaam Kalyanam'. The valuable aspects of his acting profile were noticed in the great entertainers like 'Pattanathil Bootham' and 'Veetukkoru Pillai' and films of higher story value like 'Kannipenn' Maanavan',Nootrukku Nooru'Kannan Varuvan' and  'Vandikkaaran Magan'.Jaishankar has beautifully exhibited sibling competition and rivalry in films like 'Iru Vallavargal' of Modern Pictures and 'Savaal' of Sujatha Cine Arts.
         Both Jai Shankar and Ravichandran have acted with all the great heroines of their times like K.R.Vijaya,Jeyalaitha,Vanisri, KanchanaLakshmi, Jeyachitra, Vennira Adai Nirmala, Barathi,and Usha Nandini.The Jai Shankar K.R.Vijaya combination became a sure success in  films' like' Pattanathil Bootham,' 'Vaayaadi' 'Thirudi' 'Mukoortha Naal',Akka Thangai and Mayor Meenakshi. The other heroines who naturally suited him were  Jeyalalitha,{Nee,Yaar Nee,Muthu Chippi, Bommalaattam and Vandhaale Maharasi were great entries}Lakshmi,{Mannippu,Nootrukku Nooru, Veettuku Veedu. and Kannan Varuvaan were special in their combination}Jeyachithra {Akkarai Pachai, Ungal Viruppam and Kalyanamaam Kalyanam were notable films} Vanisri {Kaadhal Paduthum Paadu, KanniPenn, Athai Magal Kulama Gunama and Aayiram Poi were lively shows} L.Vijayalaksmi {Iru Vallavargal and Vallavan Oruvan] Nirmala {Poovaa Thalayaa was amazing}and Bharathi {Unakkum Enakkum was a significant addition}
.   Similarly, Ravichandran was successfully paired with  Jeyalalitha,{Motor Sundaram Pillai,Naan Kumaripenn and Gowri Kalyanam},K.R.Vijaya,{Idhaya Kamalam,Sabadham and Ninaivil Ninraval} Barathi{Enga Paappaa and Nimirndhu Nil} and Kaanchana {Utharavinri Ulle Vaa}.Both the heroes did not act with MGR but both joined the company of Sivaji Ganesan Gemini Ganesan and Muthuraman. Jai- Shankar has done more movies with Sivaji and his role in 'Keezh Vaanam Sivakkum' with the Chevalier,needs a special mention.
      Then, Jai Shankar and Ravichandran took to villainous roles in their later days and  in Abaavaanan's 'Oomai Vizhigal',Ravichandran was shown as a crude, perverted villain and Jaishankar as his victim.The other movies that showed Ravichandran as an unforgivable bad guy were,'Amman Koil Kizhakkaale' ' Oru Thottil Sabadham' and 'Guru Sishyan'. JaiShankar's villainy was of the conventional kind ,starting with 'Murattukkalai' and 'Aboorva Sagodarargal' to many more movies. Both of them joined the Rajini/ Kamal films in paternal as well as negative roles and both shared more screen space with Rajini than with kamal. If Jai Shankar played a dignified role as the step father of the Superstar in  Manirathnam's Thalabadhi,Ravichandran played an equally heavy role as Arjun's father in Karna. Both the contemporary heroes are no more now,Jai Shankar preceding Ravichandran at least by a decade. But the ever green memories of their days and ways of acting,will adorn the interiors of the Tamil film space as much as they will occupy the memories of their fan base.   

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