The name Bhagyaraj, if translated in to English,will literally mean the King of Benediction. Indeed Bagyaraj has been luckier than others not because he is an actor and director but because he is one of the film personalities enjoying the bonhomie of a vast section of the people of Tamil Nadu.It must be only due to his geniality and his inherent sense of humour, that he very often stretches to the extent of making himself a butt of ridicule.Self targeted humour is not an easy thing to successfully execute and customize.But for Bhagyaraj that is his special asset and it comes to him like child'splay.
Bhagyaraj has been equally fortunate as a director and actor.While other directors turned to acting after a considerable stint in directing films with other heroes ,Bhagyaraj had the distinct position of directing himself as hero. Other directors like Manivannan,Sundarrajan, Manobala and P.Vasu could play only character, villain and comedy roles. Bagyaraj started his career as hero in Director Barathi Raja's 'Pudiya Vaarpugal' with Radhi Aknihotri as his female pair.He played in that movie, the character of a school teacher struggling to break the superstitious beliefs of the people in the village where he worked.The film was given an A certificate and I remember taking my fifteen year old brother in law with me and he was denied entry into the theatre on account of that. Interestingly, there was nothing meant only for an adult watch in that film, other than the climax that contained the situation of a virgin being forced to make a nude walk around the village based on the superstitious belief, that if she did so,the drought hit village would get rains.The heroine of the film had to undertake the ordeal and there was no visual in this regard.But even a concept not meant for adolescents was kept out of their reach,those days.
After appearing as a crude villain in 'Kanni Paruvathile', Bhagyaraj became a full fledged director-cum-hero of his movies. Following his footsteps,a line of directors like Pandiarajan Parthiban Sundar.C and S.J.Soorya also began to direct themselves as heroes.
Bhagyaraj is the only constant bespectacled hero with a jarring voice pattern. But these so called draw backs have actually pushed him forward as his special attraction.His voice was initially dubbed for his first movie and after that he tried his own voice and it clicked perfectly for a distinct style of dialogue delivery.His innate flair for mischief could be seen not only in his dialogues but also in his choice of titles for his movies.Some of his film titles like 'Indru Poei Naalai Vaa' 'Mundhanai Mudichu' Idhu Namma Aaalu' and 'Veitiya Madichkattu' will reflect the undertone of mischief. But he is also good at creating poetic titles like 'Mouna Geedhangal' 'Dhaavanikkanavugal' and 'Suvar Illaatha Sithirangal'.
Most of the films of this special category of director [special in the sense that he extracts more of his own creative energy and histrionics for the over all quality of his films] have shown in clear terms, his focus on variety in themes and story line because even if his acting pattern is going to remain the same,the freshness in other areas will not disappoint his regular audience.His main thrust has been on the conjugal side with its manifold patterns of man woman understanding of a routine of domestic give and take for a peaceful and happy coexistence.He was a struggling husband in 'Mouna Geedhangal', a mesmerized son in 'Enga Sinna Raasaa' a sentimental stuff in 'Raasukkutti' an enlightened music teacher with a respect for tradition in 'Andha Ezhu Naatkal' a responsible elder brother in 'Dhaavanikkanavugal' and a kind of 420 in 'Idhu Namma Aaalu'.
His two movies with an undercurrent of the tragic element were 'Suvar Illaadha Sithirangal',and 'Pavunu Pavunudhan' In the latter,Bhagyaraj appears as an army man and a humanist going to the extent of pulling the chains of a running train to stop it, in order to trace a baby's pacifier that slipped off the train.And that was the starting scene of that movie. Bhagyaraj has also tried his hand with themes of crime thrillers as dialogue writer for 'Oru Kaidhiyin Diary','Tik Tik Tik' and as director for his 'Vidiyum Varai Kathiru'.
In between his directorial ventures,Bhagyaraj has also acted in films under the direction of others. He was the hero of Sujatha Cine Arts'En Rathathin Rathame' directed by K.Vijayan. It was a remake of the Hindi blockbuster 'Mr.India' starred by Anil Kapoor.Meenakshi Seshadri,the popular Hindi heroine of those days, was paired with Bhgyaraj. He has also acted in S.A.Chandrasehar's 'Naan Sigappu Manithan' starred by Rajinikanth and as a private detective,his natural gusto of humour was a perfect foil to the seriousness of the Superstar.
Similarly,in 'Rudra' in the role of a petty thief assisting the police to track a major criminal network,he provided endless laughter moments for the audience by his funny looks and mischievous banter creating a lot of tension for the police officer Lakshmi. The film was directed by Sasi Mohan.Bhagyaraj made the unusual effort of unearthing an incomplete MGR film that could not be released,added his well known creative potential and made it a full length action movie doing dual roles as MGR would normally do.The title of the movie was 'Avasara Police 100', and with a lot of comedy element and with two heroines [Silk Smitha and Gowthami] the final product became a casual piece of entertainment.
However, the sum total of any Bhagyaraj movie will be a captivating screen play with an even mix of sentiments and emotion with an inseparable Bhagyaraj brand of humour interlinking one scene with the other.He has inducted all the female talents of his time like Radhika, Sulakshana, Ambika, Rohini, Radha, Poornima,Shobana, Gowthami,Aishvarya, and Saritha to be his heroines .In his later movies he has also acted with Kushboo and Nagma. But he would have acted more movies with Radhika sharing a lot of healthy banter with her.
As far as his dialogues are concerned,it is a pure stuff of everyday reality,with arguments rising from common sense, blended with the ingredients of the rural conventions and habits.His robust reference to sex, through common place indicators, which may include even an ordinary vegetable like drumstick, will ensure that there is no harping on cheap taste and vulgarity.His films like 'Mouna Geedhangal' 'Mundhanai Mudichu' and 'Chinna Veedu' were criticized by some, as bordering on obscenity in certain respects.But the very fact that all these movies were box office hits, confirmed their acceptance and reception as great entertainers.
The creative imagination of Bhagyaraj can capture the sentimental,practical and idealistic dimensions of the romance domain. His vigorous and successful attempts at marrying his maternal uncle's daughter in 'Thooral Ninnu Pochu', showed the presence of family sentiment, in realizing the romance component.His 'Darling Darling Darling' was an ideal celebration of childhood love, developing into an undying romance and the film was a decent demonstration of love, besides bringing together the hero Bhagyaraj and heroine Poornima Jeyaram, as husband and wife in real life.Most of his other films, exhibited the mischievous outbursts and efforts of the hero, to get the girl whom he loved, or, who loved him, as his life partner.It is the practical approach of Bhagyaraj in narrating tales of romance, that has taken him closer to his fans.
These days, Bhagyaraj has become an energetic character actor, as we recently saw him in 'Unakkum Enakkum Something Something' and 'Uthamaputhiran'.As a director, his film 'Sokka Thangam' with Vijayakanth as hero, was a clean family entertainer and his film 'Paarijaatham', with his daughter playing as heroine, was fairly good.. It is true that the best of Bhagyaraj has already been delivered.But the best of his talent as director and actor, is still there, in its ever cheerful and laughter-prone package in store, ready to entertain us.The benign look and cheerful attitude combined with his merrymaking tone of delivery, are the standard trade marks of Bagyaraj, that call for a continuance of the bonhomie between him and his supportive audience base.