Thursday, October 11, 2012

The 'R' Series Heroines of Barathiraja and Others.

             



















        K.Balaji,the great producer of Tamil remakes and originals,was sentimentally tied up with the names Raja for his heroes and Radha for heroines. Barathiraja,the buoyant film maker of creative sharpness and subtlety,seems to have been obsessed with a similar sentiment to introduce his heroines with their names starting with letter R. This resulted in half a dozen R series women getting regenerated as actors for their long and short spells of screen magic.
       Radhika the first among the six, came to limelight with the poetic director's second film 'Kizhakke Pogum Rayil'. From her entry point, she established her spirit of dynamism and dare-devil attitude to remain demonstrably as the most wanted female artist of Tamil Cinema.She continued to play the female lead in her mentor's other movie' Niram Maraadha Pookal.' But it was in the great director's 'Kizhakku Cheemaile',as Vijayakumar's sister,did she win people's hearts as an emotional artist of very high standard. She played as the Superstar's love interest in nearly six movies,of which 'Nallavanukku Nallavan' showed her as the woman behind the success of her husband and her death at the end of the movie made the audience leave the theatre with a heavy heart.In 'Oorkaavalan' too,as a village girl aggressively after the hero,to marry him ,she sacrifices her life in the end.It was a heavy role for her in both the movies and she did not miss the opportunity.
      The other actors with whom she was paired were,Vijayakanth,Bagyaraj, and Prabu.Her films 'Ninaivuchinnam' with Prabu and 'Poondhotta Kaavakaaran' with Vijayakanth helped her retain her name as an actor of great mettle.'Later,in a heavy character in 'Pasumpon' [another film from the Barathiraja production house] as the daughter of Sivaji Ganesan, she essayed an emotion packed role with subdued grace. Similarly, with Kamal in 'Sippikkul Muthu',she came out with one of her best performances. Her virulent performance as a virago, in Shankar's 'Jeans' was a proof of her capacity to play negative roles, besides making herself true to the characters she played. Radhika's profile would perfectly fit into aggressive,feminist roles too. Barathiraja's first introduction of heroines should really have made him proud.
       Barathiraja's another award winning movie 'Alaigal Oivathillai' exposed the wonderfully talented  Radha, whose charm and acting merit got her an acclaimed position in the film industry. Like Radika, she too started with a film that beamed at the box office.Following her first movie, Radha was lucky to be signed for other success shows like 'Oru Kaidhiyin Diary' 'Vellai Roja' Amman Koil Kizhakkaale' and the most talked about 'Mudhal Mariadhai'.
     Radha was a great combination of glamour and lovely acting potential.She had acted with all the popular actors of her time,mostly as a glamour addition with Rajini,[except for a solid role in the earlier 'Engeyo Kettakural'] Kamal, Prabu,Karthi,Vijakanth and Bagyaraj. Her performance with Sivakumar in 'Manidhanin Marupakkam' and with Mohan in 'Mella Thirandhadu Kadhavu' deserve higher recognition.Like her actor sibling Ambika, Radha retained an estimable position in her career.She is another lovable addition of Barathiraja into the film industry.
        Revathi, the third in the list to hit the screen with her debut performance in 'Manvaasani' marvellously helped her director to present the smell of the Tamil soil.She is an actor belonging to the category of Sri Vidhya,Sujatha and her contemporary Suhasini. This classification is due to the fact that she is also an actor capable of underplaying her emotions and like Sujatha and Suhasini,she too has a hidden spirit of revolt against the forces suppressing the legitimate rights of women.Her feminist tone of resistance was explicit in AVM's 'Pudumaipen' directed by her mentor.Her suppressed sense of anger against the erring male tribe could be felt in Balu Mahendra's 'Marubadium' 
    Revathi's portrayal of a pathetic blind woman in Mahendran''s 'Kai Kodukkum Kai' was a true reflection of her histrionic capability. Her roles in 'Kizhakku Vaasal' and 'Dheiva Vaaku' were on a similar line because in both, she appeared as a bonded soul under the suppression of a lustful local bigwig in the former and a greedy man who had adopted her as sister for the pecuniary benefits she would bring by soothsaying.In both the films Karthik Muthuraman  was her pair and in both Revathi was extremely appealing with elements of modesty and dignity.   
    The movies that showed Revathi's smartness and charm were 'Pagal Nilavu' 'Oru Kaidhiyin Diary' 'Punnagaimannan' 'Mounaragam' and 'Magalirmattum' Her specialty is that her roles were always taken care of by eminent directors like Barathiraja, Balachander, Balu Mahendra, Magendran and Manirathnam.The other movies that showcased her emotional appeal were 'Vaidehi Kaathirundhal' 'Anjali' and 'Priyanka'.Aan Paavam with Pandiarajan and Kanni Raasi with Prabu also reflected the graceful performance potential of Revathi.She knew her limits on the glamour side and her ability for character delineation was her asset.
       Of the remaining three R stars,it was Rekha who after her debut in 'Kadalora Kavidhaigal' could withstand the storm of competition.She made a brief appearance in Kamal's 'Punnagai Mannan' and created sensation in a kissing scene at the start of the movie. Lack of considerable opportunities deprived this talented artist of higher positions in acting and so she became contented with the offers of elderly roles that keep her busy even now. Ranjani introduced in 'Mudhal Mariadhai' as a supporting actor,did one movie 'Aayiram Vaasal Idhayam' with Mohan and disappeared from the scene may be, for want of opportunities.Ranjitha who was paired with Karhik in her debut movie 'Nadodi Thenral' could vindicate only her glamour stint in some of her other movies like 'Jaihind' but could not form a  stable film career.
      A few other actresses who were the close contemporaries of the R heroines but were not from the school of Barathi Raja, were making a vital contribution to the acting field during their period.They were Suhasini a product of the Hasan Family, Shobana,related to the [late] legendary actress Padmini,Nadhiya introduced by Fazil, Seetha who became popular with Parthiban's 'Pudhiya Paadhai' , Amala brought to light by T.Rajender and  Gauthami, who made her debut in the Rajini starring 'Guru Sishyan'.
     Suhasini whose introduction was from the reputed Director Mahendran's' Nenjathai Killaadhe' had another opportunity to prove her remarkable acting stuff in Manivannan's 'Gopurangal Saaivadhillai' and later in Balachander's great movie 'Sindhu Bairavi'.She also co- starred with Rajini in 'Thaimeedhu Sathiyam' and 'Dharmathin Thalaivan'. Her performance in Fazil's 'Bommukutti Ammaavukku' could be another memorable entry in her career diary. After becoming director Manirathnam's spouse,she continues acting in character roles. 
      Shobana being very busy in the Malayalm film field has acted only in a limited number of Tamil movies.From Balu Mahendra's 'Azhiyada Kolangal',it was a brief stint of acting for her in Tamil. Being a good traditional dancer she exhibited her flair for dancing in Kamalahasan's 'Enakkul Oruvan'.She has also acted with Sathyaraj,Bagyaraj and Vijayakanth in films like Malluveitti Mainer,Idhu Namma Aaalu and Ponmanachelvan respectively.She had costarred with Rajini in K.Balachander's 'Siva'  before acting again as Rajinini's love interest in Thalapathi  directed by Manirathnam. Her acting vein has reflected a perfect combination of boldness and feminine grace.
    Nadhiya who appeared in Fazil's 'Poove Poochoodava' became the heart throb of many youngsters by her decent mode of acting, pushing glamour much behind her priority list.She acted naturally and gracefully in films like 'Chinna Thambi Periya Thambi','Uyire Unakkaga' 'Raajaathi Raja' and a few more. .But she did not stay for long here.Then she reappeared with a bang as the young and lovely mother of Jeyam Ravi, in 'M.Kumaran,Son of Mahalakshmi' and later as heroines' mother in 'Thamirabarani' and 'Sandai'
    It was a gripping performance that Seetha delivered in Parthiban's  'Pudhia Paadhai'  his first and best movie as director. But after that she was not lucky to get meaty roles for her calibre. Her roles  in 'Guru Sishyan' and in Balachander's 'Unnaal Mudium Thambi'as Kamal's pair, only showed her as a graceful and charming person without adding merit to her acting capability.
   Two other women of beauty, acting vigour and dancing verve made an indelible mark during this period and they were Banupriya and Ramya Krishnan. Of the two the former with her captivating bold eyes was paired with Kathik Muthuraman{Gopura Vaasalile},Sathyaraj {Bramma and Kattalai},Mohan and Sivakumar{Porandha Veedaa Pugundha Veedaa}.She also did one movie each with Kamalahasan,{Maharasan}Mammootty {Azhagan} and Raguvaran {Aaahaa}Her dancing flair and emotional performance carried a special effect with the audience. Ramya Krishnan whose looks of sustaining youth, keep the audience surprised{like that of Nadhiya of course} can perform both as a modest and arrogant woman with invincible charm and efficacy and will be remembered for her wonderful performance as Neelaambari in Padayappa of Rajinikanth. It was an amazing display of role performance reflecting wealthy arrogance of womanhood.In another film Paattaali paired with Sarathkumar and directed by the same K.S.Ravikumar, Ramya appeared as a rich woman endowed with feminine grace, modesty and wifely devotion.She has also starred with Prabu {Budget Padmanaban} and Vijayakanth {Vaanchinathan}. 
     Amala who fascinated every one in Maidhili Ennai Kadhali' and 'Mella Thirandhadhu kadhavu' joined Prabu, Kamal and Rajini as their finely matching co star. Some of the leading movies like 'Sathya''Vetri Vizha' [both with Kamal] 'Agni Natchathiram','Uthama Purushan'[with Prabu] and'Velaikkaaran' and 'Mappilai'[with Rajini] speak of her convincing  performance combining  grace, glamour and emotion. Her other graceful role was with Mammooty in Kovai Sezhiyan's 'Mounam Sammadham'.Her dancing flair added to her fascinating place as an actor.
      Guathami's contribution has been both voluminous and meritorious. She has costarred almost with all the heroes of her time like Rajini,Kamal,Sathyaraj Prabu,Bagyaraj Sarathkumar and Vijayakanth. Particularly,she performed impressively in Vasanth's 'Nee Paathi Naan Paathi'  [for which she got an award] 'Rudra' 'Sandhanakkatru' and 'Darmadurai'.Her other films with the superstar include Guru Sishyan and Raja Chinna Roja With Kamal,her movies like 'Aboorva Sagotharargal','Nammavar' 'Devar Magan' and 'Kuruthipunal' emphatically established her position as an actress of both  stylish and subtle performance.Her concept of glamour was usually confined to a voice play of  emotion relevant to titillate the audience mood and she was known for clarity in her over all perspective of acting.More than the glamour side,it was in the sober characters,she always excelled.On the whole, she was another talent addition to the Tamil film industry. 
      The R heroines of the truest Tamil face among directors, and the other actresses mentioned here, have made one thing very clear. However creative a director is, an actor's survival depends basically on one's own inherent or acquired base.The director can stimulate and steer the process of acting.But it is the actor, who should emote and excel with an earnest,confident and competitive zeal to participate in the process. 
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