Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Proponents of Negative Themes in Tamil Films.


   A boy sees his mother committing adultery and brings it to the notice of his father.As the father hangs himself in shame,the boy during a night,takes his belonging,locks the hut and sets it on fire,killing his mother and her paramour who continue their illicit relationship.The boy who turns to manhood in juvenile prison is released only to commit more crimes  under unprecedented circumstances in spite of his basically good nature.This is the plot of the recent film 'Naan' starring music director Vijay Antony as hero and directed by Jeeva Sankar.
    A boy becomes intolerant when his father brings home his concubine nonchalantly and begins to ill treat his mother.The irate boy does his father to death shocking his mother who turns dumb and deaf.After spending his boyhood in juvenile prison, his genuine attempts to lead a new life get foiled by unforeseen developments and he is forced to commit another murder from which he gets acquitted for want of evidence. .Unable to see her son getting into a row with the baddies and not being able to mend his life,his mother decides to poison him to death.Knowing that the food is poisoned ,the son eats it to die happily in his mother's lap and the mother and son die together.This was the story line of great director Bala's 'Nanda' and Soorya  played the role of the mother- devoted son.
      Individual and social aberrations on screen,though painful to watch,draw the special attention of some directors, who feel motivated to portray the impact of such negative happenings, on victims  undergoing terrible conflicting moments in their subconscious mind, on account of their tragic family background.Almost all the films of Bala, carry tragic undertones, though he tries to add  substantial humour portions to mitigate the tragic intensity. 'Sethu' was one heart rending film with the first half showing the hero with an attitude of fun and  charming brashness of youth. It was Vikram playing the aggressively buoyant youngster Sethu[Siaan],with a cheerful gang of friends.But an incident of previous rivalry taking a new dimension and crippling his life once for all with mental inertia  was too horrid to watch. All the funny events he had with the college going Abitha[kujalambal] and the subsequent romantic moments, became null and void, when Siaan became mad, making every one guess, if he knew or not, that his sweetheart was dead and gone.
    Bala's 'Pithamagan' continued the negative pullover more vigorously than 'Sethu'.Why should Soorya with all his innocent banter and mischief get killed brutally, bringing shock waves to every one, making it impossible to recover.The vigorous tug of war between Soorya and Leela and their street rolling like children with their fighting ferocity, finally ended up with a beautiful culmination in love and when the mood of enjoyment reached its climax,the most unexpected grisly murder of Soorya took place.The voluminous shrieking of Vikram,the hero playing the role of an undertaker was so unbearable to withstand like Kamal's desperate, loud cry on seeing the dead body of his son in 'Nayagan'. 'Pithamagan' contained great fun spontaneously delivered by Soorya particularly the taunting moments he generated in prison interviewing his jail mates.But the tragic sense was deeper to the extent of overtaking the humour component of the movie .Soorya too, deserved an award for his fantastic performance in that film.
       The other film of Bala,the national award winning 'Naan Kadavul' was a celebration of the Aghori,besides exposing the horrendous implications of the beggar trade perpetuated by a ruthless net work making profit out of human suffering.These three films have stamped the image of the master craftsman of negativism on Bala. The extraordinary ability of Bala as a director is that, he is capable of extracting the best acting dimensions from his heroes, making them identify with their characters, in a spirit of kinship.Consequently, the actors transform into characters losing their individual trademark as actors. But Bala's negative focus is too painful to watch.
    Gautham Menon who beautifies his titles,bestows upon us his best preference of music, inserts in most of his movies the thrust of the underworld of inhuman criminality and violence.Starting his career as director, with a very fascinating romantic narration in Minnale which also carried a negative touch of impersonation for the sake of love,Gautham Menon began to shuttle between positive and negative extremities.From 'Kaakka Kaakka',he could not resist budging to the creative pressure for exposing crime in varied forms both in 'Vettayadu Vilaiyadu' and 'Pachaikkili and Muthucharam' In between, he once again moved to a softer and soothing experience in breezy romance like 'Vinnai Thaandi Varuvaayaa' and 'Neethaane En Pon Vasantham' besides turning to a pleasing narration of paternal love in 'Vaaranam Aaayiram' However his visual display of violence on screen was mostly of the gruesome type. His titles and his qualitative delineation of characters and scenic sequences, speak of his aesthetic capability.
      Vetrimaran has chosen to depict themes of betrayal both in 'Pollathavan' and 'Aadukalam'.He makes it emphatic that greed and ego projections are a prelude to betrayal. Nothing can be more agonizing than being taken for a ride in the name of gullibility.When the dearer, turn traitors, one loses faith in life itself.This is the core of Vetrimaran's negative thrust.How ever, the redeeming conclusion in both the movies is that even if one betrays there will be others to help you through in moments of crisis.This cathartic conclusion gives us a lot of solace and retrieves us from the grip of negativism.
   Mysskin is yet another director whose creative impetus is prone to negative intricacies. Starting from 'Sithiram Pesudhadi',down to 'Mugamoodi', the director has taken us for a journey through the negative channels of the darker side of the human psyche. The angry outbursts of Cheran on seeing the gory crimes in 'Yutham Sei' were just an echo of  what many among the audience would have felt. In  'Mugamoody' Narain says he likes the smell of death. This kind of diseased psyche reflects the extremes of morbidity.But the great consoling moments are Narain's readiness to sacrifice any thing including his self dignity in 'Sithiram Pesudhadi' and the bond of friendship that has been consistently focused both in the former and in 'Mugamoodi'.The other vital aspect of Mysskins' films is the dominance of darkness to imply the darker world that is being projected. Mysskin should also be congratulated for giving  positive titles like  'Anjaathe' and 'Yutham Sei' to his films that deal negative priorities. 
   Vasanthabalan, another budding director of great quality is known for his sensitive portrayal of the tragic element as found through his effective character conception of a film loving, innocent but irresponsible elder brother undergoing an emotional torment, wonderfully played by Pasupathi in 'Veyil' and the poignant presentation of the sufferings experienced by the sales assistants in textiles shops along with a charming substance of romance in 'Angaditheru'. Though there was nothing psychologically disturbing in the evolution of the plot in both the films,there was always the domination of the tragic sense permeating through the narration of the story.
   Incidentally,it is quite surprising how after a stint of being Assistant director of S.Sankar,the generator of action energy and speed, Balaji Shakthivel intended to get into negative concepts and tragic delineation of story line and characters both in 'Kaadal' and 'Vazhakku En18/3'.The climax in 'Kaadal' showed the hero Barath roaming in the streets as a mad man in rags in blissful ignorance of his lover [and wife] having forcefully been married to another man by her community- oriented parents and relatives.
   The new duo Sasikumar and Samuthrakani are also frequently drawn to themes of betrayal and brutality perpetrated by unidentifiable back stab tendencies among members of  a group called friends.Their films 'Subramanyapuram','Nadodigal' and 'Sundarapandian' delved in a very subtle manner, into the subject of breach of trust. 
    A few decades ago, the negative thrust was not so visible in Tamil cinema. Here and there, one or two attempts would have been made, as Balachander did in 'Thappu Thaalangal' [as the title itself suggests something wrong, was to be told in that movie] and 'Naan Avanillai'  the latter narrating brilliantly,the deceptive looks and cheating exuberance of a Casanova played by Gemini Ganesan, habitually marrying and deserting gullible women.Interestingly,this film with the same title, was remade in two parts, starring Jeevan and the latter version also created waves in film circles. Barathi Raja made one movie 'Sigappu Rojaakkal' with a negative hero  carrying a nasty past that kept on nagging his wounded psyche as a perpetual irritant.
    Before I conclude,it must be said that theatres are an outlet for people to spend a couple of hours or more, for getting refreshed in mind, before they resume their pressure- bound routine. What the majority of film goers expect is a kind of relaxation brought forth by the happier moments, from the events on the larger screen, in exchange for their time and money. When the same negative theme, in the form of painful stories and paranoid characters is offset by  human imagination through a novel approach of  introducing the smallest of living beings, say for instance, a fly,to take revenge on such negative characters, it is received enthusiastically by the audience, as in the case of  the most recent 'Naan Yee'. 
    However, no creative brain can be dictated to do what it is not inclined to do.In other words, creativity perishes the moment it is pampered or overpowered.The imaginative layers of creativity are so numerous that each layer has a role to play as each limb and each organ of the human body.Negativism is one such layer fundamentally true to the psychic formulation and its tentacles are wider than any one can think of, to take on larger ramifications, whenever it gets represented and pictured.


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