Wednesday, February 20, 2013

T.R.Mahalingam,the Actor Singer.















     T.R.Mahalingam was an outstanding singer and a graceful actor of the incipient years of Tamil Cinema.His nasal voice was his special attraction.His voice modulation both in dialogue delivery and presentation of vocal music was always known for its clear and confident deliberation. It was a voice that would reflect categorically the latent and innate spirit of modesty that is a rare virtue of popularity.As an actor, he was quite compact in every role that was assigned to him.As a singer, he had a great sense of mastery over the musical notes and his mellifluous voice enriched the quality of his songs.
     I would have seen less than ten of the nearly forty films that T.R.Mahalingam had acted.Vedhala Ulagam was the first of his movies I saw.It was followed by Abalai Anjugam, and Aadavandha Deivam. His later roles that attracted me were in Thiruvilaiyaadal and Agathiyar, both directed by A.P.Nagarajan.He had acted in Sri Valli as Lord Muruga and later he also acted in the revised version of another film with the same title in which Sivaji Ganesan played as Lord Muruga. The other memorable films of T.R.Mahalingam were Amudhavalli Maalaiyitta Mangai and Kavalai Illaadha Manithan.
     Among the characters he played, he excelled as poet-singer Paana Pathrar of the Paandia Kingdom in Madurai, in 'Thiruvilaiyaadal'. His confession of diffidence in competing in a musical contest with the most reputed but haughty singer Hemanatha Bhagavathar was an unpretentious manifestation of self awareness.It was Pathrar's staunch  faith in Lord Shiva that saved him from the crisis,and T.R.Mahalingam genuinely exhibited his acting credentials in that role, his natural modest attitude making his performance easier. Then as Saint Naradhar in 'Agathiyar',he played a convincing role.The last time I saw him on the big screen was in the A.P.Nagarajan film Raja Raja Chozhan in which he appeared as Karuvur Thevar.
     It was always a pleasure to listen to his songs and some of them were uniquely representative of the classic order.Very few people can sing a song like 'Isaithamizh nee Seidha Arum Saadhanai' [Thiruvilaiyaadal] which goes to the extremes of high pitch without a jarring note anywhere.The other captivating song''Illaadhadhum Illai'' from the same film, felicitously travelled from its highest pitch to a mellifluous glide, taking the listeners to the height of fantasy. It was a marvellous throw of voice creating ecstatic moments for the listeners.
    Similar devotional songs were, 'Namachivaya ena solvoeme' and 'Isaiyai Thamizhai Iruppavane' from Agathiyar and 'Thanjai Periya Koil' and 'Yedu Thandhaanadi Thillaiyile' from Raja Raja Chozhan. His other most popular numbers are'Senthamizh Theinmozhi yaal' {Maalaiyitta Mangai] and 'Adaikatti vandha nilavo' {Amudhavalli].He was also capable of delivering light minded songs like ''Sottu sottunu sottuthu paaru inge' ''Aasai Konden Amudhame'' and 'Kodi Kodi Inbam Perave' [ all from Aadavandha Dheivam] and 'Vennila Kudai Pidikka' from Abalai Anjugam. The other, audience favoured song was ''Padikka Padikka Nenjil Inikkum Paruvamengal Kaaviyam''from Rathnapuri Ilavarasi.
    The voice of T.R.Mahalingam was known for its individuality and its striking impact.His contribution as a self confident artist during the formative period of the Tamil film industry was definitely a qualitative addition to its growth- making process.He would not have been a trend setter in histrionics.But his characteristic sway of music made him join the list of the front runners, claiming a distinguished position in the annals of Tamil film history.
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