The positive power of motherhood is a passion for protecting its progeny with love, kindness, sympathy, control and responsibility, cautiously keeping off negative fundamentals encroaching the system of maternal upbringing.Positive mothers are protective mothers who eventually turn into proud mothers.This blog has already made two entries, one on Powerful Father Figures and another on Formidable Mothers portrayed through the medium of Tamil Cinema.This article will focus on the impact of positive motherhood and the actors who made a mark as positive mothers in Tamil Cinema.
Mothers who motivate their children during their formative years, in the right direction, are not just makers of the right kind of generation but are the founders of the proper form of civilization that finds a permanent place in the annals of history.We have heard of historical examples of mothers who infused the spirit of bravery in their sons and daughters and made them fight for justice and freedom towards liberating their country from forces of aggression and imperialism. Most of the Tamil films released during the Nineteen fifties and sixties threw their weight with such mother characters beautifully portrayed by talented actors like P.Kannaambaa ,M.V.Rajamma, Pandari Bai and S.N.Lakshmi.
P.Kannaambaa was the most impressive performer with penetrating power in her voice that would reveal the relevant emotions of pride and bravery evenly mixed with softer tendencies of maternal love and kindness.Everything would simultaneously come together through the changing patterns of voice modulation and exact throw of intonation. She had a charming voice that would rouse and quell emotions in an effortless manner.Be it a royal theme or a social one, depending upon the story line she would participate in the emotional process like a cake walk.Films like Manohara and Vanagamudi stand clear testimony to her vocal capacity for arousing the warring spirit against the evil aggressive forces.Her voice was full of fire and rage raising every now and then against the sinister designs of the greedy power monger Vasantha Sena in Manohara and against the foul machinations of the Senathipathi in Vanagamudi. Like Sivaji Ganesan, Kannaambaa was also talented in delivering lengthy ranting dialogues with a felicitous flow.For Kannaambaa, her clear and grand voice thrust was ever her greatest histrionic asset.
She had been the positive mother of Sivaji Ganesan in several movies besides the two films mentioned above.Some of the unforgettable movies in their combination as mother and son were Nichaya Thamboolam,Punar Jenmam,Makkalai Petra Magaraasi,Padikkadha Medhai[Sivaji,an orphan adopted by S.V.Rengarao and Kannaambaa] Kathavarayan and Padhithaal Mattum Podhuma . Her death in Makkalai Petra Magarasi ,with a terminal, sad song bearing the title, would have made many people feel as if they had lost their own mother.This was because of the emotional impact she had created by her powerful portrayal of mother characters.Her genuine agony and anger over her children being made undue victims of circumstances caused by the selfish designs of others had precisely projected her maternal plight when she came to know the truth of the course of events in a few movies. Padithaal Mattum Podhuma is one such film in which,she could be seen boiling with despair and anger over the selfishness of her nephew, making her son a scapegoat .One could always see her suffering with fury against the suppression of truth and justice.
Kannaambaa had also been MGR's mother in Thaikkuppin Thaaram ,Thai Magalukku Kattiya Thaali,Thirudaathe and Neethikkuppin Paasam. Besides, she had acted in notable Gemini Ganesan films like Nalla Theerpu, Kudumba Gauravam,Vaazha Vaitha Dheivam and the epic level film Vanjikottai Vaaliban.Her other great films were Maadharkula Manickam, Enga Veettu Mahalakshmi and Manjal Mahimai.In an era of family stories, mother characters formed the core of narration and the image of Kannaambaa would ever appear as the most outstanding mother character consolidating the various emotional constituents of the family drama.No woman has replaced the position of Kannaamba as the positive symbol of noble motherhood both in appearance and demonstration, ever stealing the show on the big screen.
M.V.Rajamma was a model of meek motherhood with suppressed emotions making periodical spouts of emotional outbursts for a feel of cathartic relief.Her voice was made up of a peculiar mould capable of controlling the mind of the audience with a voice modulation embracing and revealing the right mood at the right time.Later Sujatha,who is also no more,reflected a similar kind of firm and anguished voice pattern.From Rajammaa's remarkable dialogue delivery,her relevant mood and understanding of situation could be implied and interpreted.She was the special favourite performer of mother roles, for the movies of B.R.Pantulu. We would have seen her perform brilliantly the role of Kundhi Devi the mother of Karna and the Panja Paandavas,in Pantulu's Karnan in which Sivaji's marvellous performance as Karnan proved to be an overwhelming experience for the viewers.She had also acted in other Pantulu movies like Muradan Muthu, Namma Veetu Lakshmi, Thendivandha Mappillai,Ragasia Police.and Devar Film's Vettaikkaran.[the last three were MGR films] Rajamma's performance in Thayillappillai andAVM's Paava Mannippu was also a memorable one.Like Pandari Bai she too would have made many young men those days,long for a mother like her.Like Kannaambaa she too was a mother actor with both protective and controlling layers of motherhood.
Pandarbai was one mother actor who knew only to love her children.Whether her children were good or bad she would protect them as she would try to do in Vellai Roja,as the mother of Prabu. Panaribai donned the role of a mother ways back in the most popular film Annaiyin Aanai in which Sivaji played the dual roles of father and son.As the younger Sivaji's mother, she would command her son to take revenge upon the one who killed his father and wronged his mother's life. Sivaji would do so, but in the end would lose his mother too.The final song in the famous voice of TMS stating that there was no god like one's mother, became the most famous one.Decades later, the same Pandaribai acted as Rajinikanth's mother in Mannan and the most popular song in the vibrant voice of jesudoss would say that there is no life on the earth that does not worship its mother.Both these songs have established the fact that mothers are adorable characters and Pandaribai in particular, made herself a venerable mother in several movies including the Sathya Movies' block buster Dheivathai in which Pandaribai acted as the passionate and pathetic mother of MGR and other hits like Thaayin Madiyil and Netru Inru Naalai.She had also been the elder sister of MGR in the most successful Enga Veettu Pillai. Some of the other notable mother characters she had played were in Thavaputhalvan and in Sooryakanthi. I have provided only a small list of this longstanding mother actor.
S.N.Lakshmi,is different from the other three women in two respects.Firstly,she was an actor of her native soil;secondly,her contribution to the Tamil film field had been outstandingly voluminous. She had acted as mother and grandmother, besides taking up character roles time and again.She was a frequent addition into AVM films.Her versatility in displaying a variety of emotions was a well known fact.Some of the films have made her performance more memorable than that of others. AVM's Server Sundaram was one such movie,in which as the mother of Nagesh she played a vital role showing abundant affection for her only son who was the embodiment of innocence.Her death in the movie not only shook Nagesh driving him to an emotional performance but also made the audience an emotionally affected lot.The other powerful role of hers was in Agni Natchatram as the grand mother of Prabu and Karthik Muthuraman. Her anxieties about her son Vijayakumar living with two families were naturally portrayed. Again as the mother-in-law of widowed Kamalahaasan, she did a heavy role in Mahanathi that left a profound tragic impact on the audience.She had also acted in Kamal's Virumandi, Michael Madhana Kamarajan and Kaadhalaa Kaadhalaa. While it was a serious role she played in Virumandi, as a Muslim Caretaker of a huge bungalow in Kaadhala Khadalaa and as a Kleptomaniac in MMK she proved her mettle for high end comedy performance.
SN.Lakshmi was perfect as a grumbling mother or family elder not being able to digest things going wrong or her near and dear suffering on account of tragic happenings.Her power as a mother was found in partaking her children's sufferings with meek submission and unpretentious love for her children.To put it shortly, she had always been a mother living next door and in doing mother characters she had been her natural self without trying to be cinematic or without creating the impression of some one acting the role of a mother.This has been the most meaningful aspect of the acting career of S.N.Lakshmi spread over a period of more than five decades.
During the Nineteen Nineties as well as during the first decade of the new millennium,Manorama wonderfully took over the mantle of exemplary motherhood in quite a number of films.She has performed very impressively as an inspiring,bold,righteous and compassionate mother, in several frames and became almost a living mother prototype.She has been the lovely mother of all leading heroes like Rajinikanth,Kamalahasan,Vijayakanth,Sathyaraj,Prabu,Karthik Muthuraman,Arjun and Sarathkumar.Aachi Manorama has definitely surpassed all other actors as a new generation mother with inexhaustible positive energy.
As said at the beginning, motherhood involves the myriad paradoxical intricacies of love and control,kindness and rigidity protective and preventive portfolios.More than anything else, it is a perennial source of positive energy driving its creations towards the attainment of dynamic objectives.Positive mothers never get into a formidable frame of mind with the negative parameters of womanhood.The inherent spirit of love permeates in them as the governing factor that makes motherhood an energizing and revitalizing state meant for emulation and adoration.A mother is always an irreplaceable phenomenon in the law of nature and the positive power of motherhood stands ever as an invincible proposition.Unfortunately,during these days of technical predominance and the contagious choice of love and crime as major subjects for depiction in celluloid form,family emotions and the supremacy of motherhood are rarities to be experienced on the big screen The last time we underwent such a dignifying experience, was in Lingusamy's Anandam and P.Vasu's Mannan. As Queen Elizabeth once said,'computers can not generate compassion';but motherhood can.That is the positive spirit of motherhood.