Monday, June 3, 2013

Shankar,The Strategic Stalwart.


      Film making is a passion for some and a strategic progression for others. For a few, it is a combination of both. Until a couple of decades ago, the main focus of film directors would be on the script, the suitable cast and the overall production planning that would include all the prospective expenses to be let known to the producers.Creative ambition was confined to the final impact of the movie, based on its thematic value, concentration on the story line and the inherent dramatic input, that would drive the audience to travel with the film from its beginning till the end. Strategic planning on a big budget process, taking into effective consideration the financial viability to match technical efficacy, would not have been on the agenda of film making for long. 
    During the early Nineteen Nineties, the Tamil film industry saw for the first time, a young film maker, just in his early thirties, exhibit a bubbling flow of technical strategies, that would make each of his projects, a mega endeavor resulting in a fantasy experience of film watch. With his very first production transforming into a film of epic genre, the director of the monumental movie called ‘Gentleman’, was identified as Shankar and from then onward, the audience used to wait crazily, for each of his upcoming films, the moment the title of his next venture was announced and its inauguration held.
    Each movie of this technical wizard, has been an extravaganza in terms of entertainment content. He seems to have taken a vow to make each of his films, of unusual standard, so as to keep the audience spell bound for a couple of hours, during their inspired trip to the theatres.  Shankar’s magic wand is made up of sterner stuff and nothing less than a grandiose kaleidoscope of life’s untraveled zones, can it create in any of his production ventures. It is not just a show of flamboyance he makes. His concept of the fundamentals of high end cinema, is not just an amalgamation of the usual ingredients of an entertainment film. It is rather a precise combination of creative and administrative strategies, incorporating the unfailing logistics for an enchanting art experience linked to an innovative process. He is one film maker, who firmly believes in the richness and quality of his final presentation that would automatically make his finished product, a positively marketable commodity, by the sheer brand name Shankar. Like a popular smart phone or any other electronic piece, his films sell  by their brand name, patronized by a huge audience support,as an endorsement of the quality stuff.
    The theme base of this new wave director, has remained a shuttle march between  social  amelioration and romance.A vital social issue like denial of right to education to the deserving and meritorious among the underprivileged, was the source of inspiration for his Gentleman that created a storm in film circles ,by its novel approach in narration in every frame. The same theme was handled differently in Sivaji, starring the Super Star, projecting education as the bone of contention between philanthropy and commercialism. Both the movies,critically assessed the prevalence of deep rooted corruption in public relations that nullifies the dreams and aspirations of the eligible and the meritorious, among the underprivileged sections of society. The looming aggression of corruption in public life weighed more heavily in three of his other movies bearing titles such as Indian, Mudhalvan and Anniyan.
   The first in the list showed Kamalahasan in dual roles as father and son, the former a freedom fighter, fighting corruption in any form in free India and the latter, representing a section of  the corrupt lot. The old man stood proud as the conscience of the true Indian voice, with a burning passion to retrieve the soil from corrupt forces, after the enforced departure of the colonial rulers. The formidable old Indian, did not spare even his son from his hit list, to affirm his commitment towards eradicating the corrupt elements from his motherland. Mudhalvan celebrated a one day match, played as chief minister of a state, by a sensitive and responsible journalist [played  by action king Arjun] after accepting the challenge unwittingly thrown by the existing corrupt chief minister [Raguvaran]. The events that followed, vindicated what best could be done on a single day by the political head in rule, of a state. 
   Anniyan projected the trauma and its resultant extremism in the form of a split personality in a youth affected by routine level corruption in one’s every day walk of life. The social malaise causing psychological turbulence in an individual, was profoundly perceived and powerfully portrayed through emphatic narration by Shankar,the dynamic director and through effective character delivery by Vikram, the dedicated actor.
   One could see the same theme being used to focus different dimensions of an issue or situation, inspiring each protagonist differently, to march towards the redeeming destination through different exits, reflecting each one’s frame of mind and the diverse impact of the same issue or situation on different individuals. One became a Robinhood and a do-gooder to arrest loopholes in the system [Gentleman]; the other's intolerance to corruption made him deliver equal punishment to all wrong doers including his son [Indian].The third individual preferred to show an exemplary positive direction to the corrupt lobby,but in that process,had to become a manipulative politician himself in the end, for the sake of good [Mudhalvan].The last in the list showcased the psychological rift between the soft and rigorous sides of a personality resorting to the enforcement of  lynch law for cleansing the filth. [Anniyan].
     What made all these films an eventful theatre experience was the strategic blending of speed, action, music, dance, comedy and dialogue in insatiably enjoyable proportions, without letting the continuity of an energized experience sag at any point in narration.The uniqueness of Shankar as film maker, is his assurance of quality time to be spent by the audience at the theatres. Eventually, no one would ever say that any of Shankar’s films was boring at any stage.
    Romance, the other favoured subject of Shankar had its complete sway in his second film Kahdalan starring Prabu Deva and Nagma .A usual, oft repeated theme, involving sentiment and villainy, was refreshingly told with the hilarious inclusion of Vadivelu’s comedy and the passionate paternal support of S.P.Balasubramanyam, as the affectionate dad of the hero.The urban dissembling villainy of Girish Karnard and the committed forthright villainy of Raguvaran  opposed to treachery, were the other hallmarks of the movie. A.R.Rehaman's ecstatic tunes shot aesthetically in exotic locations and presented with delicate scenic blending, became the added attractions of the film. Prabu Deva proved that he could move beyond his dancing stuff and perform a romantic role, with relevant emotional appeal. It was Shankar who could think of adding juvenile gusto to romance, with a gorgeous style in presentation.
   Two other movies Boys and Jeans spoke of the electrifying nature of love .The former, in an attempt to tap new budding talents, dwelt upon the vagaries of teen age love and told categorically, how best adolescent vigour could be channelized positively, if right minds and the spirit of goodwill led them. The latter pictured delicately, the subtle intrusion of romance in a story, dealing with the psychological predicament of twins. In terms of star value, the latter included great talents like Prashanth and Aiswarya Roy. The sub plot in the form of a flash back concerning Nasser in twin roles, became another value addition to the story line, with Radhika playing a brief, but very powerful role as the virago wife of one of the Naaser-twins.
    Probability of abuse of technology, promoted by a figment of imagination, formed the base for the evolution of story line of Enthiran. In a world living at the beck and call of electronic governance, it became refreshing to think of electronic inventions like robots usurping human emotions, such as love and hatred and it made us shudder at the thought of possible ruins they might lead to. Enthiran was a colossal attempt at utilizing electronic  support systems  towards exposing the dangers of the abuse of  electronic  technology. The super star in dual roles, as a scientist and his invented electronic prototype gave an astounding performance, particularly, in the character of robotic villain, maintaining the energy levels of his early years, when he was doing an amazing round as a self styled big screen villain. In terms of enormous technical exuberance, Enthiran was in no way inferior to the most famous English film Terminator. The film was certainly a technical blockbuster vindicating the strategic smartness of Shankar. 
   Nanban the latest Tamil remake of Three Idiots,a highly rated Hindi hit, was a clean satire on the misconceived notions of higher education perpetuated by those, who carry the onus of disseminating knowledge and information. Shankar inducted the proven talents of Vijay and Sathyaraj, for demonstrating his capacity to narrate a story on a different line without his usual and popular strategies of film making, dominated mostly by mega events interwoven to the action segment.Besides directing ten movies,Shankar's production house has the credit of releasing the national award winning film Veyil. The other films like Kaadhal, Kalloori, Imsai Arasan Irubathu Moonraam Pulikesi,and Eeeram were all made up of high quality, speaking greatly of Shankar's production unit. A three time award winner from the State of Tamil Nadu for directing films like Gentleman,Kadhalan and Anniyan, definitely deserves a special place in the hearts of the audience, for his fantastic flair for regularly giving hits of specialty. 
    An analysis of Shankar's film titles shows that excepting Sivaji, seven of them have taken 'N'as the last letter{Gentleman,Kadhalan,Indian,Mudhalvan,Anniyan,Endhiran and Nanban].
and the other two titles end in letter 'S' as Jeans and Boys.We  do not know if this is just an accidental occurrence or a deliberate choice.A careful  and continuous assessment of Shankar films would unveil his vast expanse of strategic canvas spreading its dish antenna of imagination, intelligence, innovation and logistics management, preempting waste in any move, so that the quality of the end product is precisely ensured before it reaches the consumers. Shankar, the strategic stalwart is one who makes sure that what is conceived is delivered in perfect form, through a standard process of programmed evolution.

No comments:

Post a Comment