Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Theme of Innocence, in Tamil Films


     At the outset, it should be mentioned here that the present article will not focus on the legal or moral interpretation of the word ‘innocence’ as freedom from guilt/crime/sin. Nor will it lead to the other explanation of the word as chastity. This article will confine to the meaning of innocence as simplicity and freedom from guile and cunning to the extent of not being worldly wise or sophisticated.It is a kind of naive attitude and character reflecting a state of selflessness and sacrificing mindset. At a time when goodness was the most celebrated virtue, film makers were preoccupied with the theme of innocence as  their preferred vehicle for reaching the destination of goodness.
   What matters more for the emphatic presentation of innocence is the impressive evolution of sterling characters, for making the right appeal of a rare, noble quality. Characters who become the embodiment of innocence, create a lasting impact in the minds of the audience. However, it is the actor’s ability to fit perfectly into a character of innocence, that creates a proper sense of acceptability and popular remembrance. Some of the great, actors as heroes and heroines, have beautifully adorned the portal of innocence with their flawless looks and fairness of delivery.
   Who can think of an actor other than the stalwart Sivaji Ganesan, to represent innocence in its totality? Sivaji who used to live any character that came in his way, became the right symbol of innocence in quite a few films of which Padikkadha Medhai and Raman Ethanai Ramanadi top the list. Directors A.Bhimsingh and P.Madhavan who were the regular makers of Sivaji movies would have perhaps thought that no other actor would truly replicate innocence in a character like Renga in the former and as Saapaattu Raman in the latter. Sivaji’s exact body language, dialogue delivery and perception of innocence, made the two characters reach a state of immortality in the celebration of innocence.The other innocent character that Sivaji played blending a sweet mix of cheekiness, was in the film Bale Pandia, in which he played three roles, as innocent Pandia with a passion for suicide,as a street rowdy with greed for money and as a henpecked scientist with a thirst for knowledge.The only movie that showcased MGR in a potential portrayal of innocence was, Engaveetu Pilaai in which his innocence in one of the dual characters, made him become a pathetic victim in the hands of his brutal brother-in-law,played by M.N.Nambiyar.  
   The other heroes who magnificently spearheaded the gospel of innocence are Rajinikanth and Kamalahasan. It was a historic demonstration of innocence by Kamalahasan as Sappaani, in Padhinaaru Vayadhinile that marked Barathi Raja’s passionate entry into Tamil Cinema. The film made a superb show of self surrendering attitude, that Kamal carried on in that film endearing himself to every body as a gullible, naive youth, bearing a child-like temperament. Kamal later on exhibited an impressive show of innocence in K.Viswanath's Sippikkul Muthu.
   [ Late ] Rajasekar who took the sole credit for discovering the latent sense of humour in Rajinikanth, came out with repeated portrayal of innocence, through the Superstar, in his famous films like Thambikku Endha Ooru, Padikkadhavan and Dharmadurai. Unlike the first in the list,the other two movies reminded every one, of Sivaji’s selfless incorporation of innocence in Padikkadha Medhai. The innocence characterized by Rajini, seems to be closer to our hearts, because it borders more on the lighter side of life, slowly getting transformed into a serious grooming process, through frequent shocks and setbacks, experienced as a life learning manual. Whereas,Kamal as Sappaani belonged more to the rural block of men, with their innocence rooted to the soil.
   There were a few movies showcasing feminine innocence too. K.S.Gopalakrishnan’s Kai Kodhutha Dheivam subtly narrated how a woman’s innocent nature could be exploited and endangered towards causing the unfortunate death of the individual. The worst part of it was, the cruel consequence of innocence being painted with disgraceful social assumptions, that would transform personal nobility into a  family stigma. Savithri personified innocence in that film and moved the hearts of the audience through a tragic and cathartic culmination of events. K.S.Gopalakrishnan’s exemplary handling of the theme, Savithri’s brilliant acting and M.R.Radha’s infallible villainy made the film create an indelible impression of innocence, as a supreme human trait. The other noted film crystallizing the core of innocence was, Vegulipen starring Vennira Aadai Nirmala. This film was an earnest enactment of a drama of innocence coupled with immaturity, pinpointing the probability of physical threats that a girl would face, if she was vested with innocence without the inherent perception of life’s realities.
   Either due to want of space or absence of memory, only a few samples have been shown here to vindicate Tamil Film makers’ quest for establishing innocence as the most uncommon human virtue. At a time when technology is taking mankind to newer directions and never- thought-of destinations, most of the positive traits of human life have taken the backseat today. There is a brain wave in all spheres of life and super intelligence is becoming a novel imperialistic force, controlling each one’s routine one way or the other. Man needs more time to negotiate with his life plans, which have become more complicated and intricate than ever. Human brain has to manipulate more than to emote or think. In the hurried course of living, the other side of the brain, governing nobler emotions and core values of life, has been either suspended or laid up with a terminal disorder. The competitive march towards meeting material targets, has wisely rejected the exits leading to positive attainment of happiness, through selflessness or self- defined goals of goodness, as the essence of living.


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