Friday, October 4, 2013

The Unswerving Actor- Producer.{ Updated }














      Tamil cinema has seen some actors directing films and many directors like Manivannan, Manobala, Sundar.C , R.Sundarajan  Ramesh Kanna and J.Surya becoming permanent actors after directing quite a few films.Men like K.Bagyaraj and R.Parthiban took up the multiple tasks of film making including acting.The recent addition in this list is the ace director J.Mahendran who did a negative role in Vijay's latest film Theri. But there was a charming actor who became a mega film producer making remakes of hits from other languages like Hindi, Malayalam and Telugu.It was K. Balaji who made a successful stint as a small time hero and later as a villain and character actor.While P.S.Veerappa the last century's famous villain actor made quite a few highly talked about films like Aananda Jothi, Aalayamani,Aandavan Kattalai,Iru Duruvam Saatchi and Vetri, K.Balaji's entries were many. Balaji established himself as much as a film producer as an actor.
     Some of the early roles that Balaji did with charm and style were for films like Paanai Pidithaval Bhagyasaali and Sagodhari. In fact Balaji was more appealing in Casanova kind of roles that he performed with sweetness and undoubted hypocrisy.Films like Policekaaran Magal, Paasam, Anbukkarangal and En Kadamai portrayed him either as a confirmed womanizer or as a helpless guy forced to leave women of his choice ,in trouble under unforeseen circumstances.As a self centered individual his character display was perfectly convincing in Sivaji Ganesan films like En Thambi, Engirundho Vandhaal,Vasantha Maaligai and the most unforgettable Padithaal Mattum Podhumaa. These roles with negative shades proved to be effective because of the amount of discomfort and anguish it caused to the protagonist.While he was a self styled baddie in films such as Enga Maamaa and Pattanathil Bootham,he would be one among the prime suspects in thriller films like Adhe Kangal.
    What was special about K.Balaji was the extraordinary spirit of understanding and friendship that he continued to maintain with Sivaji Ganesan.It was this genuine rapport and healthy intimacy that helped the duo, work together successfully for a lasting period resulting in the outcome of great films like Raja,Thangai,Thirudan,En Thambi,En Magan,Engirundho Vandhaal, Needhi, Thiagam, Deepam, Needhipadhi,Unakkaaga Naan Nalladhoru Kudumbam  Vidudhalai and Vaazhkai.All these films were from Balaji's Sujatha Cine Arts Production house and all were remakes of  Hindi Malayalam and Telugu films. Balaji was one among the film personalities who had high regard for the Chevalier .In some of the films Balaji would be either play the younger sibling [En Thambi and Raja}or the elder sibling {Engirundho Vandhaal and Vasantha Maaligai}.So close was their association that it lasted for more than two decades.
     After Sivaji Ganesan, Balaji had worked with the next generation heroes like the Super Star { Billa, Thee,and Viduthalai}Kamalahasan{Mangammaa Sabadham,Savaal ,Sattam and Vaazhve Maayam} Sathyaraj {Makkal En Pakkam} and Mohan {Vidhi}.Balaji had also worked with director actor K.Bagyaraj by inducting him as hero in Rathathin Rathame which was a remake of the Hindi super hit film Mr.India.The most important fact is that Balaji never worked with MGR under his two banners of film production.His frequent heroines were K.R.Vijaya J.Jeyalalitha  and Sripriya besides a brief inclusion of actresses like Sridevi,Madhavi,Poornima Jeyaram and Meenakshi Seshadri.
    What was special about Balaji was the presence of two production houses called Sujatha Cine Arts and Suresh Balaji Combines.His core principle of film making was to entertain the audience.For this purpose he resorted to the route of already tested film skits that became mega hits in other languages. Remaking of existing stories in other languages seemed to him to be the easiest way to hit the success mark.He did this meticulously without letting down either the action segment or the entertainment component of the original version.The latest film from K.Balaji's production house was Ajith's Kireedom, released after the giant film maker's death.
    Balaji could be called the king of remakes and most often his ventures did not back fire.The heroes of the day particularly Sivaji Ganesan,Rajini Kanth and Kamalahasan ensured the repeat of the success feel of the original.In each of his films Balaji made a sentimental appearance taking up a minor or meaty role.The producer always carried the spirit of acting with him because Balaji was basically an actor and then only a producer.Most of his films ran for one hundred days. A majority of his Sivaji films were great shows.An unusual film like Vidhi became a silver jubilee hit.As a film maker Balaji ever remained undeterred and strong willed. Audience used to wait for his films as they would wait for a movie from the AVM banner or Sathya Movies Film house or one from the Devar films circuit.The indisputable truth was that, this unswerving actor turned producer never failed to satisfy the audience expectation in terms of quality of sum and substance.
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