Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Smart Major of Tamil Cinema.


       There are a few highly esteemed actors of Tamil Cinema, known specially for their impeccable and forceful dialogue delivery.Among the heroes, no one has so far replaced Chevalier Sivaji Ganesan, in this regard.But among character actors, it was actor Sundarajan popularly known as Major Sundarajan, who could effortlessly occupy that prestigious position of an actor capable of delivering dialogues with utmost clarity,power and enormous reach.One could say without any trace of exaggeration, that it was Major Sundarajan who came closer to Sivaji Ganesan as a mighty performer both on stage and on screen.The other known fact is that it was that immortal hero who remained as the soul mate of Sundarajan.
       Sundarajan would have started his career with T.M.Soundarajan's Pattinathaar and become popular with his noticeable performance in Server Sundaram. But the proud prefix 'Major'that adorned his name after his much talked about stage play Major Chandrakanth{A play of the eminent director K.Balachander which was later made into an unforgettable film,by him}that put him firmly on the thespian journey, destined to go on for long, with merit and grandeur.Major Sundarajan must have felt immensely grateful at least to two people in the Tamil Film industry.One was his actor model Sivaji Ganesan and the other was the most dynamic film maker K.Balachander.
    Nearly one third of the Major's films would have been with Sivaji Ganesan. Of these, the most memorable and the closest to the hearts of the ardent fans of Sivaji Ganesan were, Gnana Oli, Ethiroli,Uyarndha Manithan,Gowravam, Thangapadhakkam,Kalthoon,Unakkaaga Naan, Dr.Siva, Engirundho Vandhaal,Vasantha Maaligai and Avanthaan Manithan.In Ethiroli he appeared as a blackmailer of Sivaji Ganean and proved his mettle and capacity for nagging the hero, to the extent of pushing his victim to the edge of frustration. In Gnana Oli, Sundarajan played the role of a cop and bosom friend of the hero, a vengeful murderer, escaping arrest by the police.It showed Sundarajan beautifully reflecting the sentiments of friendship and a sense of duty with a clear balance of mind.In Uyarndha Manidhan, Sivaji and Sundarajan were again shown as friends from childhood,who would meet later to cherish their childhood days in retrospect.People would have hardly forgotten the eternal number 'Andha Naal Gnabagam Nenjile Vandhadhe' that gloated over a grand model of friendship between them two.In Unakkaaga Naan,the major played the role of a manipulative capitalist father of Sivaji Ganesan, demonstrating his capacity for performing a scheming,self-centred business man.
    His other films with that mighty star include, Raja,Anbaithedi,Thiagi,Sangili,Dr.Siva Engal Thanga Raja,Padugappu and Simma Soppanam.Their team spirit in films,was in fact firmly based on a sentimental foundation, with emotions of friendship and family spirit pouring fourth like a flooding waterfall. The duo, successfully carried on an era of highly dramatic human relationship in celluloid form and exuberantly fixed their performing gusto, in the minds of the audience. No two actors would have so cleanly swept human emotions, with such invincible theatrical thrust, as these two epoch-making individuals. It was a historic association between two actors and they definitely created history of many kinds. 
   Director K.Balachander's success as film maker, mainly reflected his rare acumen in spotting out right talents and mould them in the fittest form, so as to transform his chosen men and women, into remarkable artists of stuff and merit.Not all could fulfill his expectations and live up to his yardsticks and norms of film making.But those who came under his creative scanner, did fulfill his expectations and lived up to his dreams and aspirations.Two great actors who fall in this category were, Nagesh and Major Sundarajan.The trio[the two actors and their passionate director] made many success stories like Major Chandrakanth, Naanal, Neerkumizhi,Edhir Neechal,Navagraham and the ever watchable Baamaa Vijayam. Major Sundarajan consistently enjoyed a similar team spirit with Nagesh as he had with Sivaji Ganesan.
    Major Sundarajan was compact both as a character actor and villain.Though he always excelled in character roles,as a villain he made a singular mark, in films like Naanal,Enna Mudalaali Sowkyama, Billa and Andha Oru Nimidam. Among the production houses,big banners like the AVM Pictures, Devar Films and Sujatha Cine Arts, quite often inducted this highly talented actor for meaty roles.Like many other actors who were closer to Sivaji Ganesan,Sundarajan also did not frequently share screen space with MGR.But his roles in MGR films like Rickshakaaran and Thedivandha Mappillai,need a special mention.Among the next generation actors,Sundarajan was comfortable with both Rajinikanth and Kamalahasan.
    Before I conclude,it must be stated here that Major Sundarajan's film career was prefabricated by many dramas and stage shows and in this respect he truly belongs to the line of great actors like the TKS brothers,S.V.Sahasranamam,V.S.Raghavan and R.S.Manohar. One could clearly see the impact of the stage on the screen, in the form of  clear pass over of dialogues and body language from live shows to celluloid formulations.Sundarajan definitely belonged to the tribe of dedicated performers and he rightly deserves a place in the line of grand masters like V.K.Ramasamy, S.V.Rengarao, T.S.Balaiah S.V.Subbiah and M.R.Radha.

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