Directing films speaks of one's frame of mind as well as his creative credentials.In other words, each one expresses their passion for a line of thinking and field of programme with their innate quest for the fulfillment of their cherished and chosen goals.It is the hard core objectives of film makers, that bestow upon them, a kind of tag or identity of their own.Some choose to entertain; some choose to enlighten.Some prefer to do both.Tamil film industry has an astounding list of renowned directors like A.Bhimsingh, P.Madhavan, A.C.Thirulokchander, K.S.Gopalakrishnan, Krishnan-Panju, K.Balachander,BaluMahendra,J.Mahendran,Barathi Raja,Manirathnam and Shankar among the front liners at various times in the history of film making.Another person who would naturally and without any exaggeration join this line of film directors, is S.P.Muthuraman,an eminent face of Tamil Cinema.
S.P.Muthuraman,like J.Mahendran and [late] A.Rajasekar,is primarily a Rajini film maker. Unlike the other two,S.P.Muthuraman would have made nearly twenty five films of the superstar. He could also be called the foremost director of films from AVM Studios,the biggest and most reputed production house in South India.S.P.Muthuraman's very first film Kanimuthu Paappaa was received with great enthusiasm for its quality of presentation worthy of family watch.The movie starring R.Muthuraman and K.R.Vijaya, had a great story line and was told neatly to cater to the taste orientation of the emotionally genuine Tamil audience.In the high quality list of films directed by S.P Muthuraman, one could find some of the earliest and most decent films of Rajinikanth like Bhuvana Oru Kelvikkuri,Engeyo Kettakural and Aarilirundhu Arubathuvarai and Kamalahasan's early hits like Oru Oothaa Poo Kan Simittugiradhu and actress Sujatha's Mayanguhiraal Oru Maadhu. The last three films in the list fetched him awards from the Film Fare and from the State Govt.of Tamil Nadu.
The most significant factor of S.P.Muthuraman's films was their commercial viability.None of his films could be called a flop.On the other hand quite a number of his films like Rainikanth's Netrikkan, Murattukkalai,Nalaavanukku Nallavan, Manithan, Mr.Barath, Velaikkaran,Raja Chinna Roja, and Kamalahasan's Sagalakala Vallaban,Thoongaadhe Thambi Thoongathe and Uyarndha Ullam were great box office hits and his other movies like Kamal's Enakkul Oruvan and Per Sollum Pillai and Rajini's, Raanuva Veeran, Puthukkavidhai,Adutha Vaarisu,Paayum Puli,Adhisiapiravi,Guru Sishyan, Dharmathin Thalaivan and Pandian were fair shows on the big screen.His other films like Vijayakanth's Dharma Dhevadhai and Nallavan and the Sathyaraj starring Ulagam Pirandhadhu Enakkaaga, also rightly established the success formula of the respective heroes.
Some of the sincerely popularized themes of S.P.Muthuraman's films were family sentiment,the prevalence of goodness in individuals,the right thinking people's inherent quest for justice and the victory of the good over the evil. S.P.Muthuraman would rarely visit negative zones such as hidden crookedness and the motivated aberrations of the human psyche.He had an open approach that dealt with life's realities as he saw them and he presented what he observed with the necessary cinematic ingredients, that would positively win the audience for a compulsive watch of his movies.He has been a film maker with a healthy frame of mind and he would not pretend to be an art film maker.His yardsticks of film making have been very simple and pragmatic and like a medical practitioner whose chief concern would be to heal,this film maker's creative priority has ever been to make the viewers happy.His films would mostly be on expected lines, because he had the set parameters of action display, for the targeted audience.In this regard he was a trustworthy film maker both for the producers and for the viewers.It is this success formula that has helped him to do more number of films for one particular production banner and for one special hero.
Barring Mayanguhiraal Oru Maadhu and Nallavanukku Nallavan,almost all his films were hero-centric.Similarly,Bhuvana Oru Kelvikkuri Engeyo Kettakural,Aarilirundhu Arubadhuvarai and Nallavanukku Nallavan were perhaps some of his films that had a climax with a tragic note.He has always had an even mix of action,comedy and sentiment and that is why almost all his films reflect an all pervading gusto of entertainment.S.P.Muthuraman has beautifully brought out the humour sense in Rajinikanth in some of his films like Velaikkaran, Adhisiappiravi and Dharmathin Thalaivan.He has equally presented effectively, the sober side of the Superstar's acting in films like Bhuvana Oru Kelvikkuri, Engeyo Ketta Kural, Murattukkalai,Nallavanukku Nallavan, Mr.Barath and Manidhan. Incidentally, it should be mentioned here that S.P.Muthuraman has directed at least four films of Rajinikanth produced by the latter's mentor K.Balachander and they are Pudhu kavidhai, Netrkkan,the super star's one hundredth film Sri Ragavendra and Velaikkaran.The other film from Balachander's production house that he has directed is Enakkul Oruvan that has Kamalahasan as hero.
Variety,value assessment and volume, have been the triple assets of S.P.Muthuraman.No doubt like his namesake R.Muthuraman, who remained a busy actor at all times,he too remained as the busiest and most buoyant film maker for nearly a quarter century and the fact that the most recent super hit of the superstar,Sivaji was co-produced by S.P.Muthuraman,shows that wherever there is a ray of success sighted, he will be there to ensure the presence of victory. It is this practical foresight, that has made him a stable,steadfast and successful film maker.