Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Theme of Love in Tamil Films.

                                                  {Devadas Courtesy,The Hindu}

     Love is a concept so pregnant that it has been conceived and delivered in as many forms as the number of human beings on earth.Literature and the film media, have evolved captivating contexts of love, to cater to the tastes and aspirations of readers and film viewers.The focus has generally been on the physical,passionate,Platonic,pragmatic and personalized patterns of love.Tamil cinema from the days of its birth throes, has time and again,visited the immortal zone of love,for bestowing upon the audience, the emotional,intellectual and aesthetic thrills of love making.
    The physical side of love is perhaps, the most inevitable core of delineation of love.It has been portrayed to the extent of creating, a visual extravaganza,to capture human imagination in boundless dimensions.Directors like Barathiraja and Balu Mahendra, have been experts in the description of the physical aspect of love without vulgarity.Their sense of aesthetics in this regard, has been on an exalted plane.However, the physical fundamentals of romance,have lured the attention of many film makers,to titillate the imagination of the audience,with an over doze of sexual display and vulgarity.Besides,Casanova model of stories have quite often taken the lead, in promoting the physical context of love- making.Heroes of films like A.S.Prakasam's Pattaam Poochi, [with Kamalahasan playing the lead role] K.Balachander's Major Chandrakanth,{A.V.M.Rajan being shown as jilting, in the name of love}and Sujatha Cine Arts'Vidhi{starring Mohan as the Casanova} are just a few samples in this category.Kamalahasan played a similar role in K.Balachander's Sollathaan Ninaikirein with his famous dialogue in the climax''the last in the list is lost at last''.
     While the predominant presentation of love in Tamil Cinema,has either been passionate Platonic and pragmatic, aberrations of personalized and selfish love game, would have been witnessed here and there, in films like Sridhar's 'Policekaaran Magal'{ K.Balajee ditching his gullible girl], S.P.Muthuraman's Buvana Oru Kelvikkuri {Sivakumar as a selfish lover}and Aarilirundhu Arubadhuvarai { Sangeetha as a materialistic character,ditching the hero to further her prospects}.Sivakumar did a similar role in Saaindhadamma Saindhaadu,in which he was paired with Sridevi. J.Mahendran's Jaani showed Deepa jilting Rajinikanth for the sake of her dreams of a luxurious life. Balachander's Achamillai Achamillai and Manivannan'a Amadhippadai showcased selfish heroes leaving their women in the lurch, to promote their political ambitions.Tamil Film watchers could recall a few more movies of this category.
    What has always occupied the creative imagination is the poignant presentation of the passionate and Platonic perceptions of love.This innate human attribute will hardly be found wanting, at any point of time in human history.Starting from the days of Ambikapathi,Anarkali,Laila Majnu and Devadas,it is the painful and exalting moments of the lovers,that have gained momentum in evolving and narrating love stories.Among the films cited,Devadas became an epic love story, with late A.Nageswara Rao making a brilliant impact of the most tragic,lovelorn character.The last remembered, powerful and qualitative presentation of this kind of love story would be,Oruthalai Raagam.
     For quite long, Tamil Cinema was obsessed with family stories, with an adequate mix of romance, towards fulfilling the emotional expectations of the juvenile section among the film watchers.In between, there came amazing  films on serene love and in this list we continue to cherish in our memory,movies like Devadas,Anarkali,Ambikapathi,Annakkili,Vasantha Maaligai Oruthalai Raagam and Mudhal Mariyadhai.All these films poignantly narrated the profound layers of selfless love that would treat the person loved as much more important than their  own heartbeat because it was perhaps the feel of love that kept their heart beating.Identically, all these films culminated on a tragic note, either in one of the lovers or both, losing their lives for the sake of their profound passion for love.
    Directors like Sridhar and Vikraman discussed this vital segment of passionate love at different times in different modes.In Sridhar, love always struck one's mind as an ennobling experience resulting in a pleasurable course of sacrifice.Whereas in Vikraman's films, the element of human goodness becomes a feel good factor, making individuals rejoice in positive celebration of their unrequited love by doing the best for the ones whom they deeply loved.If in Sridhar's movies the man or woman would give up their lives for their lovers as seen in Nenjil Oer Aalayam, Nenjirukkumvarai ,Avalukkenru Oer Manam and Azhage Unnai Aaradhikkirein,in Vikraman's world, one could find the role of commonsense, in rejuvenating the entire process of love.Films of Vikraman such as Poove Unakkaaga,Unnidathil Ennai Koduthein and Unnai Ninaithu went on to speak about the amount of human goodness that would take love to newer Platonic heights in living totally for the benefit and welfare of the loved one.The unique philosophy of love as far as Vikraman is concerned, is the positive realization of peace and happiness through a pragmatic approach.Never once in his films could we see the lover turning to negative emotions while falling in love or when love misfires.The'all is well'principle becomes the base of Vikraman's love stories.
   The agony of untold love has been the central point of quite a few films like K.Balachander's Sollathaan Ninaikkirein and Thaamarai Nenjam,Robert Rajasekaran's Oruthalai Raagam, and Sivasakthi Pandian's Kaalamellaam Kaadhal Vaazhga. But Balachander has also portrayed the tormenting moments of unrequited love in Kaviyathalaivi apart from focusing on the higher side of ennobling love in Vellivizha. In his Punnagai Mannan the hero after losing his first love, accepts his new love, after a prolonged spell of hesitation and reluctance,thereby vindicating the practical, survival philosophy.This movie also put forward the theory that love could ever remain as a frequently blossoming experience.
   The practical difficulties and obstructions that thwart the passionate journey of love in the form of familial and social lobbies projecting the supremacy of religion,caste,customs and status against true love, became the main theme of the films of Barathiraja. During the Nineteen Seventies and Eighties this poetically powerful face of Tamil Cinema, gave us very many beautiful films like Padhinaaru Vayadhinile,Niram Maaraadha Pookkal,Kadalora Kavidhaigal,Alaigal Oivadhillai and Mudhal Mariyadhai, the last one becoming an extraordinarily Platonic narration of love with a fine rural background.One could also see the passion of love, passing through each one's nerve in the emotionally heavy films like Kadalora Kavidhaigal and Alaigal Oivadhillai.
   The thrills and excitements of falling in love found their valid acceptance in the love stories narrated by Manirathnam in films like Pagal Nilavu,Mouna Raagam and Alai Paayudhe.It is Manirathnam who drove the journey of love through the deeper psychological tunnels of the lovers.
Among the new generation directors,there are some who have successfully portrayed childhood friends rediscovering themselves as lovers through a casual course of introspection.Films like R.B.Choudhri'sThithikkudhe, Ezhil's Poovellam Kettuppaar and Prashanth's Piriyaadha Varam Vendum, belong to this category. Similarly during the Nineteen Eighties and Nineties, we were flooded with love films on men and women making love through letters.telephones and so on.Some even went to the extent of presenting extreme cases of lovers cutting their tongues for the sake of love.Calf love and the exuberance of falling in love were beautifully presented by Balu Mahendra, in films like Azhiyadha Kolangal and Idhu Oru Kana Kaalam.Balu Mahendra could also delve into the vagaries of men shuttling between two women in the name of love, in films like Rettai Vaal Kuruvi and Marubadiyum. But he could also portray neatly and genuinely, the immaculate width of love in Mooraam Pirai.
    Negative tendencies transforming love into a kind of obsession and mental sickness,formed the theme of films like Vijay's Priyamudan and Vishal's Chellame{in which Barath was shown as the obsessed lover}.Love taking its cues from babyhood,attracted the attention of director S.J.Soorya for developing his story line for his most successful Kushi.The ego projections between lovers preventing them from expressing their love and the tone of jealousy on account of excessive love shown either by the man or woman could be seen as the repeated themes of Tamil films on love stories.{eg; Sivaji Ganesan's Thillaanaa Mohanaambaal and Vijay's Kushi}.Sensible priorities and family dedication have also been discussed as governing principles of the pragmatic side of love in movies like Love Today,Kan Ethire Thoenrinaal, and Santhosh Subramanyan. Age at times is kept at bay when the passion of love begins to dominate.This peculiar case has been witnessed mostly as an aberration or as something natural in films like Balachander's Aboorva Raagangal and Kalki and Simbu's Vallavan. The same theme was handled with poetic felicity by Barathiraja in Mudhal Mariyadhai.
     A bird's eye  view of the love stories experienced in Tamil Cinema would vindicate the inexhaustible nature of love, as the sum and substance of human life.The infinite variety of love has always been the most intoxicating and engaging force on the makers of films surpassing the barriers of language.Consequently,each love film would be different from the other with characters and situations throwing light on a newer dimension of love.Neither the film makers nor the audience would ever be tired of this universal aspect of human life.But beyond each one's observations and interpretations of the ever interesting love stories, the fact remains that some films outlive the passage of Time, to keep lingering in our thoughts and memories, as the grandest and most valued tales of love.Some such films in Tamil are Devadas,Vasandha Maaligai,Annakkili, Oruthalai Raagam, Mudhal Mariyadahi and Kaadhal. The other fact is that the theme of love is never going to become dry at any point of time, in the process of inspiring and energizing creative imagination.


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