Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Two Monumental Films of MGR.

       'M.G.R',the magnificent three letters, are inseparable from Tamil Cinema.This is because of the charismatic appeal of the man behind these letters and the way he carried on the brilliance and dynamism of the Tamil film industry on his shoulders, for nearly four decades,with pomp style and splendour.It was MGR who made Tamil Cinema a completely commercially viable field, with its success formula well defined and financial core well established.The indisputable fact was that even if an MGR film ran only for four weeks,it would not cause any financial loss for the producer.This is how quite a few films of Sando M.M.A Chinnappadevar,survived the victory mark.M.G.R's grasp of the fundamentals of film making was always strong.Social awakening,respect for women,mother sentiment,ebullient romance,swash buckling,abundant music sense clear and bold dialogue delivery [even after the miserable incident of gunshot} and an editorial mindset, were said to be the rare traits of this celluloid prototype, who later, went on to rule Tamil Nadu, with never failing love and support from an emotionally strong Tamil society.
    Starting from Mandhirikumari and Malaikkallan,it was an unending saga of grand show, till the last spell of his films like Needhikku Thalaivanangu and Netru Inru Naalai.Most of his films could easily cross the One hundredth day of screening and several others were silver jubilee hits.Some of the outstanding hits in this regard were,Mahadevi,Alibaabaavum Naarpadhu Thirudargalum, Thaaikuppin Thaaram, Thaaisollai Thattaadhe,Dheivathaai,Periya Idathu Penn,Anbe Vaa, Nadodi Mannan Kaavalkaaran, Padahotti, Kudiyirundha Koil,Nam Naadu, Petraalthaan Pillaiyaa,Engal Thangam, Maattukkaara Velan,Adimai Penn,Kannan En Kadhalan, Oli Viallku, Rickshakaaran, Idhayakkani, Urimaikural,Naalai Namadhe, Sirithu Vaazha Vendum and Ulagam Sutrum Valiban. But there are two films that stand apart, as colossal blockbusters.Both these films created a new sensation in their success rate one running for more than a year and the other claiming an epic status besides becoming a silver jubilee hit.The two films were Enga Veettu Pillai and Aayirathil Oruvan.
    There were some significant similarities between the two films.Both the films were released in 1965.While Enga Veettu Pillai produced by Vijaya Combines' Nagireddy and Chakrabani, was the Pongal release of that year,Padmini Pictures'Aayirathil Oruvan hit the screens five months later.For both the films the distinguished duo Viswanathan&Ramamurthy did the musical score. Nambiyar was the  redeemed villain in both. Nagesh and Madhavi provided the comic relief in the two films.While Engaveettu Pillai was directed by Chanakya,Aayirathil Oruvan was B.R.Panthulu's product.
    However,the differences between the two films were many.While Engaveettu Pillai was an enchanting family drama with M.G.R doing  double roles as twins, paired with B.Sarojadevi and Rathna,Aairathil Oruvan was a fantasy tale of slaves and provincial rulers, narrating exquisitely, events relating to the thirst for freedom,the quest for power and the zest for conquering human emotions through selfless love.It is the element of nobility and undemanding love that made the hero one in a thousand.Thematic excellence and narrative grandeur raised the film to its epic status, through exotic locales, reverberating romance and exalting music.
    Both Enga Veettu Pillai and Aayirathil Oruvan were celebrations in the music of ,Viswanathan Ramamurthy who never failed in their amazing musical delivery of songs with perfect clarity of lyrics and control of instrumental wield.The song "Naan Aanaiyittaal, Adhu Nadandhuvittal"{If I order and if it happens}created waves in villages and towns alike, raising one's positive energy levels to their peak.The song was a clarion call for creating the sense of right as an essential human virtue, towards achieving self actualization and personal freedom.In the stentorian voice of T.M.Soundarajan the song made each one's nerves throb with relentless power, to crush the evil forces and promote justice.The same way the song "Adho Andha Paravaipola Vaazhavendum"{We should live like the birds there}from Aayirathil Oruvan, expressed vigorously the collective cry for freedom from slavery.All the songs from both the films became very popular through out Tamil Nadu and in this regard,Aayirathil Oruvan would have created greater records than Enga Veettu Pillai. But the one song "Naan Aanaiyittal"would have surpassed all the songs of both the movies.
    Regarding the cast and the role performance of the actors,a special mention has to be made about the casual performance of S.V.Renga Rao in Enga Veettu Pillai, as the father of B.Sarojadevi one of the two heroines. K.AThangavelu as the erring accountant of M.N.Nambiyar and as an old man trying to protect his daughter from the ever stalking Nagesh,would ever stay remembered.Though M.N.Nambiyar was there in both the films,his scope for performance was more meaningful in Enga Veetu Pillai and he made effective use of the space given to him.MGR was of course a little more enchanting in Aairathil Oruvan but his performance in Enga Veettu Pillai simply stole the hearts of men, women and children alike.If the scene showing him being whipped by M.N.Nambiyar in the latter,drew tears from his hard core fans,the other scene showing him lashing Nambiyar back, was the most cheering one, making the whole audience clap and applaud.While the hero in Enga Veettu Pillai redeemed his erring brother in law through both innocence and vigorous resistance,he did a hat trick in Aayirathil Oruvan by redeeming every baddie through a consistent show of nobility,kindness and magnanimity.
    The romantic element in both the films was greatly appealing.However Aayirathil Oruvan was a captivating show of romance with J.Jeyalalitha's grace and charm adding to its fascinating side.On the whole both were mega entertainers, living up to the cinematic aspirations of an eternal mass hero like MGR fulfilling the passionate desire of the Tamil audience for watching an MGR film.These two films not only exceeded the profit margin of a normal MGR film, but also remained as the most frequently watched films of MGR.The success factor of these films was rather unique and no doubt Aayirathil Oruvan title was given to a 2010 film, starring Karthik Sivakumar and the song Naan Aanaiyittaal became the title of another MGR film.There came, also a digital version of Aayirathil Oruvan, reflecting the zeal of the Tamil film world to stay stuck to the film.All these historic facts make Enga Veettu Pillai and Aayirathil Oruvan the two monumental films of MGR.

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