Monday, March 7, 2016

Kalabhavan Mani, The Robust Face of Malayalam Cinema.



      Stout he was; stouter were his gesticulations,and louder his articulations.Physically well built, emotionally ever with in frame,Kalabhavan Mani was wonderfully impressive in displaying his body language and comprehensive dynamics of acting,From the level of an ordinary auto driver he grew by leaps and bounds as an actor of great merit doing about two hundred films with in two decades.It works out into an average of eight films a month.This means he had a very busy schedule of call sheets.Interestingly his first role was also that of an auto rickshaw driver for the film Aksharam.
    Like M.R.Radha in Tamil Kalabhavan Mani was an all rounder excelling in comedy, character and villain roles with a distinct mould, stamping an identity that was unique and memorably commanding But Radha's extraordinary voice character and Mani's giant size physique became the clear marks of differentiation between these  two mighty actors of different times.Both were known for their higher levels of decibels in dialogue delivery.Both were ebullient at mocking at their fellow characters with their, at times obnoxious, body movements and emphatic utterances of certain specific words, in their dialogue format.Beyond all this, an innate flair for mimicry  and a felicitous talent for singing folk songs were the special assets of Mani.
     Mani comfortably shared screen space between the two mega stars Mammootty and Mohanlal of Malayalam cinema.His special entries with Mohanlal were Aaraam Thamburaan, Naattu Rajavu, Chotta Mumbai, Mambazhakkaalam, Balettan and Narasimham,Some of his popular  Mammootty films were Valliettan, Pattaalam,Sethurama Aiyar CBI, Nasrani and Maya Bazaar.His role in Chekavar with Indrajit as hero,needs a special mention.A few films like Ravanan,Ben Jonson, Abraham Lincoln and Loganathan IAS in which Mani played leading roles, will ever stand to his credit.Above all, he is one among the few Malayalam actors who won National as well as State awards at the very early spell of his career, for his excellent role delivery in the film Vasanthiyum Laksmiyum Pinne Gnaanum.As a blind man, he made his character live in the memory of the audience for quite long. This movie was later remade in Tamil as 'Kasi' with Vikram playing the role of Mani.
      Tamil Cinema too,owes a great deal, to this actor of tremendous potential.As a character actor, he joined the company of Sarathkumar to evoke the spirit of formidable and fine friendship, for the great action film Yei.As a villain with his mimicry expertise, it was a grand show Mani made, in Saran's Gemini.He was a perfect foil for the hero Vikram in that film. Saran fully utilized Mani's mimicry capacity, in making animal sounds, including those of a serpent and it added to the success formula of that film.Saran once again inducted Mani for his other film 'Jay Jay',starring Madhavan.Mani has acted with all the leading heroes in Tamil and his last in this category,was with Kamalahasan for the film Papanasam,a remake of the grand Malayalam thriller Drishyam.Here,Kalabhavan Mani repeated the role of Kalabhavan Shajon in Drishyam.
    The other Tamil heroes with whom Mani had acted were Soorya{Vel and Aaru} Vijay,{Pudhiya Geedhai,another memorable role for Mani,in Tamil}Simbu {Kuthu}Srikanth,{Bose} VIjayakanth {Vaanchinathan and Thennavan} and Rajinikanth for a cameo in Enthiran.The fact that Mani did not hesitate to deliver Tamil dialogues, himself, without opting for a dubbing course, proved his level of confidence in his voice clarity and accent accuracy in a language that was not his mother tongue.
    Force and vigor were the special trademarks of Mani's acting.That is why his performance was more penetrating in villain and character roles, than in comedy characters.It was a stable and robust demonstration in acting that Kalabhavan Mani ever carried on.Truly, his sudden death has created an unmanageable vacuum ,both for Malayalam and Tamil Cinema.The loss will be heavier for the Malayalam movie lovers.Whether his sudden death is natural or unnatural,it a clear fact that Mani was a natural actor, always standing up as the robust face of Malayalam Cinema.It is really unfortunate that like Murali and Cochin Haneeffa,the other two sterling actors of Malayalam Cinema,Mani too died a premature death.  

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