Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Two Contemporary Yesses of Tamil Cinema..


     Tamil Cinema has been quite often under the influence of two predominant celebrities as actors or singers or film makers or as music directors.As far as actors are concerned it has been the case from the days of M.K.T Baghavadhar/P.U.Chinnappaa and MGR/Sivaji Ganesan down to the present scenario of Vijay and Ajit. Among singers such a distinct duality prevailed only between T.M.Soundarjan and Sirkazhi Govindarajan. Similarly among music directors M.S.Viswanathan and K.V.Mahadhevan alone held a remarkable distinction as powerful music makers of a single period.However among film makers we had A.Bhimsingh and the duo Krishnan Panju followed by pairs of directors like P.Madhavan/A.C Thirilokchandar, K.S.Gopalakrishnan/K.Balachander,Balu Mahendra/J.Mahendran, Barathraja/Bagyaraj P.Vasu/ K.S Ravikumar and so on.In this line we have another pair of upcoming dynamic film personalities who have been holding a leading place both as directors and actors.These two fairly young men with a significant stamp of individuality have periodically worked together in each other's films either by making each other's films or in acting at least in a cameo role in each other's films.They are M.Sasikumar and P.Samuthirakani who have won awards for their respective performances and keep moving the Tamil movie concept in a refreshing mould.
   P.Samuthirakani who is a bit senior by age,also entered the  film industry earlier than Sasikumar. He started grooming his creative ground realities at the golden film school of K.Balachander and also appeared in minor roles in films like Parthaale Paravasam[directed by K.B] at the beginning of the new millennium. M.Sasikumar  too began his film career in the company of directors like Bala and Ameer. But his first film Subramanyapuram produced and directed by him,became a super hit and the film had Samuthirakani playing a villain role in the most natural form. Sasikumar also played a vital role in that film which had Jai, cast as hero.With its nostalgic, retrospective story line and action sequences, belonging to the Nineteen Eighties this film of the first decade of the new millennium, created magic record of kinds, thanks to the qualitative, creative thrust of Sasikumar &co.
   For a change a little later,Samuthirakani directed the film Nadodigal in which Sasikumar played the lead role and this film proved to be the true yardstick for measuring his creative potential.This mega hit film became the talking point for the film stuff of this emerging duo with identical insight into the norms of making films by lifting them out of their artificial moorings of an exaggerated screen base.Both the films mentioned above, were award winners.In continuation of these success shows, Sasikumar produced the outstanding film Pasanga,directed by Pandiraj and this unique film also won the national award.
    It is not that Sasikumar and Samuthirakani are not at all cinematic.But their narrative parameters are within the barriers of naturalism.They never seem to overdo things, whether it is their delineation of characters as film makers, or their own way of acting in the role assigned to them.Their dialogue delivery for instance, is never over blown.They talk as ordinary people talk and reflect the real content of living.The only difference is that, Sasikumar frequently does some dance numbers in his own style and even this is not taken seriously by the viewers as any attempt at image building.
   After Naadodikal,Sasikumar produced and directed Easan in which Samuthirakani played the role of a police officer as naturally as possible.Then came Samuthirakani's Nimirndhu Nil starring Jayam Ravi in which M.Sasikumar lent his voice for dubbing.Even in the recent film Vetrivel the two actors have shared screen space.What is most common between them is their firm grasp of the soil while representing the world of Tamil cinema.
   Sasikumar's Sundara Pandian was a very popular film with mass appeal and story value.The most memorable dialogue at the end of the film goes as follows "If the person who has stabbed you is your friend,even if you have to die,you should not divulge it".Beyond the intrinsic layers of love, the film carried a vital thrust on the quality of friendship and the kind of friends one should choose in life. Sasikumar's association with Bala and Ameer, does not fail to pass on their influence on him, particularly with regard to the negative implications in human relationship, as one of the vital ingredients in his manner of story telling. One such indicator is the element of betrayal of friendship, that happens as an undercurrent both in Subramanyapuram and Sundara Pandian. The other notable entries of Sasikumar are,Kutti Puli,Poraali and Bala's Thaarai Thappattai.
    Samuthirakani has consistently established his position in poignantly portraying  character as well as villain roles with convincing merit and reliability.No one can undermine his role performance as a value oriented school teacher, in the very well filmed, but not properly received movie,Saattai. In every frame of that character one could see the genuine struggles of a  socially motivated teacher, deeply penetrating into the character formation.The beauty with Samuthirakani is that one cannot see the actor overtaking the character .On the other hand the actor gradually transforms into the character with accuracy and  perfect understanding of the purpose and genesis of the character.Similarly in performing villain characters, he can become very crude if necessary, as he does in Payum Puli as the elder brother of Vishal, or a comedy crook and a mean villain, like the one he performs in Rajini Murugan.It was with  convincing ease did he perform the character role as the father of Danush, in Velaiyillaa Pattadhaari.Samuthirakani's acting verve has earned him a special place in the Malayalam film industry also.
    How much Samuthirakani deserves his special national award, for his subdued but striking performance as a police inspector with qualms,in the award winning film Visaranai, is an obvious and veritable reality. Vetrimaran of course deserves great recognition for narrating a ticklish story line, dealing with the criminal side of a section of the police department, with utmost precision and subtlety.The climax scene which suggestively and casually reveals the killing of the accused on fabrication, along with the conscientious police inspector, by a simple audio declaration, that both the proposed killings are over,{"ரெண்டும் முடிஞ்சுது சார்"} becomes the salient feature of Vetrimaran's course of narration.But beyond all this kind of distinct pattern of filming,it is Samuthirakani's underplay of the role, that adds weight to the certainly mind blowing movie.
   Both Sasikumar and Samuthirakani seem to shoulder the onus of creating a new wave in Tamil Cinema.As contemporaries working in the field of cinema, which is under various pressures such as focus on image building, competitive and divisive tendencies,money power and video piracy,we do not know how far they will succeed in retaining their on going sheen, without getting typecast in the years to come.However, as Barathiraja and Bagyaraj turned the Tamil film industry to newer directions with their individual trademarks of creativity,the hope remains that M.Sasikumar who is rooted to a balanced mode of performance and Samuthirakani who has not only occupied the big screen but has also reached every home through his television serials like Anni and Arasi, will go a long way in updating the image of the Tamil film industry, in their own style and formula of film making and histrionics.

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