Film directors of the action genre are of different kinds.Tamil film industry has the singular pride of having enrolled and patronized a galaxy of men, in making action films.Starting from P.Neelakandan, M.A.Thirumumugam T.R.Sundaram, and A.Jaganathan,the list will go unending. Modern Tamil cinema has been enriched by astute action film makers like Shankar, Lingusamy, P.Vasu,A.R Murugadoss and many others.Of these Shankar has established a unique position as the most technically savvy director.But there is one action film maker who proved to be distinct in his approach to the action genre, through subtle touches in narration along with a racy focus on the vital segments of an action film such as romance,crime and social justice.It is K.Subash,who breathed his last yesterday, in his mid fifties.
Starting with his moderately reviewed Kaliyugam released in 1988,K.Subash has made about fifteen Tamil films.The other notable fact is that he wrote the story for five Hindi films of which the most popular Chennai Express is also one.His last film was 1,2,3 pictured on a lighter vein, depicting the interesting vagaries of three physically impaired guys, falling in love with the same girl.The best two films of Subash were Bramma,starring Sathyaraj and Banupriya and Chatriyan with Vijayakanth and Banupriya. These two films could be called big action bonanzas, keeping completely intact,the gripping factors of speed, tempo and vigor in narration from the beginning till the end.
While the thriller effect was more in Bramma, the toughness and devil may care attitude of the hero was an impressive feature of Chatriyan. Both carried the aesthetic components in narration significantly enriched by delicate touches of romance and the grandeur of music. Kushbu remained as an enchanting addition to Bramma, Revathi was a symbol of piety and submissive womanhood in Chatriyan. In both the films Banupriya gracefully contributed to the over all visual grandeur. Vijayakumar was a sweet tongued villain in Bramma and an unflinching police officer in Chatriyan. Thilagan remains memorable as the crude and devilish Annachi of Chatriyan. Both Satyaraj and Vijayanth took their respective films to highly creditable levels by their commanding grip of their character potential standing up in spirit, as the incarnation of bravery. Subash needs a special pat for narrating these two action films with well knit dynamism and dauntlessness in character evolution and contextual validity.These two incomparable films will always stand to his credit.
Pangali was another Sathyaraj film directed by Subash. Here too Banupriya was paired with the hero.But in this film which was a revenge drama, Satyaraj played dual roles.Napoleon played the ruthless villain, keeping his nephew in a cave with guardian Vijayakumar, whose tongue the villain did not hesitate to slash.Some of the scenes in the movie reminded the audience of a few happenings in the MGR blockbuster Adimai Penn.The film went in for mixed reviews.However the Sathyaraj and Goundamani team did not fail to provide their usual cheeky side of humor.
Subash has worked with leading heroes like Prabu,Satyaraj,Vijayakant,Ajith Parthiban and Prabu Deva. He needs a special acknowledgement for showing Raguvaran in two totally diagonal dimensions, as the meekest lawyer in Kaliyugam and the most menacing villain Masilamani, in Abimanyu. Similarly Parthiban was shown as an aggressive youth with an innate vengeance, to kill his devilish father Raguvaran in Abimanyu and as an extremely astute guy, outsmarting his wicked friend Ranjith in Sabash. The word sabash means "well done!" .At the end of the film Sabash, one could say 'well done!' not only to Parthiban but also to director Subash for cleverly contriving the course of events in a tricky story line.Both Abhimanyu and Sabash are two special films of the action genre with elements of crime and justice carried on in two different ways.
Prabudeva has the privilege of being inducted in three of the films of Subash.There was a negative undercurrent running through all the three films. Poverty,social neglect,anguish of love and its related disappointment and the usual criminal element,dominated in the films Ninaivirukkumvarai and Ezhaiyin Sirippil. The third film 1,2,3 was both a farce and a silent tale of pain ably withstood by the three differently powered youth. Keerthi Reddy was fascinatingly compact in Ninaivirukkumvarai and Roja added both glamour and grace to Ezhaiyin Sirippil. Jyothika adeptly handled the three men with dignity and grace. Uthama Purushan the other film of Subash, was romance cum family drama. Subash was perhaps influenced by the memories of L.V.Prasad's great film Iruvar Ullam starring Sivaji Ganesan and Sarojadevi, in making the film Uthama Purushan with Prabhu Ganesan and Amala. This moderate film carried reverberating memories of the former.
Some of the other films of Subash were Ajith's Pavithra and the multi star movie Suyamvaram.
It is really a sad thing that a film maker of merit died of an organ failure.The fact that as the son of Krishnan,the first part of the Director duo Krishnan Panju, K.Subash remained as a highly talented film maker and his films like Chatriyan,Bramma,Abhimanyu,Sabash,Kaliyugam and Ezhaiyin Sirippil will perpetually celebrate his memories, both as an action film maker and a director with a perfect understanding of the vital parameters of film making, aimed at entertaining the audience .In doing this, he had always been genuine in the sense, that he never resorted to needless moralizing, by raising the voice of reform or reorganization.It was his natural and modest handling of the action genre, with a precise perception of romance and sentiment, that came in handy for his narration of stories, events and characters.In other words, he was ever a self confident film maker, without sound and fury.