Tamil films of the last century were by and large known for strong story base and neat narration. Characters were part of the events and there was perfect clarity and focus of all interlinking factors of film making.It was not that all films released then, made an exemplary mark.But there were many film directors who knew their job and wanted to carry on their creative magnificence to the easy access and perception of the audience.This blog has already given meaningful coverage to quite a few directors who made Tamil film industry stand up and get noticed by the all India film fora.In this list there comes the most frequently recognized and rightly understood film maker P.Madhavan. He was another celebrated director of the Tamil film field,in the line of other prominent faces like A.Bhimsingh,Krishnan Panju, A.P.Nagarajan K.S.Gopalakrishnan and K.Balachander.
Madhavan's first entry Mani Osai was a low profile movie with Kalyankumar donning the role of hero.It was the sad story of a hunchback son, abandoned by his ruthless father,played by M.R.Radha. Perhaps the gloomy side of the film failed to reach the audience in spite of catchy narration and beautiful songs.The next two films of P.Madhavan were with the two topmost heroes of the day, namely Sivaji Ganesan and MGR and the films were Annai Illam and Dheivathai. Though Annai Illam was a popular hit,Dheivathai became a block buster with the focus on mother sentiment a little more intensified, than in the former.The dialogues of K.Balachander and the heart throbbing music of Viswanathan Ramamurthy coupled with the charismatic role play of MGR took Dheivathai to its deserving success.P.Madhavan's next film Neelavanam also had Sivaji Ganesan as hero and it was the same K.Balachander who wrote the dialogues for this films too. Kannadasan's lyrics with the music of the duo Viswanathan Ramamurthy made an impressive show.All these three films earned a prestigious place for Madhavan,in Tamil Cinema.
Like A.Bhimsingh and A.C.ThirulokChandar,P.Madhavan also became a Sivaji favourite. While A.Bhimsingh did not direct a single film of MGR,Thirulokchandar and Madhavan did only one film each, with that mass hero. P.Madhavan came out with mind blowing films starring Sivaji Ganesan such as Gnana Oli,Enga Oor Raja,Raman Ethanai Ramanadi,Thanga Padhakkam, Vietnaam Veedu, Pattikkaadaa Pattanamaa and Rajapart Rengadurai.Of these Raman Ethanai Ramanadi and Pattikkaaddaa Pattanamaa won the national award for being best feature films. Though the other films did not get an award,all of them were masterpieces of the Madhavan-Ganesan combine and were remarkable shows of brilliant narration and thespian skill.
It was the peak period of Sivaji Ganesan's acting career and P.Madhavan made the best use of the unique acting calibre of the Chevalier.While some of their later movies like Paattum Bharadhamum, Manidhanum Dheivamaagalaam and Mannavan Vandhanadi were also very popular films, others like Chitra Pournami, Thenum Paalum and Hitler Umanath were not that impressive in spite of the fact that Sivaji Ganesan performed his roles with his calculated reach and dedicated acting.As team mates P.Madhavan and Sivaji Ganesan definitely showed an equally dynamic and combined demonstration of creative strength as exhibited by A. Bhimsingh and A. C. Thirulokchandar with Sivaji Ganesan. The only difference is P. Madhavan did not do any films with AVM Pictures.
Some of the memorable high quality films of P.Madhavan with other heroes were, Maanikka Thottil with Gemini Ganesan, Mukurtha Naal and Penne Nee Vaazhga with Jai Shankar, Sabadham with Ravichandran and Ponnukku Thanga Manasu and Yenippadigal with Sivakumar,There were two special films on childhood fantasy and plight known for poignant portrayal of emotions involving women and children.They were Kuzhaindhakkaaga and Kanne Paappaa. All these non-Sivajiganesan films were also significantly popular with the audience, particularly among women film viewers. P.Madhavan did two films with Rajinikanth at the starting spell of the Super star's career.Both the films En Kelvikenna Badhil and Sankar Saleen Simon were not received well.He also did a film with Vijayakanth and that was Sathiyam Neeye.
Unlike A.Bhimsingh who specialized on family dramas and A.C.Thirulokchandar who had an inbuilt flair for portraying the sentimental side of life,P.Madhavan had the capacity to delineate a variety of themes with power and pep so as to cater to the larger expectations of the audience.He could adeptly deal with the theme of criminality with hidden and open narrative norms, in films like Gnana Oli, Thanga Padhakkam,Sabadham and Mukurthanaal His realistic and intelligent narration of family emotions, as seen in Vietnaam Veedu, Pattikkaadaa Pattanamaa and Thanga Padhakkam put him on an upscale as a film maker.He excelled the same way, in making romantic tales like Raman Ethanai Ramanadi and Enippadigal, sibling tales like Muhoortha Naal and Rajapart Renga Dhurai,and stories based on stage and film actors in films such as Raman Ethanai Ramanadi,Yeni Padigal,Rajapart Rengadhurai and Paattum Bharadhamum.
P.Madhavan had worked with all the popular actresses of the day and he always made a distinct use of their talents to the extent of making the role of women as much a dynamic and telling feature, as that of men.Special credit must be given in this regard, to the brilliant role performance of Padmini in Vietnaam Veedu, K.R.Vijaya in Sabadham, Raman Ethanai Ramanadi and Thanga Padhakkam, Jeyalalitha in Pattikkaadaa Pattanamaa and Shoba in Eni Padigal.
Besides these, he also celebrated and glorified womanhood in movies like Penne Nee Vaazhga Ponnukku Thanga Manasu, Kanne Pappaa and Kuzhandhaikkaaga.It is his creative versatility and balanced approach to gender perceptions, that afforded Madhavan the place of a distinct film maker.All his films were worthy of a decent family watch.All his films were memorable, in the sense that each one could be treasured as a special piece, as if each one came from a different film maker.What I mean here is that the audience could always see a different Madhavan, in each of his movies.It is this variety in individuality, that made P.Madhavan a specially memorable film maker with the wholesome involvement of a master craftsman.