Friday, June 2, 2017

Kalaignar's Contribution to Tamil Cinema.

      Politics and Tamil Cinema became inseparable, ever since the inception of the Dravidian Movement in Tamil Nadu.Rocking  cry for Social Justice and relentless struggle against caste orientation and superstition, were the fundamentals of the Dravidian upheaval and it took the centre stage on the big screen, after having had a significant stint as street shows and stage plays.Tamil language which was simultaneously undergoing a structural revolution in sound and script, played a key role in taking the core of Dravidian ideology closer to the Tamil society, which was  under the clutches of vested interests, even after the departure of the colonial forces.It was under these circumstances,Dravidian leaders like Mr. C.N.Annadurai and Mr.M. Karunanidhi,affectionately called Anna and Kalaignar, respectively, by the Tamil fraternity, focused their attention on Tamil Cinema, purely with the intention of propagating the legacy of Tamil culture and language.Unlike Anna who had to restrict his love for Tamil Cinema on account of his greater political priorities,Kalaignar pragmatically bifurcated his time between politics and films and expanded his creative width,to be duly complimented by the Tamil film industry,with gratitude and grandeur.
   Some of the most popular films for which C.N.Annadurai wrote the story and dialogues were Nalla Thambi,Sorgavasal,Velaikaari and Ore Iravu. All these films were great hits with N.S.Krishnan playing the lead in the first and K.R.Ramasamy as hero in the rest.He had also written the story for MGR films like  Thai Magalukku Kattiya Thaali and Nallavan Vaazhvaan. The one Sivaji Ganesan film based on his story was Rangoon Radha for which M.Karunanidhi wrote the dialogues.This film was actually based on an English play called 'Gas Light' written by Patrick Hamilton.Anna's other stories made into films were Edhayum Thaangum Idhayam, Kadhal Jothi and Vandikkaran Magan.
    Though Annadurai was an eminent story writer it was M. Karunanidhi who excelled as a fiery and forceful dialogue writer. Before writing stories and dialogues,Kalaignar had already proved  his ability to perform as an actor, in stage plays. The generally accepted perception in those days was, that Tamil film industry was blessed with two  geniuses, who were actually school dropouts.One was Kalaignar and the other was Chevalier Sivaji Ganesan. Kalaignar, himself being an eloquent and astute orator, his dialogues were perhaps engendered by an intrinsic formula of impersonation.What I mean here is that whenever Kalaignar wrote the dialogues for the protagonists of his stories, he perhaps imagined himself to be the chief character and hence the force and depth of the dialogues were presumed to be passed on to the actual hero from the original hero.Consequently,both Kalaignar and Sivaji Ganesan ruled Tamil cinema, with the mighty pen of the former and the magnificent voice of the latter.
    In fact, Kalaignar's film journey started with M. G. Ramachandran the other most popular and dynamic Dravidian hero, by gathering momentum with four of his consecutive hits, like Rajakumari, Abimanyu, Marudha Naattu Ilavarasi and Mandhiri kunari.{The Minister's Daughter},all with the budding mass hero.The last in the list, was a stupendous show with Kalaignar's sparkling dialogues and G. Ramanathan's scintillating music.The other remarkable feature of Mandhirikumari was that it was directed by Ellis Roderick Dungan,the well known American film director of those days.The film was produced by the Modern Theatres' T.R.Sundaram. Kalaignar's other MGR films include the run away hit Malaikallan,and other popular films like Arasilankumari, Pudhumai Pithan and Kanchi Thalaivan. M.G.R's dialogue delivery was no less forceful than that of Sivaji Ganesan, particularly when it came to films of historical fiction like Mandhirikumari, Arasilankumari and the true- to- history presentation of historical events in Kanchi Thalaivan.
    However, as far as film relationship was concerned it was the teaming of Kalaignar and the Chevalier that established the hat trick,because of the soul making chemistry that they both enjoyed in the creative process.What a grand show of Tamil script it was, in films like Parasakthi, Manohara, Panam and Raja Rani. Words flowed from the brain of the amazing creator Kalaignar and were articulated with a kind of spontaneity, force and natural thrust of utterances, from the gifted tongue of the unconquerable actor Sivaji Ganesan. Be it the court scene in Parasakthi,the first film of the irreplaceable hero,or the climax scene in Manohara or the rendering of dialogues by Sivaji Ganesan as Socrates, in a mono acting scene in Raja Rani, the Kalaignar-Chevalier combination made a tremendous impact on the audience, with the emphatic dialogues of Kalaignar,delivered with verbal clarity and correctness in accent and intonation,by the Chevalier.
     Mr.M. Kaunanidhi's dialogues were specially marked for their purposeful punch,punning zeal,probing pattern,and precision of language, culminating in perfection at the delivery point. It was Sivaji Ganesan who facilitated the process of felicitous reach of the ranting dialogues. The other great movies of the duo were,Panam,Pudhayal, Thirumbipaar and Iruvar Ullam. The last one projected Sivaji Ganesan as a playboy spoilt by wealthy parentage.Whereas, Thirumbi Paar portrayed Ganesan, as the Casanova and womanizing anti hero, ruthlessly spoiling the lives of women. Hard hitting dialogues and sense of guilt reflected through verbal force, transformed Thirumippaar into a trend setting film of that century.The other two films {Panam and Pudhayal}pointedly presented the role of money in society,the quest for status, born of wealth  and the excessive greed for acquiring wealth by hook or crook.There was another film Kuravanji in their combine, which created only a moderate impact, in spite of  its memorable musical component involving music composer T.R.Papa and singer C.S.Jeyaraman.
    The third pet hero of Kalaignar was the other truly Dravidian actor S.S.Rajendran, who played the protagonist in movies like Poompuhar, based on the Tamil epic Silappadhikaaram, Poomaalai, Marakka Mudiyuma and Avan Pithana. Among these films Marakka Mudiyuma was the most disturbing film, because of the tragic undercurrents and agonizing plight of the characters caught in a web of miserable circumstances.I personally felt that one would need an extra amount of strength of mind  to watch this colossal tragedy.
      Besides these films Rajendran also became an impressive addition in most Kalaignar/Sivaji Ganesan hits like Parasakthi,Manohara,Panam and Raja Rani and the Kalaignar/MGR's historical film Kanchi Thalaivan. Familiarly known as S.S.R, this hero has outlived his life, by his sheer dedication to Tami language, Tamil culture and the cherished values of the Dravidian movement through his symbolic role performances in films, both as main hero and second level hero.But the credit for all this goes to Kalaignar's script of meaning and might.
   There were quite a few  remarkable films such as Thaayillaa Pillai,Pillaiyo Pillai,Paalaivana Rojaakkal, Paasa Paravaigal, Paasak Kiligal,Paadaatha Theneekkal,Needhikku Thandanai, Niyaayath Tharaasu, Pen Singam, Ponnar Shankar and so on, from the untiring creative brain of Kalaignar. Family emotions and struggle for justice were the prime themes of most of the stories of this reformist story writer and it was the spirit of his dialogues, that controlled the base and course of events that were displayed on the screen.
     Kalaignar has written both the story and dialogues or only the dialogues,for more than seventy films.To me the top ten movies from his hands are Mandhiri Kumari,Malai Kallan, Parasakthi, Manohara,Thirumbi Paar,Pudhayal,Iruvar Ullam,Pillaiyo Pillai,Paalaivana Rojaakkal and Paasaparaivagal in terms of box office records and audience reception.
     However, films like Kaanchi Thalaivan and Poompuhar will occupy a special place in Tamil Cinema, because of the historical veracity of the former and epic lenience of the latter.MGR as King Narasimha Pallavan,SSR as Kovalan,Vjayakumari as Kannagi and K.B.Sundarambal as Kavundhi Adikal will stay as immortal characters in celluloid form, mostly because of the energizing dialogue component of Kalaignar.I am sure the audience will also carry in their memories, the passionate cry for justice, through the power of words,in films like Parasakthi, Palaivana Rojaakkal,Needhikku Thandanai and Niyaayath Tharasu.
      The world claims that a man who never went to school, stole the hearts of people as an outstanding English poet and dramatist with his name Shakespeare, surpassing centuries and geographical barriers, striking a note of international creative identity.Similarly,here is another unschooled or less schooled Tamil master craftsman, who has intelligently acquired the nuances of the Tamil language,with a flair for literature and has succeeded in stamping his image as an invincible writer of stories and scripts, besides making indelible impressions as an interpreter of the two line poems of the Tamil classic,called Thirukkural, through his exemplary literary work known as 'Kuraloviam'.
     The power to use any language with a captivating wield, is an innate gift of greatness,to be passed on to generations of people, looking for exalting fulfillment of human intelligence and emotions. Kalignar's exceptional capacity for the felicitous use of Tamil, in prose, poetry,fiction and drama rightly earned him the title Muthamizh Vithagar {i.e an expert in the use of the three forms of Tamil literature }The best way to acknowledge the creative grandeur of such an unschooled or less schooled genius, is to continue to feel inspired, by his thoughts and words, that could pave the right way to universal human progress and enlightenment.A special salute to Kalaignar, who as one of the Titanic Tamil patriarchs, has infused his enchanting appeal of Tamil , into literature, cinema and politics, as a three dimensional force with the charisma and character of words and nothing but words.And the magic of the matter is that he made the fire of language burn passionately and beautifully, both through his eloquence in speech and expertise in writing.

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