Thursday, September 20, 2018

Rajesh:-The Rdiance Behind His Roles.


    Some actors are not always the front line marchers.But they do a lot of magic from behind. They might have been one time heroes.But they maintain a demonstrative link with the big screen and make their presence felt through their voice vibe and verve.Tamil screen's one time hero Rajesh has never withheld his feet however relevant or noticeable his roles are.It is this accommodating spirit which quite a lot of heroes sitting without opportunities should seriously give thought to.
    Rajesh was offered an insignificant role by veteran film maker Balachander in his critically acclaimed film Aval Oru Thodarkadhai in 1974.Then Rajesh went unnoticed nearly for five years until his first film as hero,Kanniparuvathile was released.It was the most ticklish role of an impotent male that Rajesh performed in that film.But he played that role with an absolute understanding of the intricacies and complexities of a difficult role that was offered to him.He played the role with decency dignity and dedication with a compact reflection of depression and despair that the character required.
    His first performance was one of his best performances.Paired with Vadivukkarasi who also performed the role with in depth feminine frustration and commitment to cherished womanhood,Rajesh revealed the right dimensions of an understanding husband with unfailing respect for the emotions of the most vital,unfulfilled aspect of a woman's conjugal life. K. Baghyaraj played a one time hateful role, as a vulture waiting for its prey,towards an act of sexual aberration and wifely infidelity from a vulnerable married woman.
   The movie produced by S.A.Rajkannu {who gave great films like Padhinaaru Vayadhinile and Kizhakke Pogum Rayil}was greatly received for its very delicate thematic content and the respectful treatment it needed.The song Pattuvanna Rojavaam in the voice of late Malaysia Vasudhevan and S.Janaki is an eternal treat to the ears and is rightfully remembered for its profound lyrical vale.
   Rajesh went unrecognized once again.But he did not bother,nor did he think that he should play only the hero.He began to play different kinds of roles, occupying the second or third position.His next great entry was as second hero with Baghyaraj, in the blockbuster film Andha Ezhu Naatkal in which he appeared as the husband of the main hero's lover. Yes. Ambika who madly loved the main hero Bhagyaraj{Palakkad Madhavan Nair}continued to love him even after marriage.The wifely disloyalty was ultimately corrected by Bhagyaraj who proclaims the value and glory of true conjugal life and the importance of wifely dedication as the traditional goal of a woman.It was a meek and vulnerable role for Rajesh and he did his best to bring quality to his role performance.
     Soon Rajesh became the hero of K.Balachander's critically reviewed film Achamillai Achamillai. With negative shades, inseparable to the routine of many a budding politician, Rajesh transformed into a baddie from a fickle minded guy,with fading qualms.It was a character subtly carved by the ace director and Rajesh performed it to the utmost satisfaction of his mentor.His craving for opportunistic growth ultimately got him stabbed by his own wife {commendably played by Saritha}whose path of life was straight and bold.The movie however became the gateway for Rajesh to play quite a few negative roles in the future.He played a similar negative role as a greedy politician in K.Balaji's Makkal En Pakkam,sharing the screen space with Satyaraj.Both these films brought out the hidden solid acting credentials of Rajesh, whose assertive dialogue delivery with a little bit of nasal thrust remains as his singular asset.
    Some of his other notable films as hero were Komal Swaminathan's Anal Kaatru,Sridhar's Aalaya Deepam  R.C.Shakthi's Sirai and Motherland Pictures'Payanangal Mudivadhillai in which he appeared as second hero. Of the three,the third film in the list was based on Anuradha Ramanan's short story.The film Sirai  showed Rajesh as Anthony,a thug and ruffian spoiling the life of a married woman {excellently played by Oorvasi Lakshmi} in a drunken condition. The woman Baghiradhi  chose to live with him, after being forlorn by her orthodox Brahmin, priestly  husband {Prasanna}.When Anthony died, the woman would choose to live as his widow instead of being the wife of a living, cowardly husband. It was a great movie in R.C. Shakthi's gripping narration.
     In the midst of these worthy innings, Rajesh did all kinds of roles with Rajinikanth {Thanikattu Raja &Thai Veedu}Kamalahasan {Mahanadhi &Virumandi}Vijayakanth {Santhosha Kanavukal,Manakkanakku &Dharmapuri}Chevalier Sivaji Ganesan {Simma Soppanam Ezhudhaadha Sattangal and Mannukkul Vairam}Vijay{Sivakasi}Vikram
{Saamy}Ajit {Aanjaneya&Varalaru}Arjun{Marudha Malai} and with several other heroes. Rajesh has been a sterling performer of father roles and other character roles.
   The most significant trait of his acting is his capacity to shine from behind.The highly realistic pattern of his acting with an innate feel of modesty in role delivery has eventually made him mostly as a low profile actor, in the sense that he has never bothered to project himself closer to the audience.But there shines a never dimming radiance in his performance of roles that places him in the category of a charming actor like Sharath Babu.It is this distinct mark that puts him on an independent track,with a silent stamp of originality.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Presentation of Song Sequences in Tamil Films.

       Film making is an arduous task consisting of various, equally important layers of the creative process.The most important of these are story line,characterization,role play of actors, dialogues,choreography, sound recording and the addition of music, followed by a course of comprehensive editing, that would make the end product a perfect piece of entertainment for enjoyment.As far as music is concerned, the background musical score takes a movie to its next level of acceptance and admiration.An Indian film can hardly be without songs and no film is complete without the background music score.Similarly,a film as per Indian norms,is also remembered by the quality of its songs and the way the songs are pictured.
     During the initial decades of Tamil Cinema, music played a wholesome place with songs at times, overtaking dialogues.This was because, most of the actors themselves were great singers. Actors like M.K.Thiagaraja Bhagavadhar, P.U.Chinnappa, T.R.Mahalingam and K.B.Sundaraambaal excelled in their acting by singing, as songs became an inseparable part of their roles and the audience those days went to the theaters, mostly to listen to the songs.
   When the next generation actors who could not sing took over the scene,there came into the picture a line of playback singers. With the induction of playback singing lip synchronization became necessary for the actors to be seen as singing the song. Moreover an enlivening presentation of song sequences,became necessary to create an ecstatic ambiance for film music. Hence, presentation of song sequences became a prominent part of the film making process, towards adding an extra edge to the audiovisual scope of the movie.If the song and its picturing are not worthwhile, it will only drive a section of the audience to the restrooms and snack bars for a popcorn hunt.
     Usually, the presentation of a song sequence varies from one type of song to the other. A film maker should know how to present a solo song,a duet number,a group song and one that needs adept choreography.To begin with, the solo songs were shown with heroes on horse back or driving a horse cart or a bullock cart.This was how songs like 'Sathiyame Latchiyamaai Kolladaa'{Neelamalai Thirudan}'Acham Enbadhu Madamai yada'{Mannadhi Mannan}'Ohoho Manidharkale Oduvadhenge koorungal'{Padithaal Mattum Podhuma}'Manushana Manushan Saapiduranda'{Thaikupin Thaaram}and'Nenjam Undu Nermai Undu'{En Annan} were pictured.Some times the hero would let the heroine sit on horse back and pull the horse as a mark of serenading.This is what MGR did in Malaikallan for the song sequence of 'Ethanai Kaalndhaan Emaatruvaar' Most of the solo songs of MGR that voiced social justice and social equality, showed him with active limb movements, challenging the evil forces.
     Whereas,quite a lot of Sivaji Ganesan's philosophical songs portrayed him,walking in a desperate mood, pouring forth his disturbed emotions.Songs like'Satti Suttadhadaa'{Aalayamani} 'Ponaal Pogattum Podaa'{Paalum Pazhamum}'Aaru Maname Aaru'{Aandavan Kattalai}'Ullam Enbadhu Aamai'{Paarthaal Pasitheerum} are a few samples that would belong to this category.
     Some times the hero or heroine would sing a song riding a cycle as Sivaji Ganesan did for the song'Vandha Naal Mudhal indha Naal varai'{Paava Mannippu} or as Gemini Ganesan and Sarojadevi performed for the song 'Vaadikkai Marandha dhum Eno'in Kalyana Parisu.Songs lulling a baby in a cradle also formed one of the highly desirable song sequences and the most remembered songs in this category are'Poomalai Puzhudhi mun Mele'{Parasakthi} 'Malarndhum Malaradha'{Pasamalar} and 'Chinna Arumbu Malarum' from Pangaalikal.
   There would be solo or group songs on running trains.Some of the songs in this category were'Sitthirai Maadham Pournami Neram'{Raman Ethanai Ramanadi}'Ethanai Manidhargal Ulagathile'{Needhikku Thalai Vanangu}'Maratha Vachavan Thanni Oothuvaan' {Panakkaaran}'May Maadham Thonnu thettil Major Aanene'{J J} and the memorable group songs 'Koodayila Karuvaadu' {Oruthalai Raagam}and 'Vellerikka Pinju Velerikka'{Kaadhal Kottai}.Similarly, the most popular boat/ ship songs were 'Ulavum Thenral Kaatrinile' {Mandhiri kumari}'Oho Endhan Babi'{Thenilavu}'Mullai Malar Mele' {Uthama Puthiran}'Amaidhiyaana Nadhiyinile Odam' {Andavan Kattalai} and the fabulous 'Adho Andha Paravaipoa Vaazhavendum'{Aayirathil Oruvan}.
     A vast number of duet songs those days would show the hero and heroine going round a tree,the heroine moving first and the hero running after her.Gemini Ganesan and Savithri would perfectly fit into this duet mode.MGR would do this with more physical force, gripping the the shoulder of the heroine and at times biting his lips. Sivaji Ganesan would hardly miss a passionate embrace of the heroines.
    Most of the group songs were also shown in a stereotyped mode.A few exceptional songs that have outlived their times are 'Vaarai En Thozhi Vaaraayo' {Paasamalar}'Maamaa Maamaa Maamaa'{Kumudham} 'Sithaada Kattikittu'{Vannakkili} and 'Nallavan Enakku Naane Nallavan'{Padithaal Mattum Podhumaa} not because of any novelty in presentation,but because of their enchanting musical richness.
     Later there came a few fascinating group songs such 'Paasamullaa Paandiyaru''Aataamaa Therottamaa'{both from Captain Prbhaakaran} and 'Adi Rakkamma Kaiya Thattu' {Thalapathi} the first two remembered for the lively dance steps of Ramya Krshnan and the other one for Rajini's nimble and stylish body movements, but both for Ilayaraja's musical richness .The  latter was also beautifully choreographed and pictured.
    However surpassing these normal depiction of song sequences, there are a few highly imaginative and uniquely creative portrayals of song scenes in many films, that would make us realize that depiction of a song is not that easy and if it is done differently it will stay in our memories as effectively as a good film does.From my movie watch I am recording some such song sequences that have lastingly settled in my memory. 
   The earliest in this category was the most vibrant dance number with the captivating song 'Thedinen Vandhadhu' in P.Suseela's superb voice,from Sridhar's film Oottyvarai Uravu. K.R.Vijaya's hey day energy, was vigorously reflected through out the song sequence.A similar sprightly dance portrayal was noticed in the song 'Thattattum Kai Thazhuvattum' in the film En Thambi. Here it was B.Sarojadevi who scored high in presenting the song, the fabulous way it came out. 
     Another unforgettable song sequence was found in'Mella Nada Mella Nada' from Pudhiya Paravai wherein Sivaji Ganesan would be seen following Sarojadevi, with a casual stylish gait, wearing a glazing slack shirt,tucked into his shining pants.In addition to Viswanathan Ramamurthy's musical mesmerism, it was the hero's pep and spark that made the song memorable.Similarly, it was a pleasure to watch MGR dancing with the professionally skilled L.V.Vijayalakshmi for the song 'Aadaludan Paadalai Serthu'{Kudiyirundha Koil}for which the energy levels of the actors perfectly matched the tempo of the song composition.The beauty of this particular song portrayal lay in the flow of vigor throughout the song, without any drop in energy, at any point.
   Most of the dance numbers of actors like Vijay,Prabudeva and a few other heroes, are beautifully choreographed with vigorous songs and agile body movements leading to a beautiful display of song sequences.Songs such as 'Aal Thoetta Boopathi Naanada' and 'Pokkiri Pongal' are remembered mainly for their exuberant presentation. 
     These days computers help a lot in creating wonderful fusion of shots to synchronize with the song by adding tantalizing touches, shot after shot.Mixing visuals in agreeable proportions without spoiling the significance of a song well written and music well composed,requires a lot of aesthetic sense. Otherwise,film music as one of the most salient aspects of film making, will go dry, making the whole exercise futile.I still remember the duet song in Kamal's Sathya showing the hero and heroine travelling on a bus and singing the song'Valayosai' In one of the shots of the song Amala the heroine,will show the biceps on her hand and Kamal will gently touch it.It still stays stuck in my memory.
    How beautifully the visuals for the song'Vennilave Vennilave Vinnai Thaandi Varuvaayaa'{Minsaara Kanavu}were shot and how elegantly the shots were made to travel with the song. Prabhu Deva and Kajole would be seen getting closer and then would escape from their bodily entanglement, only to get closer at the culmination of the song.So poetic the narration was and no doubt the song and its presentation have become immortal. 'The song Ennavale adi Ennavale'from Shankar's Kadhalan is yet another exquisite portrayal of song sequence,with a series of seamless mixing of shots watched with a marvelous feel of aesthetic splendor.
     Some innovative attempts were made in showing the hero and heroine passing through the different compartments of the refrigerator cutting the size of the human to fit into the fridge and this fresh attempt was made to present a duet song, in the AVM film Mr.Bharath. Later the hero and heroine were shown as minute and second hands of a wall clock for the film Panakkaran produced by Sathya Movies.
     Both these big movie makers have specialized in the art of erecting massive studio settings for duet songs particularly those related to the dreams of the heroine about the hero.Those who had watched Sathya Movies' Kaavalkaaran would not have forgotten the dream sequence song 'Ninaithen Vandhaai Nooru Vayadhu'celebrated for its gorgeous visuals.If the film had come out in color it would certainly have created a greater impact.There was an exotic feel in the presentation of the song "Azhagu, Nee Nadandhaal Nadaiyazhagu"in Baashaa, another film from the Sathya Studios.
     There were also some stage-prone songs signifying competitive spirit between individuals.Films like Vaanam baadi,and Pattanathil Bhoodham had such song sequences.But the best in this category were'Sinnanjiriya Vanna Paravai Ennathai Solludhammaa"from Kungumam and'Neeye Unakku Enrum Nigaraanavan' from Bale Pandia.
     In the recent days song sequences were excitingly presented in a few movies of Vijay. The presentation of the songs'Molachu Moonu Ilaya Vidala'{Velayudham}"Antartica" {Thuppaaki} and"Nillaayo"{Bhairava}could be called visual fresheners dipped in exalting imagination and creativity.As said earlier, picturing a song to the audio visual satisfaction of the audience needs a special grasp of inspiring and ingenious credentials of creativity, without which freshness and fine fusion can never get into the presentation.
    These days of electronically creative computer graphics, such fine mixed visuals are easy to blend and we know how director Shankar professionally proved it in his presentation of songs like 'Maayaa Machendra'{Indian} 'Mudhalvane' {Mudhalvan} and 'Kannodu Kaanbadhellaam'{Jeans}To conclude, beautiful song sequence is not the only thing for the success of any film.But it does contribute a special effect, adding up to the quality of the final product by making it visually more rewarding as a fulsome piece of entertainment. The examples given here are purely a subjective collection of song sequences from the films I watched.There could be more poignant song displays that have inspired other movie watchers.I give all those song sequences a big salute.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

A Movie Dedicated to Teachers{Recalled on the Teachers' Day -2018}


    Tamil cinema has frequently dealt with cop stories and occasionally focused on other professions like Medicine {Dr.Shiva was a special film on a medico's commitment to healing the trauma of lepers}and Law{ Gowravam was an extraordinary film about the pride of being a barrister}.Teaching which is called a very noble profession also drew the attention of directors during the last century and films like Teecharamma,K.Balachander's Nootrukku Nooru and Balu Mahendra's Azhiyaadha Kolangal had something different to say about the personal predicament of teachers and the vagaries of students of the school and college routine.But it was in 2012 a distinguished film on the validity and virtue of the teaching profession came out as a brilliant tribute to all true teachers.It was the film Saattai{The Whip}produced by John Max and directed by M.Anbazhagan.
  What was special about the film was the never deviating tone of narration, worthily confined to the course of events centering around a rural government school.So natural and true to life was the narration that the film almost became a treatise on the nobility of the teaching profession. Dhayalan the protagonist who chooses to work in a government rural school, takes up the onerous task of teaching with many a positive strategy, evolved in his mind,that carries well entrenched objectives such as, student equality both in terms of caste and gender,academic freedom both for the teacher and the taught and an unflinching belief that the allotted material and mind blowing benefits of education should positively reach all the students.
    Dhayalan hates corporal punishment in any form unscrupulously meted out to errant students.He stoutly fights against  pilferage of material benefits,meant for the students through the nutritious noon meal scheme.He questions the unethical practices followed by several teachers of the school including those of the Assistant Headmaster, who atrociously flouts all norms and abuses physical amenities attached to the school to promote his personal interest . Besides, he also carries on  usury, as his private business and utilizes class hours for updating his business records. 
   Dhayalan has to strain his brain and brawn to set things right and restore the lost image of the school while at the same time struggling to establish the legitimacy and dignity of the true teacher not only in himself, but also in his teacher colleagues.It is an ideological war waged by a single individual,to clean the system and call the shots for a total campus transformation.That he succeeds only by surpassing the risks to his own life and personal esteem is of course an inevitable dramatic necessity.
   At the outset, these things might appear cinematic.But at a deeper level the film poignantly showcases the ills that prevail in several such rural and urban schools.The film beautifully pinpoints that amiability,able delivery of information and knowledge,genuineness in upholding the cherished values are the fundamentals of a most crucial profession called teaching.The film also illustrates the importance of the teacher being a role model to budding generations,by maintaining punctuality and personal ethics, besides being modest in passing on to the younger generation a kind of value based, fine tuned, instructional process, that calls for active student participation at various levels, through verbal interaction and talent orientation.
   Samuthrakani's effective underplay as Dayalan,stamped a mark of absolute reliability to the role of an inspiring, exemplary teacher. Thambi Ramaiah as the vituperative Assistant Head Master made his role play amazingly realistic.There was no exaggeration of emotions.The audience would ever remember more,the live school campus,than their audio visual experience of watching a film.This is the most successful point of the film. Vijay TV can be proud of telecasting this film once a way.As a former college teacher and blog writer, I thought it is another way of paying a tribute to the teachers on the Teachers'day, by recalling the nuances of teacherly glory celebrated in the film Saattai. Hence this brief article on the film.  


Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The Rise of Thambi Ramaiah


     Apart from heroes and heroines, Cinema in general is capable of portraying humanity at large, through a broad panorama of roles such as comedians,villains and greatly valued supporting individuals popularly known as character actors.Tamil movies have proudly celebrated the distinguished performance of exclusive character actors like V. Nagaiah, S. V. Sahasranamam, S. V. Rengarao,T. S. Balaiah,V. K. Ramasamy V. S. Raghavan and Major Sundarajan. These character actors would have taken up villain roles once a way.The number of villain roles would have been more in the case of Balaiah,V.K.R and Major.But Balaiah and V.K.R excelled in comedy roles also.Both these actors shared great screen space with the never tiring comedian Nagesh. 
   Similarly  starting from the pioneering comedian N.S.K, character roles have been confidently vested with most comedians like K. A. Thangavelu,Nagesh,Thengai Srinivasan and of late,Vivek.In this list, we now have a prominently notable character actor and comedian, whose rise on the big screen has been gradual and significantly steady.It is Thambi Ramaiah,the rising character actor of Tamil films.
     Thambi Ramaiah would have acted in more than twenty films before his remarkable and award winning performance in Prabu Solomon's highly acclaimed film Mynaa.In fact,Ramaiah had equally shown keen interest, in direction and lyrics composition.He was an assistant for Director P.Vasu for some time and independently directed films like Manu Needhi and Indhiralokathil Na.Azhagappan. Besides acting in P.Vasu's Malabar Police and Thottaal Poo Malarum,his other earlier roles were for the popular films Aaru,Kovai Brothers, Imsai Arasan Irubathumoonraam Pulikesi and Vaathiyaar.But after his stellar performance in Myna,Ramaiah became an indispensable comedian cum character actor. Prabu Solomon again inducted him for a meaty role in Kumki.
   Resembling Radha Ravi and delivering roles with a body language similar to that of the dynamic heir of M.R.Radha to a great extent,Thambi Ramaiah has slowly carved a distinct place for himself in Tamil Cinema.Some of the uniquely memorable performances of this vibrant actor have been for  films like Parthiban's Thiraikkadhai Vasanam Iyakkam,Vijay's Puli,Jilla and Bhairava,Ajith's Veeram and Vedhaalam, Vikram's  Raajapaattai and Thaandavam{in a brief memorable role as Thappaache Mama},Samuthrakani's Saattai and Appa and the most recent Velaikaran and Thaanaa Serndha Koottam of Sivakarthikeyan and Surya respectively,His other outstanding performance was for M.Raja's Thani Oruvan, as the puppet father of Arvindsamy.
   In negative roles,as an erring school teacher in Saattai and as the vulnerably mischievous younger brother of Nassar in Veeram,Thambi Ramaiah asserted his position as an actor capable of adequately reflecting villainy and crookedness.As the blind father of Laksnmi Menon falling into the hands of ruthless thugs,he could evoke a deep sense of pathos by his effective role performance in Ajith's Vedhaalam.
    There is a quantum of energy and vibration in Ramiah's dialogue delivery that always stands to his credit.In gullible roles he can stamp his mark as an exceptional actor.Beyond his wonderful performance in films like Mynaa,Kumki, Saattai and Kadhai Thiraikkadhai Vasanam Iyakkam,the two roles of this great actor that I would cherish in my memory are from Komban and Thani Oruvan.It has not been a meteoric rise for this vigorous actor, but a stable and steadfast one, that would keep him in the right place at all right times.

Monday, August 13, 2018

The Throes of Confusion.


    Excellent background musical score, unfailing performance potential of Kamal astutely displayed, delicate touches of aesthetic motherhood caught in the clutches of Alzheimer, suggestive traces of romance cutely pictured and graceful role play of Pooja Kumar and Andrea Jeremiah make Viswaroopam 2 fairly watchable.However, Kamal should ask himself if he has successfully linked  his sequel to his earlier Viswa Roopam, which was better in several respects.There is of course a Hollywood grandeur in cinematography.But the missing links are many leaving the audience in the throes of irritating confusion regarding even the place of events and the characters involved.The character of Anand Mahadevan looks like an unwanted addition to a 145 minutes film just for the sake of increasing the length of the movie.The Brahmin dialects and the Arabic utterances make Visaroopam 2 travel on unspecified tracks.Action sequences do not create any stunning effect.Lack of clarity, thy name is Viswaroopam 2  

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Lingusamy's Lingering Shows.


     Most film makers leave indelible impressions of a couple of their films as Dharani left his Ghilli and Dhool,R.V.Udhayakumar his Kizhakku Vaasal and Chinna Gounder,{and Ejamaan} Hari his Saamy and Singam 1,K.V Anand his Kana Kandein and Ko and Atlee his Raja Rani Theri and Mersel. All these films cited were memorable films on account of their unique story value and vigorous course of narration.Many of the Veteran directors of the last century like A.Bhim singh, P.Madhavan, Krishnan Panju, A.P.Nagarajan, K.Balachander, A.C.Thiulok chandar, K.S.Gopalakrishnan and Sridhar,left a lot of their films remembered.They were all makers of  films that could linger in the memories of the audience for certain specific reasons.
    In this line,variety film maker Lingusamy who also owns his production unit called Thirupathi Brothers,holds a prestigious position as a maker of great films like Aanandam, Run, Sandakozhi and Payya.In fact,like A.R.Murugadoss,Lingusamy is a felicitous film maker holding a distinct trait of consistency,in impressive film making.
    What makes the lingering shows of Lingusamy different from those of others,is his flair for diversity in creativity and its exposition.His themes have travelled from the corridors of family to romance,rivalry and racy action grandeur.His very first film Aanandam was admired as an extraordinary family drama, with each member of the family making an impressive image of themselves.This includes even the guy who attempts to steal from the family and is transformed into an inseparable emotional segment of the family that had treated him with compassion and love.
     I love the film to the extent of watching it every time when it is shown on its authorized television channel.What a lovely mother Sri Vidya was,calling her sons 'Periyavane''Sinnavane. How innocently vulnerable Delhi Ganesh was, as the male head of the family. Mammootty and Murali vied with each other in showing  love, responsibility and dedication  to family values in a fantastic fraternal bond. Devayani and Ramba wonderfully played their roles as daughters in law, with a realistic perception of their characters.The scenes were so beautifully interwoven that any sensitive member of the audience would have naturally longed to be a part of the family on the big screen showing absolute spirit of unity and readiness to give in for one another.
     Lingusamy's'Run' was a totally different film imbibing the essence of love with an uncontrolled speed in the run of the characters in tune with the title.Besides romance and gripping action components, the film exquisitely portrayed the triangular emotional intricacies among the the hero,his sister and brother in law{delightfully portrayed by R. Madhavan,Anu Hasan and the ever classic actor late Raghuvaran}.The fact that the hero and his brother in law were not in talking terms and that the sister surprisingly found them both talking to each other one day,were finest moments in family relationships. Madhavan's heart throbs for the well deserving Meera Jasmine were cutely pictured. Vivek's independent comedy track was en eternal treat.It is no wonder that Run ran for weeks, with packed theatre halls. 
    Sandakozhi was a special film in the sense it brought Chidambaram and Madhurai routine together on a single spread sheet, with clean touches of bravery,family spirit,group behavior communal traits and delicate touches of romance, speaking through the sparkling eyes of Meera Jasmine and the seemingly innocent Vishal.The  banter of friendship,the unique hospitality of Nagai/ Tanjore district reflected at Chidambaram,coupled with the crude thuggery of Lal,soon got transferred to the proud martial glory and trusting group behaviour of Madurai, not missing the cultural moorings of a large family routine.All these things made the film an all time memory treasure.Above all,hero Vishal made a telling impact in the role of a feisty fighter cock, as the title goes. 
    The climax of the film showing the family patriarch Raj Kiran throwing an open challenge to the infamous rowdy to defeat and kill his son Vishal, if the rowdy really had the guts of a male, brought legitimacy to the title of the film, besides adding pride to the soil of Madurai, reputed for its sons of bravery and might.This is a kind of film which can be watched any number of times.
    Apart from these three films, Lingusami lingers in audience imagination as the great maker of films like Payya, Vettai and Anjaan. While  Payya is remembered as one of the rarest films with its record breaking musical richness,thanks to the sweetest musical score of Yuvan Shankar Raja,Vettai and Anjaan are known for the spirit of valour  capable of converting even a coward into a bravo. Karthik Sivakumar of Payya,Arya/Madhavan of Vettai and Suriya of Anjaan,were symbols of masculine magnificence.They would undo their enemy's advances, with on the spot defiance and retaliating fighting mode.What brings together most movies of Lingusamy is the charismatic macho resilience, resuscitating the vigour of all his heroes, in managing tough situations,with tougher give backs.
      The most striking potential of Lingusamy's creativity is his natural understanding of different situations and multi cultural family backgrounds.His narration of events is always blended with abundant positive energy that would make even the most frustrated mindset to revive lost hopes and build afresh,the falling spirit of individuals as well as institutions, such as family or business.
   It is true that like many other film makers,Lingusamy has also seen failures of his creative ventures like Ji,and Bheema which created a lot of expectations before their release dates, but came out as terrible dampeners.Surpassing these failures,he has also produced notable films like Kumki,Goli Soda,Manja Pai and Rajini Murugan. Lingusamy is as resilient as his heroes are and is capable of registering winning streaks after many a fall. Ligusamy's lingering shows are made up of vitalizing ingredients, that would make the audience cling to his narration with unfailing involvement and joy of film watching.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

The Youngest Cub

    Suriya who serially roared in Singam, Singam 2 and 3 has now produced Kadaikutti Singam with his younger brother Karthik as hero. Pandiraj who directed the award winning Pasanga,  has directed this action packed rural family drama.The narration abounds in family sentiment, action shows and romance.There are too many interlinking layers of themes such as the emphatic cry for agriculture as the base of life,the usual craving for a male child, the customary practice of girls marrying their maternal uncles and the gusto and politics of a huge family of three generations. Sundar C is a specialist in portraying the nuances of large families with his conventional sense of humour and action.But Pandiraj marks his distinct lenience to the rural soil with its invigorating bullock cart race and various other rural ingredients that would draw the audience from the B and C centres, despite the fact that most of the events we watch in this movie have been watched several times.
  The thematic thrust given to the primacy of agriculture is something special here, on account of the briefly shown commitment of the hero to the relevance and importance of professional farming, as a discipline and career in the line of medicine and engineering.This he does more through dialogues than through valid sequence of action.He is rather busy with his other schedules of romance and dedication to family unity.Scenes pass by at jet speed as in the case of a Hari film.Comedy segment is a natural by product of the film thanks to the presence of Soori as a member of the large family tree, besides the leg pulling tone of mockery, resorted to by the four co brothers consisting of Saravanan,Ilavarasan,Seeman and G.Marimuthu. D.Imman who is specially acknowledged for his melodious music composition for many films,has taken the route of instrumental assault.Excepting"Sengadhire"which solidly reaches our ears in the sonorous voice of Pradeep Kumar,the other songs pass away unheard.
   The climax of the film is definitely a special treat with emotion packed dialogues thanks to the special efforts put in by Viji Chandrasekar and Karthik.In fact the finally outpouring emotional appeal made by Karthik in his uniquely natural and subdued style, brings in a change of heart in all the sisters and their spouses as well as the two nieces of the hero who want to marry him.No doubt this is another grand show of Karthik, both in stunt scenes and in the display of genuine emotions.But something keeps on telling the audience that most of the family emotions are a clear repeat of various  other family dramas. 
    Personally speaking,it was rolling in my mind that Karthik's Komban was truer to the rural soil because most of the scenes finely narrated in that film comprising the interpersonal relationship of Karthik,Lakshmi Menon,Raj Kiran and Thambi Ramaiah would  spontaneously get recalled as a better stuff,cleanly stuck to the ground realities.The song Karuppu Nirathazhaki alone will do, to remember Komban as the most memorable rural film of Karthik. However, what is special about Kadaikutti Singam is the absolute fact that the cub does not waste time in roaring but moves about struggling all the time,with a clear cut focus on cobbling together the divergent groups of the Palmyra family, headed by the ever sweet and tall actor Satyaraj. 

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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Pelting Stones from Inside the Glass House.


    Satire is one of the wonderful ways of probing into the existing pitfalls in a system with a view to laughing at them. Satire may be a verbal weapon or a visual voice.Silent satire through looks and gestures is some times more effective than what words could do.But verbal satire always creates instant laughter as in the case of late Mr. Cho Ramasami the ever sparkling writer and actor for whom satire was a tool for causing rib tickling laughter through parodies and power of words, targeting his victims with tenacity and grit.His subject was mostly politics and his victims were usually politicians. 
  However when a film resorts to hitting its own themes,profiles and performers, it becomes extraordinarily exciting because of the intrinsic risks involved in washing one's dirty linen in public. Tamizh Padam2 following its earlier journey of self satire in Thamizh Padam,continues to ridicule the way Tamil films project  their themes, events and characters, in addition to grooming and blowing up the hero image, into superhuman dimensions.
   At the outset, it should be stated clearly that one needs a different mind set to watch the film with enjoyment because it is altogether a different type of film.In fact even my mindset is not fit for that.When I say this it does not mean I undermine the quality of presentation of the film or the hard work put in by the team consisting of C.S Amuthan,Shiva,Satish and others who have shouldered the major responsibility of making the film reach a wider level of audience.When I watched the film at a local theatre I was really stunned to see a huge audience,which I have not recently seen, even for a Vijay movie or a movie of the Superstar.The crowd at the ticket counter triggered my expectation for a vigorous enjoyment of the film.
   Those who would have witnessed Imsai Arasan Irubadhumoonram Pulikesi of Simbudhevan would have left the theatre with memories of laughter generated at the theatres by the grand show of comedy by Vadivelu&co because the spontaneity of humour was vitally linked to characters and situations, that made the show unforgettably rejoicing.But here, you have periodical bouts of laughter like the intermittent feeble showers in Chennai during the months of July /August.There is enough to laugh about but not much to absorb and retain.
      The film has touched upon various  funny aspects of film making and political programming.It has not even excluded a sly reference to the meaningless visits of politicians to the tombs of their departed leaders, purely to indulge in meditation and swearing.From Devar Makan to Kabali,from Thuppaaki to Vedhalam , from Endhiran to Vikram Vedha it is a panorama of satirical inclusion of scenes.To make the audience chuckle, Venkat Prabu and Premji Amaran appear specially for an item number{Kasturi is 'honoured'}that ends with the glamour dancer getting paid by the police department for her job.The payment  by cheque to the dancer is a cheeky reminder of the 'avoid cash payment' dictum of the present regime.The film touches upon demonetization too,as 'a Cop measure' to trap the villain.
    The mythological flashback revolving around the theme of immortality blessed by a jack fruit, becomes an irrelevant intrusion that could have been jettisoned.But the dance performed by Shiva and Satish at the mythical palace,seems to have been scrupulously filmed to amuse the audience.Music{ Background score and not the songs that hurt the ears} and visual effects make the film reflect and echo the splendour of a superhero film.Nevertheless,the determined role play of Satish and Shiva {sorry Shiva and Satish} under the astute supervision of Amuthan make the film live up to the yardsticks of a full fledged parody. On the whole it is a film meant for a selective audience,though in reality,it has undoubtedly become s crowd puller.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

SARAN the Felicitous Film Maker.


        Born as Saravanan,Saran a diploma holder in Visual communication and a one time cartoonist for Aananda Vikaden got into the film world out of his ardent admiration for veteran director K.Balachander and assisted him in the direction of Unnaal Mudiyum Thambi, starring Kamalahasan,Gemini Ganesan and Seetha. His love for making films pushed him ahead, towards directing the highly acclaimed film Kaadhal Mannan. His association with Ajit almost became a firm bond that made him direct four of his films including his first hit.His other three Ajit films were Amarkalam,Attakaasam and Asal all starting with letter A.
   Barring Alli Arjuna in which Bharatiraja's son Manoj was the hero, almost all the films of Saran received either best or moderate reviews.Apart from his Ajit films which were grand shows,his other films like Paarthein Rasithein,Jay Jay,Gemini, Vattaaram and Vasool Raja MBBS were great entertainers worthy of a theatre watching experience of films.
    His two major flops were Alli Arjuna and Modhi Vilaiyaadu. Paarthein Rasithein and Jay Jay were enchanting romantic tales and Gemini was a racy entertainer. Vattaram was a unique gangster story with Arya's macho might and Napoleon's composed acting. Vasool Raja MBBS was a creditable remake of the Hindi hit Munna Bhai MBBS. It was a Kamal special, with crazy Mohan's sparkling witticisms coupled with Kamal's pranks and the ever enjoyable banter of Prakash Raj. Saran's other moderate film Idhaya Thirudan, with Jeyam Ravi in the lead role,was produced by his mentor K.Balachander.
   What is distinct about Saran is the vigour he consistently reflects in narrating the story on hand,be it a tale of romance, or a commercial entertainer,like the film Gemini.Besides his predominant preference for Ajit, his exclusive choice of Bharatwaj to compose music for all his films{with the exception of Alli Arjuna and Modhi Vilaiyaadu,that went into the hands of A.R.Reheman and the Colonial Cousins[Hariharan and Lesle Lewis] respectively} is an indicator of his prioritization,in the process of his film making.
    Another extraordinary thing about Saran's films is the abundant energy levels portrayed by the heroes of his films. Throwing challenges and meeting them with confidence and grit have been the inherent strength of the theme,story line,character presentation and narration of events,scrupulously adhered to by this film maker, who carries the essence of  juvenile zeal and gusto.
    His heroes are quite often seen on a track of adventure attempting to do the impossible. There is an undercurrent of aberration in character formation,as witnessed in some of the films of K.Balachander. Saran's hero might fall in love with a girl betrothed to some other guy{Kadhal Mannan }or he might be one ex-convict attending college {Gemini} or a medical student who cleared his entrance test through proxy {Vasool Raja MBBS}.
    But ultimately,their intentions are genuinely harmless,though they achieve their goals through robustly romantic and unconventional means.The all pervading element of mischief is a special appealing factor of Saran's heroes.The hero{Ajit} carrying the villain's chair {played by Mahadevan} in the climax scene of Attahaasam,after an ironical adoration of the erstwhile gang leader,is a memorable sample of this trait.A similar inspiration was passed on by Arya's passion for the gangster head Napoleon's rocking chair,in Vattaram.
    Saran's heroine might be from Assam or Kerala,Goa or Karnataka,Rajastan or Andhra Pradesh or West Bengal.She may even be an Indian woman either born or living abroad.He has hardly gone in favour of a purely Tamil heroine.Barring Shalini and Sneha most of his heroines were either glamour additions or excessive hero doters.But among his villains,starting from Girish Karnard and Raguvaran, all have made a mark in carrying out their roles with adequate stamp of crookedness and fury.In fact,his villains could be said to have played as vital a part in his films,as his heroes, because Saran's focus has chiefly been on the ecstasy of crimes with the enthusiastic participation of garrulous gangsters.  
    Saran could take credit for drawing the melody maker M.S.Viswanathan into acting.The late music director's meaty role as Mess Viswanathan in Kadhal Mannan,was truly rib tickling,with his strict advocacy of teetotalism in public,while at the same time enjoying  his own series of stealthy smoking sessions, that get unwittingly exposed to the ever curious cigarette bound Vivek. The hilarious moments he created in association with Vivek, formed Saran's endearing show of the friendly ruckus of bachelorhood.In addition to this, MSV was also made to sing a lovely song,adding pep and style to the role that the music director played.
    The same way,Saran did something special by taking into his fold yesteryear comedian Kaakaa Radhakrishnan as a crazy Carom game buff in Vasool Raja MBBS.The kidnap of the old man by Kamal &co by alluring him for a Carom game and thereby forcing his intelligent doctor son Crazy Mohan, to do the medical entrance exam on behalf of Kamal, provided a vibrant comedy show for the audience.
   The spicy touches of Saran include the choice of location for narration,such as an old unused bus or a theatre that becomes the centre of activities involving the main action sequence. There is always a thrust of chase and run, whether it is a romantic race or a gangster chase.
    Saran is capable of creating an unusually fabulous screen experience,by presenting a distinct frame of criminality and genuine human emotions, that exist in effective juxtaposition. The turbulent behaviour of his heroes, including his anti hero Manoj in Alli Arjuna,hardly failed to trigger higher voltage of action segment in most of his films.It was lovely to watch Ajit,Vikram and Arya playing roles of rugged orphans and captivating gangsters, in Amarkalam, Gemini and Vattaram respectively. 
    Saran's comedy skit was mostly compact in films like Kadhal Mannan,Amarkalam,Gemini and Vasool Raja MBBS.Popular Comedians like Vivek,Dhamu,Charlie and Vaiyapuri have kept the momentum in full form in their respective movies directed by Saran. In Vasool Raja,Parabu too joined the Kamal wagon,to boost the comedy element as relevantly as possible. 
   On the whole,Saran is one of those film makers who would like the audience to spend a happy time in the theaters and carry on their film watch with all their family members.He has no itch for projecting negative emotions.On the other hand, he revels in his gusto of narration that leads to a spontaneous reverberation of energy, from the beginning till the end of each and every film that he directs,with invigorating spicy ingredients, lavishly used by happy-go-lucky guys.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

A Singer with a Mesmerizing Voice.

      This blog has paid consummate tributes to most deserving playback singers and music composers of Tamil Cinema, either in isolation or in comparative group frames.Singers need more than a voice compatible to the norms and dictates of music.Any voice made up of sweetness and natural rhythm in the vocal cords,can either enrich or bypass the rules of musical composition.Most playback singers of Tamil cinema have succeeded in carrying lyrics and tunes directly to the ears of music lovers, by their classic voice pattern and dynamism in rendition.Some of them have shown comparable voice quality like Mano and Unii Menon resembling that of SPB and K.J Yesudoss respectively. C.S.Jeyaraman on the other hand had always stamped the image of a special category of singer, with his rarest of the rare, voice mould,leaving an eternal note of nostalgia.
    Similarly, we have come across another playback singer whose voice has consistently struck a mesmerizing impact on the listeners through a sonorously soothing way of singing,while at the same time creating feelings of joy and sorrow penetrating into the soul of everyone.It is P. Jeyachandran who every time creates indelible impressions,with his profound involvement in the singing process,with a magic voice that felicitously travels along with the lyrics and the inseparable instrumental core.
     "Ponenna Poovenna Kanne"from Sridhar's 'Alaikal',was the first song of Jeyachandran I heard in my early twenties.The hero Vishnuvardhan for whom Jeyachandran sang the song was from Karnataka and Jeyachandran himself was from the soil of Kerala.Besides the fact that Alaikal was a richly appealing film on several counts,the song of Jeyachandran became more soothing than the movie.The next enthralling solo song with thought provoking lyrics that got into my memory was "Ethanai Manidharkal Ulakathile/Ethanai Ulakangal idhayathile" from MGR's different film Neethikku Thalai Vanangu. It was M. S. Viswanathan the melody king who composed music for these two solo songs and the mind blowing duet song 'Kavithai Arangerum Neram'sung by Jeyachandran with S. Janaki for'Andha Yezhu Naatkal',one of the earliest hits of K.Bhagyaraj.
   Jeyachandran's next solo song that comes to my memory is from the great film Oruthalai Raagam.The song ''Kadavul Vaazhum Bhoomiyile Karpoora Dheepam Kalaiyizhandha Maadathile Mukaari Raagam"in an anguished tone,brought out the essence of agony caused by one side love.It was excellently rendered by him under the unique musical composition of T. Rajendar. 
     Later some of the best  solo and duet numbers of Jeyachandran came from the amazing musical composition of Ilayaraja,the prophet of music.'Sithira Chevvaanam Sirikka Kandene' {Kaatrinile Varum Geetham}'Maanjolai Kilidhaano' {Kizhakke Pogum Rayil} and'Inraikku Yenindha Aanandhame' '{Vaidheki Kaathirundhaal}are the most ecstatic solo songs from the  delighting voice of Jeyachandran.The other two immortal solo songs that came from the film Vaidheki Kaathirundhaal are "Raasaathi Onne Kaanaadha Nenju"and "Kaathirundhu Kaathirundhu Kaalangal Ponadhadi.''
   The first of the two songs was an exemplary song in a lullaby form and lasts for many, as one of the haunting melodies before going to bed.The heart throbbing duets of this fabulous singer are 'Poova Eduthu Oru Maala Thoduthu Vachene' {Amman Koivil Kizhakkaale} 'Kodiyile Mallikapoo"{Kadalora Kavidhaikal}with S.Janaki and the soul searching number 'Mayanginen Solla Thayanginen'{Naane Raajaa Naane Mandhiri}with P.Susheela.
    There are three special songs of Jeyachandran under A.R.Rehaman's composition.The first one 'Kattazham Kaattu vazhi' from Bharatiraja's Kizhakku Cheemaiyile was an award winning song.The other beautiful song is 'Kannathil Mutha mittaal' from Mani Ratnam's most popular film bearing the same title.The third one'En Mel Vizhundha Mazhaithuliye' is an exalting duet with K.S. Chitra  for the film May Madham. All these songs are worth cherishing in the archives of Tamil film music.
    Jeyachandran is a voluminous singer in Malayalam cinema.In Tamil in the midst of huge competition of voices,he has made his significant innings purely through his brilliant capacity for unadulterated grandeur of voice reach and pure performance of qualitative vocal music.I would have listed here only a part of his creamy musical stuff purely on account of my personal priority. Jeyachandran's captivating voice and its characteristic charm have made him one of the worthiest playback singers, capable of mesmerizing the audience with songs that would outlive those of many others.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Two Actor Grandsons of the DMK Patriarch.


     The Dravidian movement was as much dedicated to the stage and screen as it was to politics.Arignar Anna and Kalaignar Karunanidhi remained as the torchbearers of the Dravidian movement both in politics and cinema.While Mr.Karunanidhi was confined to writing script, the other members of his family such as Murasoli Maran and Murasoli Selvam  were actively involved in the production of Tamil films.
    Films released under Anjugam Pictures and Mekala Pictures'banner will throw substantial light on their contribution to Tamil cinema.Maaran was a script writer for famous Tamil films like Kuladheivam,Annaiyin Aanai and Sahodhari.Besides making the two films Marakka Mudiyuma and Pillaiyo Pillai, Maran also directed the former. Murasoli Selvam produced films like Paasamazhai and Paadaadha Theneekkal.
      In addition to these notable film activities,Kalignar's elder son Mu.Ka.Muthu was a hero of popular films like Pillaiyo Pillai,Pookaari,Samaiyalkaran and so on.The Dravidian patriarch's other son Stalin has also shown his acting skill in a couple of films {Ore Ratham and Makkal Aanaiyittaal}and T.V serials {Kurinji Malar and Suriya}.Now from this family tree, two new generation actors have succeeded in making footprints on the pathway to the silver screen.They are Uadhayanidhi Stalin and Arulnidhi, the sons of M. K.Stalin and M. K. Tamizharasu respectively.
    Both these new stars have started glittering with their independent sparks of performing ignition. Between these two cousins,M.K.Stalin's ward is at least a decade older than Arulnidhi.The latter  hit his tenth film sometime last month. Though Udhayanidhi has already reached number ten,his first entry was a minor role in his Red Giant movies' film Adhavan.
   Unlike his cousin Arulnidhi, Udhayanidhi is a producer of films too. Under his Red Giant Movies,there were half a dozen films portraying him as hero besides two films of Suriya {Aadhavan and 7aam Arivu}and one film each of Kamalahasan and Vijay {Manmadhan Ambu and Kuruvi respectively}.There were also other films like Neer Paravai and Vanakkam Chennai. But Arulnidhi who made his debut in Vamsam has not so far produced any film.Among Udhayanidhi's movies,Oru Kal Oru Kannaadi, Manidhan, Ippadai Vellum and Nimir were significantly worth watching, as entertainers and quality reflectors.
   His other films like Nanbenda, Saravanan Irukka Bayam Yen,Podhuvaaga En Manasu Thangam and Idhu Kadhirvelan Kaadhal were very ordinary shows.To record it as a personal preference,Oru Kal Oru Kannaadi will be my most enjoyed film of this budding actor, because of the team spirit of vigorous banter exhibited by him in association with Santhaanam,with abundant farcical stuff, generating spot humour and spontaneous laughter.
    Arulnidhi has to his credit some special films like Vamsam,his debut film,Mouna Guru,an action thriller, De Monte Colony a ghost thriller and Radha Mohan's Brindhavanam a breezy tale of romance.He has also come out with a few more action /mystery thrillers and considerable comedy entries,such as Udhayan,Thagaraaru, Aaraadhu Sinam,Oru Kanniyum Moonru Kalavaanikalum and Naalu Polisum Naalaa Irundha Oorum.Both Udhayanidhi and Arulnidhi have captivating smiles and sober dimensions in their profiles.
    But Udhayanidhi seems to be a little more genial and endearing in carrying himself closer to the film watchers.This might be due to the roles offered to Arulnidhi in films like Mouna Guru and De Monte Colony.In physical stature,the audience would be compelled to bring in a  little similarity, between Arulnidhi and Vishal, though their acting modes are totally different.
     Arulnidhi is a composed performer who has shouldered a few tough roles leaning on psychological intricacies as in Mouna Guru and De Monte Colony.But Udhayanidhi impresses by his clear dialogue delivery with apt intonations marking it as a progressive course of acting.His comedy flair is also precisely convincing to the extent of setting up a positive image for him. However, he has to try different themes and characters as he did in Manidhan. His casual acting style is a special asset to him, like the introspective acting calibre of Arulnidhi that puts him at an advantage.
     Udhayanadhi's  latest release 'Nimir' directed by Priyadharshan reaffirms his casual acting ability,without any blow up and fixes him perfectly into the role of a photographer.With moderate inclusion of natural humor and realistic portrayal of events, it can be called a clean movie and the song Nenjil Maamazhai would stay in audience memory for quite sometime.
     Arul Nidhi's recent film 'Iravukku Aayiram Kangal'with a decent cast and thrilling narration, has definitely shown marked improvement in the hero's capacity for underplay.Here,the first time film maker Mu.Maran proves his promising credentials,by presenting a full time worthy thriller with great twists and turns, leading to a catchy,suggestive climax. Arulnidhi,Ajmal Anandraj,{with his fine comedy flashes} Mahima Nambiyar and Lakhsmi Ramakrishnan have contributed their best to make the film quite different from other thrillers.
   The future goals of these two heroes,will alone make them deserve a relevant place in the field of Tamil Cinema,by adding more mettle to the creative corpus of their grand father,who has also been a splendid  power point of the Tamil literary foundation. In this particular aspect, it becomes the foremost responsibility of these two actor cousins, to stand up and salute their grand sire and tell him that they carry at least a little bit of his creative grandeur,that would ever last as the governing spirit of Tamil Cinema.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

The Iron Curtain, Past and Present



     Almost sixty years ago{1960}Gemini Pictures released the film 'Irumbu Thirai' starring Sivaji Ganesan,Vaijayanthimala,B.Sarojadevi,S.V.Rengarao,S.V.Subbiah,Vasundara devi, T.S.Dorai Raj and K.A.Thangavelu. It was not only a black and white movie but was also a curtain drawn between the evil black and the innocent white.It was a clear curtain drawn in between a mill owner with a macabre mindset and the victims of his capitalistic agenda. As the curtain had its roots crudely laid to the rich-poor divide,it carried a diabolic effect.In addition to it,the curtain also hid the filth of betrayal and revenge,more to the advantage of the rich. 
    S.S.Vasan poignantly pictured the plight of a woman{Vasundradevi] wronged by the mill owner {effortlessly played by S.V.Renga Rao, with sweet coated venom} and  her illegitimate daughter {Vaijayanthimala},who was bent upon killing the devilish mill owner.The base of the story was of course, one man's avarice for amassing wealth,by exploiting the deserving stakeholders of the profit, made by their excessive sweat and labour. 
    It was Chevalier Sivaji Ganesan who became the vibrant,leading voice of the working class, who dramatically mobilized the entire labor force against the hostile mill owner to break into pieces his wall of capitalism.So turbulent was the spirit of unity that the whole lot of agitating workers under their relentless leader, would throng in front of the iron gates of the factory and crack it down, foreboding a do or die battle with the mill owner. 
    Six decades later, here comes another film bearing the same title 'Irumbu Thirai' from the production house of actor Vishal, who also plays the protagonist of the film.This film too is about the greed for others' money but with a contemporary setting, underscoring the undue risks involved in the electronic management of money, entangled in boundless probabilities and possibilities for hacking, by the criminal intelligence of the human brain.
    Here the curtain lies between the innocent public and a don of cyber crimes, paradoxically known as white devil and notoriously indulging in hacking others'accounts without qualms. Incidentally,'White Devil' is also the title of an English drama written by John Webster.Though it is uncomfortable to see the yesteryear action hero Arjun in a despicable negative role,it has to be firmly said here,that the action king has transformed into an awesome villain,full of controlled style and substance. 
    Vishal has significantly worked hard but his decibel in delivering dialogues at times crosses the limits of tolerance.Notwithstanding this,he has given us one of his best performances, by cutely interacting with the psychiatrist Samantha and by his chiding interaction with his father Delhi Ganesh who is irredeemably prone to a reckless borrowing routine.Besides Vishal and Arjun, Delhi Ganesh and Robo Shankar have made their performance invincible.Samantha is of course compact,in her responsible role play.
    The differentiating factor of the new film is its emphasis on the ongoing trends of the new generation and its ever growing access to the technology sweep.However,the new film under the expertise of the first time film maker P.S.Mithran,also tries to project the dangers of the same technology,that has helped mankind for a universal coming together on similar platforms, with an invisible curtain.The perils of the invisible curtain are worse than those of the iron curtain that existed between the blood sucking black devils and their vulnerable underdogs,during the years of suppression and ill treatment of the underprivileged workforce. 
    What we witnessed in Vasan's Irumbuthirai was similar to the dark world realities focussed by Charles Dickens, in most of his novels.In this respect Vasan could be called the torchbearer  of the brave new world,endowed with a guarantee for each one's right for freedom and dignity of labour.But what we see in Mithran's depiction of the curtain,is an inherent quest for abusing technology, towards causing a colossal damage to fellow human beings, by pulling both the rich and the middle class to the streets through a devious chain of cyber fraud, facilitated by snooping and hacking.It is really amazing that a debut director, demonstrates the strength of his job, with well  crafted nuances of film making,thereby giving an impression as if he has been in the field over the years.No doubt,he deserves a special applause for his freshness, zeal and strong credentials of film making.
    When it comes to music,as usual old is gold.Songs like"Enna Seidhaalum Endhan Thunai Neeye"{[Radha ]Jeyalakshmi}"Nenjil Kudiyirukkum"{TMS & P.Leela}and "Kaiyyila Vaanguna Paiyyila Podala'{Tiruchi Loganathan}from the old movie,are reverberating rhythms riveted to our memory, thanks to the wonderful composition of tunes by S.V. Venkatraman.The lyrics of Papanasam Sivan,Kothamangalam Subbu and Pattukottai Kalyana Sundaram contributed to the richness of the musical quotient of the film.Whereas,in the new movie,Yuvan Shankar Raja's songs beautifully settle down with in the four walls of the theatre, despite the fact that his background score has effectively served its purpose.
    The comedy element of both the films would deserve a distinct place on account of the flawless verbal felicity of K.A.Thangavelu in the former and the well timed verbal efficacy of Robo Shankar,in the latter.The way Robo Shankar mimicries Delhi Ganesh in his presence, is a great sample of his time sense, in cracking humour. Shankar has been provided ample scope to display his flair for generating laughter and he has made full use of it.The romantic element that was naturally experienced in the emotional intimacy between Sivaji Ganesan and Vaijayanthimala in Vasan's film and in the subtle, as well as aesthetic verbal intimacy of Vishal and Samantha in Mithran's piece,is a clear indicator of the changing creative imagination with regard to the concept of love and its presentation on screen. 
     The climax of both the versions of the Iron Curtain, could be said to be heart throbbing. While the former presented the workers'outburst as a natural fallout of their pent up emotions, the latter presents the public outburst against the white devil as a contrived one, preceded by cinematic challenges breezily thrown between the hero and the villain.All said and done,the first film showed the iron curtain as a direct, divisive wall between the vested interests and the helpless, forsaken working class.
   The new version on the other hand portrays an imaginative curtain, portending the tragedy awaiting humanity, as a result of an unseen enemy sitting somewhere on a solid cyber seat with layers and layers of schemes, that would escape anyone's notice and would ultimately become nothing like an onion.But the lurking dangers of this onion are so huge and detrimental to humanity,that before any one is alerted,the complete ruin is already done,at a terrible cost of one's portals of privacy of all sorts.To make matters worse,the climax of the film also implies that the risks are going to multiply,because the white devil carries his designs for his new avatar as dark angel.To conclude,both the iron curtains have done justice to their making, by sticking to the ground realities,that existed then and are found existing now.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Raadhika,the Actress Beyond the Heroine.



     Heroines are there in plenty to adorn the tinsel world.Some act.Some add to the glamour quotient of the films they form part of. Things were different during the last century especially  between Nineteen fifties and eighties,when there were great women who were more to acting than to being heroines of films.Those were days when the bills were filled by glamour segment separately,augmented by women artists, exclusively meant for exhibiting the glamour portion.Whereas, there were sterling women like P.Banumadhi,Anjalidevi, Padmini,Savitri,Devika,Sowcar Janaki,Vanisri,B.Sarojadevi, K.R.Vijaya,Jeyalalitha and Lakshmi who stuck to the ground realities and took the characters beyond their identities and were esteemed purely for the roles they played. 
    Here my memory will not forgive me, if I leave out actors known for subdued performance, such as Jeyanthi, Saritha,Sri Vidya, Sri Devi,Sujatha,Sumitra and the agressive Jeyachitra and Sripriya,among whom Sri Devi casually contributed her classic levels of performance in films like Moonram Pirai, Varumaiyin Niram Sigappu,Jaani and Naan Adimaiyillai with Kamalahasan and Rajinikanth, until she moved to Bollywood. The other actresses were busily occupying the Tamil big screen solidly,for nearly a decade or more and then turned to do mother roles.
      However,prior to the entry of these actresses there were two women who were doing more glamour rounds than heavy character roles.They were Manjula and Latha. Even here, Latha did her best in a couple of films like,Aayiram Jenmangal Urimai Kural and Azhage Unnai Aaraadhikkirein.
    From the early Nineteen Eighties, Director Bharathiraja began to introduce his R series heroines, of whom Raadhika, Radha and Revadhi topped the list.While Radha like her elder sister Ambika,did not leave out the glamour side from her schedule of acting, her role in Mudhal Mariyaadhai was commendable as that of Ambika in films like Engeyo Ketta Kural,Naan Paadum Paadal,Andha Ezhu Naatkal and Vaazhkai. 
   Radha's performance was equally radiating in films like Amman Koil Kizhakkaale and Mella Thirandhadhu Kadhavu. Some of Revadhi's best roles were in films like Man Vaasanai, Puthumai Penn,Mouna Raagam,Kizhakku Vaasal, Punnagai Mannan,Kai Kodukkum Kai, Anjali, Vaidhegi Kaathirundhaal, Priyanka, and Marubadiyum.
   But the first name from the school of Bharathi Raja has ruled the Tamil film Industry in the manner of her three outstanding predecessors Savithri,K.R.Vijaya and J.Jeyalalitha.Her peculiar way of  delivering Tamil dialogues was closer to the unusual Tamil accent put forth by Bhanumathi and Saroja devi,whose mother tongue was not Tamil.The alien charm in Radhika's dialogue delivery was a special attraction in her first film Kizhakke Pogum Rayil and the subsequent films like Niram Maaradha Pookal, Inru Poi Naalai Vaa,Poi Saatchi, Pokkiri Raja,Moonru Mugam and Thaavani Kanavugal. 
     Surprisingly, in a few years,this proud actor daughter of a colossal actor called M.R.Radha,began to grow by leaps and bounds in honing her histrionic skills in distinct dimensions with an inherent cry for attaining maturity in acting,with spontaneity, ease and ecstasy in the manner of  Chevalier Sivaji Ganesan and Savithri. Her earliest sample of impressive acting was visible in her transition from vigour to warmth and dignity, at one stroke,in the AVM's beautiful family drama and action movie Nallavanukku Nallavan. She  was a perfect foil for the superstar in that film.Her great grasp of the psychological intricacies of the role on hand,got dynamically reflected in her performance thereby taking the image of the character to the height it demanded.
     Raadhika's other remarkable entries were Naane Raja Naane Mandhiri,Dharma Dhevadhai, Oorkaavalan,Needhikku Thandanai,Poondhotta Kaavalkaaran, Ninaivu Chinnam and Rettai Vaal Kuruvi.The other fact is films like Needhikku Thandanai,Dharma Dhevadhai,Ninaivu Chinnam and Poondhotta Kaavalkaaran  fetched her the best actress award or the special award for best actress,from the government of Tamil Nadu.It is very difficult to forget the role of a virago she played, as the wife of Nasser in Shankar's Jeans. So crude and crooked were the dimensions of the character and so realistically she performed it,with utmost fire and felicity
     Raadhika continued to create indelible impressions through her underplay,as well as emotion-packed role performance, in films like  like Sippikul Muthu,Keladi Kanmani and Kizhakku Cheemaiyile.Then slowly she began to take up mother roles.The earliest hit in this line was Pasum Pon,another great show of Bharathi Raja.Then there were amazing mother roles in her kitty as shown in memorable films like Amarkalam,Uyirile Kalandhadhu,Rojaa Koottam,Thanga Magan of Danush, Naanum Rowdithaan, Dharmadhurai of Vijay Sethpadhi and Ippadai Vellum of Udhayanidhi Stalin.Among these Dharma Dhurai,reflected her peak of perfection, in role delivery.What has been special about Raadhika's maternal roles is her mature grasp of the deeper layers of motherhood, which she seems to infuse into her character, with absolute genuineness and flawless perception.
    To be a heroine is not a challenge,so long the role is of a decorative piece adding mere glamour segment of the film.But to be brought under scanner for a meaty participation and to form a vital part of  the film, to the extent of making the character one plays as an indispensable part of the film, is the real challenge for an actor.This is how most of the female actor participants of the last century made themselves greatly relevant and significant for the successful and memorable reach of the films with the audience.Here is another woman who could relate herself to the grand levels of aptitude and performance of those famous names referred to, at the start of this article.
      Beyond all this, the other notable point is Raadhika is the only woman of the Tamil film industry, who can doubtlessly be given the top slot position of an actor, beyond the position of the heroine because like Savithri, she could reasonably and effectively compete with Sivaji Ganesan,the ever greatest actor of Tamil Cinema.She has proved it time and again, that she could take up a feminist role in the manner of P.Bhanumathi and J.Jeyalalitha,the fascinating position of graceful and submissive womanhood in the line of Savithri,Devika,Vanisri and  K.R.Vijaya and proudly stand up to the dynamism of Sivaji Ganesan in films like Pasumpon and Veera Thaalaattu. 
      Besides her contemporaries Revathi and Radha,her successors like Meena, Kushbu,Simran and Jyothika have also substantially reached high levels in acting.But it is Raadhika who has surpassed the others,by her consistency in performance and captivating vigour in demonstration through a concerted identification of the actor with the character, in which the actor disappears, so as to make the character live long. Raadhika has been a wonderful stuff in this regard,both on the big and small screens.Some of her highly credited television serials are Chithi,Selvi,Arasi,Chellame and Vani Rani.To put it in a nutshell,as far as Raadhika is concerned,the heroine fades into the actor and the actor dissipates into the character, thereby making the actor move far ahead of the heroine.

Friday, May 18, 2018

An Actor with a Creamy Layer Stuff


        Actors are of different brands.Some would perfectly fit into the aristocratic mould.The profile of S.V.Renga Rao was made for this frame. Some would remain as unbeatable paupers. No one can beat V.Nagaiah in this category.A few would combine both  the profiles as S. V. Subbiah did and T.S.Balaiah did.An actor like the vibrant V.K. Ramasamy stood as the exemplary voice, reflecting the mean mindedness of a section of the rich and the poor, while at the same time personifying elements of nobility and generosity in some of his role plays.Film lovers can validly include names such as S.V.Shasranamam T.K Bagavadhi,V.S.Raghavan and V.Gopalakrishnan in this list.These were actors other than heroes,who formed the creamy layer of Tamil Cinema of the last century.As this blog carries independent and comparative articles on all these actors excepting the last name,the present article would proudly place on record the greater vibes of acting material frequently demonstrated by this, not much talked about, actor.
     The span of acting of this veritable actor,was spread over five decades between 1947 and 1997.He began with the role of an office boy at the age of fifteen, for the Gemini Pictures' famous film Miss. Malini and ended up with his final performance in Thadayam released in 1997.This actor had never blown up his credentials but revealed them to the best of his abilities and quietly passed away,five months after the release of his last film.What was specially great about him was the huge list of film makers and heroes, with whom he shared his time and performance potential.He was as much a favourite of K.Balachander as he was with Sridhar and K.S.Gopalakrishnan.So was he with A.P.Nagarajan the famous maker of mythical and  spiritual films.The other film makers who fondly made use of his refined acting stuff were, A.Bhimsingh,P.Neelakandan,S.Balachandar,C.V.Rajendran,S.A.Chandrasekaran and K.S.Ravikumar.
     V.Gopalakrishnan has acted with the all prominent heroes like M.G.Ramachandran,Sivaji Ganesan, Gemini Ganesan,Muthuraman,Sivakumar,Jai Shankar, Rajinikanth, Kamalahasan, Karthik Muthuraman,Vijayakanth and Sarathkumar.He has acted almost equal number of films with both MGR and Sivaji Ganesan.With MGR his bulk of movies were in the final spell of the hero's acting journey and it started with the film Idhayakani and went on up to Inrupol Enrum Vaazhka.I first saw this actor on the big screen in the film Aaravalli in the role of Prince Abimanyu.Though the film was released two years before I was born, I happened to watch it,as a boy of ten,when the film was screened in a local touring talkies twelve years later.Some of his popular films I cherish in memory are Nenjirukkumvarai,Galaattaa Kalyaanam, Neerkumizhi, Punnagai,Nootrukku Nooru,Naalai Namadhe,Needhikku Thalai Vanangu,Pallaandu Vaazhga, Kilinjalkal,Raanuva Veeran and Thee.
    Unlike most other character actors, V.Gopalakrishnan has appeared as a Christian in quite a number of films.Some of the Christian names he carried in films were Thomas in Thulasi Maadam, Robert in Nootrukku Nooru and Naalai Namadhe Joseph in Velli Vizhaa in David Kilinjalkal and Prof.Peter in Paarvaiyin Marupakkam.He was an extraordinary actor with both theatrical and screen sense and could precisely take himself to playing any professional role, such as doctor {Kalangarai Vilakkam,Naan Yen Pirandhein and Ninaithadhai Mudippavan} Jail Warden {Pallaandu Vaazhka}advocate {Chakravarthi}Public Prosecutor {Saavi} Judge {Sattathin Marupakkam}.
     All these professional roles he performed with dignity and grace [at times even with negative tint]and redefined the characters with his proficiency in English and Tamil. In this context, it should be mentioned here that he was a post graduate which was a rare phenomenon to prevail among actors those days.His accent and stress upon dialogues be it English or Tamil, proved the fact that his acting was the sum and substance of the creamy layer brand. Interestingly the same actor could casually perform the role of a taxi or cab driver as he did in S.Balachandar's Bommai and M.G.R's Needhikku Thalai Vanangu.Another distinct trait of this actor is his flair for comedy as witnessed in Galaattaa Kalyaanam.
    Here is an actor,who would have acted in nearly 400 films encompassing Tamil, Telugu and Hindi,but would have been seen only in restrictive space and scope in many of them.It would have been very difficult for him to stay strong and surpass adverse currents pushing him out of the mainstream concept of holding up one's place and keeping it unforgotten in the field of one's choice. But V.Gopalakrishnan succeeded in this by establishing the ground and playing it safe with constant grip and control of his position as an actor.This determination and power of hold, will itself prove the fact, that he was an actor of the creamy layer category.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Neelu's Acting Nerves


     R.Neelakandan,aka Neelu was an exuberant stage and film actor who like late N.Mathrubootham created a special track of comedy parade with sustained and calculated role play.He was a passionate player of roles both on stage and on the big and small screens.Acting came to him like child's play and he would be making himself a butt of ridicule, with an extraordinary sobriety on his face and a kind of noisy deliberation to hit humorous goals.He was closely associated with the satirical comedian Cho Ramasamy and later had a telling share in the comedy moments created on stage, by Crazy Mohan and his group.
  For me, the most treasured role of Neelu on screen was that in K.Balachander's Nootrukku Nooru in which he appeared as a rigorous professor of Mathematics and fell vulnerable into the hands of a batch of mischievous students. In a particular scene, Neelu would be found teaching Calculus and every time when he would try to get up from his seat with the fond words"Now coming to Calculus"he would struggle to extricate himself from the gum pasted chair, prepared by his students as a mark of revenge.One could obviously notice the discomfort coupled with humor effectively displayed by this wonderful comedian.
    Some of the other films in which he made a significant impact of comedy were Aayiram Poi,Mr.Sampath, Gowravam, Velum Mayilum Thunai,Mohamed bin Tughlaq, Sabatham, Sooriya Vamsam  Kamalahasan's comedy blockbusters Avvai Shanmugi,Kaadhala Kaadhalaa and Pammal K.Sambandham. Besides these popular films, he will also be remembered for the television serial Enge Brahmanan.Neelu carried on his comic roles, with well meaning gestures on his face and sound and fury signifying complete sense of humour within the yardsticks of decency.The nasal tone and the way he would meddle with it rhythmically with his intrinsic love for Carnatic music, would make Neelu one of the most remembered comedians of his times.In his death, Tamil audience eagerly looking for sensible comedy skits, will not only miss a greatly endearing comedian, but will also happily push his name into the golden archives of Tamil Cinema, to be passed on to posterity for nostalgic recalls and reviews.