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.  

Prof.P.Chandrasekaran
{Retd}