Saturday, December 1, 2018

The Four Finest Films of Gemini Ganesan.

     Gemini Ganesan was a born lover.He was born to be a romantic.He had a honey tongued voice that would travel through the ears of not only the women he loved,but also those of the audience,who watched him perform the role of a lover.Gemini made everybody munch his sweet words heard,like chewing gum,so as to make the sweetness linger for a longer duration. No other hero of Tamil cinema has ever passed on such a rhythm of language linked to the embryo of love,like the umbilical cord linking a baby to its mother.Almost all his films were dipped in nothing but sweet love,which was found to be sustaining in his veins even in his early seventies,when he acted in Kamalahasan's fabulous comedy Avvai Shanmugi in which he was found flooded with streams of love that he cherished for Kamal, in disguise as a woman called Shanmugi,
  Though he was not a tall hero to the stature of MGR or Sivaji Ganesan,he was an actor of classic standards and norms,set to establish the truth of what genuine love and romance mean. Starting from the days of his films likePathini Dheivam,Gunasundari,Sadhaaram,Aasai Karpukkarasi,Sowbakyavadhi,Mallika,Kairasi,Meenda Sorgam and Bhoologa Rambai it was an endless love journey for him on the Tamil big screen.
   Some of the movies of this less celebrated but fascinating hero,quite often surpassed the love zone and created history.Vanjikkottai Vaaliban,Paarthiban Kanavu and Konjum Salangai are some of his films ever cherished in audience memory for their being grand shows.His other immortal films are Missiamma,Kalathur Kannamma,Kaathirundha Kangal,Bhagyalakshmi, Kaalam Maari Pochu, Paadha Kaanikkai,Vaazhkai Padagu,Karpagam,Shanthi Nilayam,Ezhai Pangalan,Panamaa Paasamaa,Poovaa Thaliyaa,Kaaviya Thalaivi,Thaamarai Nenjam and Velli Vizha.He had breezy comedies to his credit such as Maaman Makal,Halo Mr.Zameendhaar, Thenilavu and Manidhan Maaravillai.I have excluded all the films he acted with Sivaji Ganesan because they were all double hero stories,with a greater thrust on the roles of the Chevalier. The list of his filmography would be very vast that includes the negative roles he played in Modern Theatres' Vallavanukku Vallavan and K.Balachander's Naan Avanillai. But there are four finest films of this wonderful actor that would stand up in singular pride and talk about the unsaid but silently enjoyed cinematic glory of life's lofty edge.
    Interestingly,two of the four movies were directed by Sridhar the refined,romantic film maker and the other two by K.Balachander the elegant narrator of real life situations,causing subtle entanglements for the protagonist.Yes. Kalyana Parisu,Sumaithaangi,Iru Kodukal and Punnagai are for me, the finest films of Gemini Ganesan,the sweetest hero.To me,what brings the four films into a single bundle is the theme of human predicament,denoting an inextricable web of life's complexities.It is like gold being put into flames for its purification.In all the four films,the hero is thrown into a boiling cauldron of emotions,arising out of helplessness and extraneous pulls spoiling the life of an individual.
   Both Kalayana Parisu and Iru Kodugal narrated the plight of a man caught in between two women but both were totally different in their genesis and development of events.In Kalayana Parisu the two women were sisters,both loving the same man and one of them who is actually loved by the hero gives up her love,for the sake of her sister and the hero is compelled to fall into the pyre of sacrifice .As the sister who marries the hero comes to know her sibling's sacrifice of love,she turns guilty and urges her sibling to marry some one.The unpalatable climax is the marriage of the sibling to another guy{played with dignity by A.Nageshwara Rao} and the death of the elder sister a few months after giving birth to a son.The elder sister's death and the younger one's marriage happen,one preceding the other,letting the hero leave his son as his marriage gift to the woman whom he ardently loved.Gemini Ganesan came out as pure gold from the excruciating course of events.Vijayakumari and Sarojadevi were the affectionate sisters with a mutually sacrificing mindset.
    Iru Kodukal was also the story of a man entangled in a two women web.But in this film the two women were not sisters.The plight of the hero was that of a middle class man whose genuine love with a woman was pulled down by unforeseen circumstances and parental manipulations.The hero's marriage with another woman and the return of the original lover as his superior officer{district collector} took the further course of events to the extent of making the hero's routine move between a flooded river and its fiery bank.It was like sailing between the two mythological rocks called Scylla and Charybdis.
    For Gemini Ganesan a two women story became an enchanting enterprise and he impressively underwent the struggles with his neat emotions,rising over the tides and crossing them as naturally as he could.In fact,Vellivizha was also a film showing Gemini Ganesan shuttling between two women destinations but the narration in Iru Kodukal was so natural and dynamic that it made the audience spell bound, by a life like routine moving on the silver screen. Sowcar Janaki reigned supreme as the forlorn lover and I A S officer while Jeyanthi the wife of the hero passively and naturally went on with her whining domestic core.How grand Tamil Cinema was those days and how nostalgic we turn when we think of those days.
    When compared to these two films,Sumaithangi and Punnagai were poignantly hero oriented movies celebrating the grandeur of noble character formation.While Sridhar's Sumaithangi was both a romantic tale and a family drama,with the latter element surpassing the former, Punnagai was out and out Balachander's resolute idealization of an individual, in a multi coloured society.If Sumaithangi's hero was the embodiment of selfless sacrifice,the hero of Punnagai was the incarnation of truth i.e symbolizing an individual's unflinching dedication to truth. Punnagai which means 'smile' in English,reflected the committed smile of the Mahatma born of innate,immaculate truth. Sumaithangi which would mean a person born to bear others' burden showcased Gemini Ganesan as a person born to bear the cross for others.
    Both these films were the meekest revelations of the ennobling attributes of humanity.Gemini Ganesan's modesty and underplay of emotions made him a colossal hero with his soft voice stamping the transmission of nobility without any murmur.The spirit of stoic resignation and the pious acceptance of the happenings in life were brilliantly focused by factors like characterization and narration.I have not said anything about the other characters of the two films because everyone was made to draw inspiration from the hero,whose display and demonstration of the deeper layers of his character were dramatically gripping.
   Many would have thought that Gemini Ganesan was a mediocre hero, running after the trees to catch the heroine on a stereotyped road of romance.But his acting stuff was far beyond the perceptions of the audience.Most of his films would undoubtedly exhibit his inveterate warmth and ecstatic spirit of acting,without undue promotion of body language or overdoing of scenic requirements,but with adequate display of emotions as soothingly as possible.His sonorous voice modulation stapled him to the character he played,with remarkable ease and felicity.All his films threw an endearing experience to the purview of the audience.The above four films in particular,belonged to the finest category of Gemini Ganesan films.