Monday, June 10, 2019

Crazy but Creative too.{Homage to Crazy Mohan}




     Humour is the fuel for the laughter engine.In other words,if laughter is the exterior,humour is its interior.To counter a well known maxim we could say humour and not brevity that is the soul of wit.Comedians are celebrated with gusto and applause for their delightful delivery of humour for which it is the soul of the skit that matters.Tamil cinema owes a significant portion of its comedy perfection to the vigour sustaining dialogues and script contributed by the veteran humour wizard Crazy Mohan.
  Born as Mohan Rengachari,this Mechanical Engineer of the early Nineteen Seventies turned into stage play promotion and comedy skit promotion for quite a number of Tamil films.The success that he tasted by his stage play enacted in Guindy Engineering College perhaps changed his fate line from an Engineering career to that of a playwright and dialogue writer. Launching his "Crazy Creations" and making his brother Maadhu Balaji {prefix Maadhu lifted from Nagesh's role in Edhir Neechal} as the hero of most of his dramas,Mohan has substantially enriched Tamil stage plays and films by his massive contribution of plays,scripts and dialogues.
  Unlike late Cho Ramasamy whose sharp dialogues were aimed at political foibles and failures, Crazy Mohan's laughter vehicle drove on tracks of well timed spot humour generating instant laughter.Mohan believed in the power of words to generate laughter without letting the impact of words go waste and with the forceful pull of drawing the attention of the audience to the humour-pregnant contexts and the words that guaranteed those contexts.Consequently none of the audience would fail to burst into a stream of laughter.
  Tamil Cinema has breathed humour through Crazy Mohan's lungs,in a number of films. Mohan started his film journey as story writer for veteran director K.Balachander's Poikal Kudhirai {which was based on Mohan's drama 'Marriage Made in Saloon'}.However it was his close association with Kamalahasan that made him an astounding harbinger of comedy sense and spot humour. Teaming up with Kamal for the epic level film Aboorva Sagodharargal, Mohan ran on the race course of comedy,taking the audience to the zenith of humour,solely by his intoxicating power of humour in films like Sathi Leelavadhi,Tenaly,Michael Madhana Kamarajan,Avvai Shanmugi, Kaadhalaa Kaadhalaa,Pammal K.Sambandam,Makalir Mattum, Panja Thandhiram and Vasool Raja MBBS. Almost all these films became mega hits purely on account of the rib tickling dialogues of Mohan who had an extraordinary flair for punning upon words blending English with Tamil and vice versa.The only film that Mohan worked with Rajinikanth was Arunachalam.
    The other notable films for which Mohan wrote the script or subscribed his comedy skit were Chinna Maapillai,Vietnaam Colony and Chinna Vaadhiyaar{all Prabu's films}Vijay's Enrenrum Kaadhal,Soorya's Poovellaam Kettupaar and K.T.Kunjimon's Ratchagan.Besides his invisible offering of humour,Crazy Mohan has also made a brief appearance in quite a few films.Of these,the most notable show was in Vasool Raja MBBS as Dr. Markabandhu,the most intelligent and father doting  son of Kaka Radhakrishnan. 
   How he succumbed to the intimidating tactics of Kamalahasan,Prabu and others and how innocently he reflected his gullibility,nervousness and devotion to his father,constituted one of the most memorable scenes of comedy in Tamil cinema,showcasing the whole event through a carom  board game,played by the fun loving gang along with the carom enthusiast Kaka Radha krshnan.The other briefly noticeable roles that Mohan played were those of a car customer {Aboorva Sagothararkal} a grocer{Michael Madhana Kamarajan}a doctor{Chinna Vaadhiyaar} an astrologer{Enrenrum Kaadhal}an ENT Specialist {Pammal K.Sambandham} and a hearing impaired Judge {Kola Kolaya Mundhirikaa}.All these small time characters will stay remembered, in spite of their short focus.The last film in which he appeared was Kalyana Samayal Saadham and his last film bearing his dialogues was Naan Ee.
   Many have ruled Tamil cinema and theatre in their own unique ways.Crazy Mohan has crazily ruled them both,as well as the Tamil small screen{through his serials of which Metti Oli was very popular}by his intelligent wordplay capable of creating a comedy wonderland with all its genuine ingredients.The essence of his comedy skit has always been at the exclusion of vulgarity and even in writing double meaning dialogues,intelligence has surpassed temptations for inferior abuse of words. Even while creating awkward situations as humour incentives, Mohan has always taken care to close his comedy doors against meanness in gesticulation and articulation.
   Crazy Mohan would definitely join the line of well meaning decent comedians empowered to amuse the crowd,through thought, word and deed,all governed by rules of genuine and spontaneous humour. His credibility for humour has always been looking up for laughter as a blessing and never been looking down for humour as a curse.Perhaps it was his absolute adherence to decent comedy that fetched him the Kalaimaamani award from the government of Tamil Nadu.It is really unfortunate that two great film celebrities passed away today. Mohan's death has followed that of Girish Karnad another great playwright and actor,who also died of heart attack this morning. Mohan's loss will surely throw a pall of gloom but in the long run,the memorable scenes of his comedy shows will lend him a stamp  of immortality and wipe away the gloom as light liquidates darkness.
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Sunday, June 9, 2019

Homage to Girish Karnad





    A passionate writer,a probing playwright,a dedicated theatrical celebrity and a poignant actor that Girish Raghunath Karnad was,it is very painful to accept his death,though death comes to all with or without giving notice.I still cherish my happy moments,teaching one of his wonderful creations 'Hayavadana' to a couple of batches of Arts and Science students in the college where I worked and retired from.I would rate him as an actor of awesome academic mould with a very high and critically challenging creative potential.I have watched almost all the Tamil films he acted and I am sure they would all celebrate his memory in the decades to come.
  What was special about this cutely urbanized actor,was his aristocratic demeanour that would naturally fix him in any elite role such as the Black dog Security Service Officer {Kadhal Mannan} and a haughty,scheming,status conscious,greedy,tax evading industrialist cum business magnate {Naan Adimai Illai,Kadhalan,Minsaara Kanavu,Ratchagan,and Chellame}. Mysskin's Mugamoodi was the last Tamil film that Karnad acted,as the grandfather of the hero. {played by Jeeva}He also worked with Kamalahasan in Hey Ram.
  The way Karnad would churn out the intricacies of his character delineation was a special treat to watch.His eyes would deliberate his manipulations more than his tongue.The arrogance of wealth was the most notable trait that he would felicitously portray through his body language and his distinct style of acting.On the Tamil screen,he was ever a self conscious promoter of foul accumulation and proud display of wealth,through characters evolved with an extraordinary care for the Machiavellian touch.It would perhaps look that in his death,the world of cinema stands impoverished,because it has lost one of its fabulous faces of the guilt and grandeur of wealth.
  So suave and refined were his looks that only actors like {late}S.V.Renga Rao and Pran of the last millennium could be equated with him in exhibiting the value and vile of the highest rung of the aristocratic ladder.Late Raghuvaran was a perfect match to his negative role play and perhaps that was why they both were brought together,in sharing the venom of villainy in films like Kaadalan and Ratchagan.The winning streak of these two actors,was based on their innate grasp of playing crude villainy with a mask of refinement,that would enable them to ruin their rivals through their soft dozes of devilishness.
   Karnad's main focus was on Kannada cinema followed by his contribution to Hindi and Tamil films.He has also acted in a couple of Malayalam films{Neela Kurinji Poothapol and The Prince}.Beyond his enrichment of Indian cinema was his exhaustive contribution to Kannada literature and no doubt it was his creative versatility that earned him the most coveted  Jnanpith Award from the government of India,for his significant literary achievements.Today Tamil cinema is as much deprived of one of its most dynamic actors as the Kannada region has every reason to mourn the death of one of its most illustrious sons.The Tamil soil is certainly indebted to this great Indian,for adding pep and flavour to its celluloid glory.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

The most remembered Court scenes in Tamil films.

 



   Tamil cinema is as much unique for its crime thrillers as it is for the huge archives of social and family narrations.Most of the crime stories have projected the punch of the police force with the stiffest crease of the police uniform.There has been an enormous display of the sense of dynamism and commitment of the cops in chasing the actual criminals,with a perfect grasp of the event and the scenario of crime,without of course failing to underline the existence of the intrinsic darker patches of prosecution of crime due to men of criminal frame of mind,getting into the vitals of the police department.
    Owing to the growing demand for the action component of movies of this kind,narration of this genre was mostly confined to the chase and run course of events,culminating in the nabbing of the actual criminals.Hence crime thrillers generally have not reflected  the need for matters going to the court of law for a suitable award of justice.Nevertheless,there have been films which have successfully focussed on the process of litigation and pronouncement of verdicts pertaining to mysterious cases of murder,sexual crimes,infidelity and divorce.Some of the Tamil films have beautifully highlighted the intricacies of criminal cases and the shrewdness of the legal wing in meticulously disentangling the complexities of crime and punishment.This article intends to reflect upon the dynamic depiction of court scenes in a few memorable films.
    The earliest court scenes that the Tamil audience would have briskly witnessed were from the climax of Parasakthi,the very first film of Chevalier Sivaji Ganesan.The tremendous impact that the court scenes of the film created was of paramount significance,because of the chaste and fiery dialogues,penned by Kalingnar M.Karunanidhi and the flawless delivery of those dialogues by the robust and stentorian voice of Sivaji Ganesan.This was almost a trend setter for prospective Tamil films and will remain as an immortal treasure in the archives of Tamil Cinema. 
   Then came the Gemini Ganesan starring film Nalla Theerpu produced by Sundarlal Nahata and directed by T.Prakash Rao.While Murasoli Maran wrote the screenplay,cinematography of the film was enriched by Kamal Ghosh.The film beautifully narrated the reopening of a case of murder of a reputed dancer,that had its verdict,convicting an innocent man who was the father of the hero.It was a very decent film depicting powerful court scenes with Gemini Ganesan as a lawyer,struggling to get into the facts to arrest the actual murderer {S.V.Sahasranaamam} and get his father{V.Nagaiah} falsely implicated in the case,released from life imprisonment.Those days it was really a new experience to keep excitedly waiting to see who the real criminal was.In fact,nobody would have ever thought that the suave Sahasranaamam would have so crudely committed a murder and thrust the load of crime on an innocent man.Till the end he would make clever attempts to escape,but finally get caught by the cleverer probe and presentation of the case, by the hero.
    The next interesting court scene that the Tamil audience would have vigorously watched was from the two climax scenes of the two outstanding Sivaji Ganesan films,Iruvar Ullam and Padithaal Mattum Pothuma.Though both the climaxes were about acts of murder,the first one was a clear case of planned murder and the latter was an unintentional emotional encounter between two cousins causing the death of the elder one.Unfortunately,the wife of the victim would come  in between them and the killing would take place in the midst of the melee.
   In Iruvar Ullam the murder of a woman dancer {Padmini Priyadharshani}would be committed by a scheming playboy{T.R.Ramachandran} who would create a planned web for entangling the hero in the murder and cleverly escape from the scene .The hero who had his own notorious past as a playboy,would be in an unebviable situation,because his father {S.V.Renga Rao}who was a senior criminal lawyer would strongly believe that it was his son who had committed the murder.On the other hand the hero's elder brother {M.R.Radha} who was a lacklustre  lawyer and a confirmed failure in his profession,would not endorse his father's view.So he would take up his brother's case,effectively argue in favour of his brother and win the case by carefully probing into the subtleties and nuances of the mystery behind the act of murder.Besides freeing his brother from the case,his arguments would also lift his image as a worthy lawyer.The film directed by L.V. Prasad was a run away hit,because of its emotional base, catchy narration of the veteran director,the beautiful dialogues of Kalaignar M. Karunanidhi and the amazing role play of Sivaji Ganesan teaming up with B. Sarojadevi and joined by inimitable actors like S.V. Renga Rao and M.R. Radha. 
    The climax court scene of Padithaal Mattum Podhuma was totally different.The film made by the winning,creative brilliance of A.Bhimsingh was an excellent family drama throwing Sivaji Ganesan into an emotional cauldron due to an act of betrayal by his cousin{K.Balajee} resulting in a wrong marriage of the hero with an educated ultra modern woman{Raja Sulochana}.When truth came to light,the turbulent,uneducated Sivaji Ganesan would take his hunting rifle with a rage to threaten his cousin who by his well  contrived scheme had married the uneducated,sweet mannered Savitri,actually proposed for the hero to marry.The chaotic climax would show Sivaji Ganesan holding the rifle against Balajee and the latter and his wife trying to prevent the hero from triggering the rifle.
  In this process the rifle would trigger the bullet and hit Balajee,killing him on the spot. Consequently, the hero would be arrested and only the words of Savitri who was a witness to the tragic event could say whether the hero triggered the rifle or not.To everyone's surprise the widowed woman would say that as all the three of them had their hands on the rifle she was not sure whose fingers triggered the rifle releasing the bullet.So the hero would be discharged from the case,on the benefit of doubt section of the IPC.
   Two of MGR's films are still remembered for their effective use of the court scenes.The first one was Devar Film's Needhikku Pin Paasam.It was a film beautifully stuffed with plentiful court scenes relating to the murder of M.R. Radha,the father of B. Sarojadevi. The film revolved around an elite family of a dutiful police officer {S.V. Renga Rao} as dad,S.A. Ashokan as the elder son cum public prosecutor and younger son M.G.R as defence lawyer.The mother was the accused in the case.Each one was committed to their duties as cop,public prosecutor and defence lawyer with their innate conviction that justice should always surpass family affection and justice should be rightly rendered.
  The hero as the younger son with devotion to his mother and dedication to his profession, ultimately succeeded in establishing the truth of innocence of his mother,by closing down the case upon the actual murderer{M.N.Nambiyar} who was a notorious wrong doer dismissed from the army,for committing crimes as a way of life.The film carried all the dynamics of an MGR story line and was specially complimented for the court scenes.The other MGR film Kavalkaran was a Silver Jubilee hit but it was mostly a suspense crime thriller culminating in a court scene to establish legal grounds for the prosecution and conviction of the antagonist, effectively played by M. N. Nambiyar as a wealthy criminal and father in law of the hero.
   Veteran film maker K.Balachander who was a specialist in portraying family and  social values with  psychological intricacies and subtleties in narration,once tried his hand in dealing with a crime action thriller without deviating from his family roots as base for his story line. The film was Ethiroli released in 1968 and this was the only film of Sivaji Ganesan that K. Balachander directed. Sivaji Ganesan [named as Shankar} was an honest lawyer who laid down and displayed seven ethical conditions as the ways of one's life.Unfortunately, circumstances forced him to violate his own ethical yardsticks,one after the other and finally he would get entangled in a case of murder and the person who was killed was a taxi driver {Major Sundarajan}who used to blackmail the hero for a financial misappropriation that the lawyer was constrained to commit.Interestingly,the seventh condition stipulated by the lawyer was "Do not indulge in acts of murder"and it was the irony of fate that got him wrongly accused in a murder case.
   The lawyer's daughter would once witness the taxi driver blackmailing her father.So she would attempt to kill the taxi driver with her father's revolver.However,she would soon be overpowered by him.At this juncture the taxi driver's lover would come in between them and save the girl.The woman who had high regards for the lawyer would kill the taxi driver because she did not want him to blackmail her venerable lawyer anymore.On seeing the murder,the lawyer's daughter would become dumbfounded and literally lose her power of speech. Meanwhile,the killer woman would be house arrested by another gangster.As the revolver belonged to the lawyer,he would be arrested and his younger brother {S.S. Rajenran} would be the Public Prosecutor arguing the case towards getting him convicted,based on a tape recorded conversation in which the lawyer was heard threatening the blackmailer that he would kill him one day.
    It was an interesting and energetic narration of court scene procedures,with the public Prosecutor initially fumbling for relevant sections in the IPC and his elder brother {the accused in the case} duly prompting him,the hero's wife{K.R.Vijaya} cleverly tackling the questions of the Public Prosecutor and the Judge {V.S.Raghavan} interestingly watching the whole proceedings. Ultimately,the accused hero by using a clever ploy would restore speech to his daughter who would bring the truth of the murder to light.  
     Sivaji Ganesan's other greatly successful film Gowravam was an exhaustive tale of the pride of a barrister{Barrister Rajinikanth}who bothered only about the victory of his arguments irrespective of the fact whether he argued and won the case for the perpetrator or victim of crimes.The Chevalier played dual roles as barrister Rajinikanth and as his adopted son working as a junior advocate under the barrister.The film was abounded in court scenes and the dialogue segment written by Vietnaam Veedu Sundaram added pep and power to the court scenes. Gowravam which was also directed by Sundaram narrated the course of events in the life of a murderer {Major Sundarajan once again} who killed his first lover in order to marry another woman.Though he was saved by barrister Rajinikanth in that case,he got framed for the death of his second woman whom he earnestly wanted to marry.
   A heavy insurance policy taken in the name of the second woman and her subsequent death on account of epilepsy while taking bath in a shower tub would land him in trouble.The nexus between the insurance amount and the death of the woman that followed,would make it a case of premeditated murder and get him death sentence.The barrister who defended the case could not tolerate defeat in the hands of his adopted son and junior lawyer who appeared for the case on behalf of the prosecution.The film will always be remembered as much for the court scenes as for the stunning performance of Sivaji Ganesan as barrister Rajinikanth.
   Later Sivaji Ganesan apeared as the elder brother of Rajinikanth and as a lawyer and judge in the film Padikadhavan.The climax of the film would show the judge stepping into the shoes of a defence lawyer in order to save the Superstar from a case of murder cleverly thrust upon him by the evil minded Jaishankar who would kill his elder brother Poornam Viswanathan for gaining control over his brother's property.
   The other interesting film that had climax court scenes was Modern Theatres' Kumutham starring S.S.Rajendran,Vijayakumari,Sowcar Janaki,M.R.Radha and S.V.Renga Rao.Here the hero would be entangled in a case of murder committed by M.R.Radha and the case would be handled by S.V.Rengarao as the Public Prosecutor and his daughter Vijayakumari as the defence lawyer.The Public Prosecutor would be bent upon getting the hero declared as the murderer because of his anger against him for marrying the visually challenged Sowcar Janaki, instead of Vijayakumari whom he originally loved.The straightforward daughter would intelligently argue the case and bring to book the real murderer and thereby get her former lover saved from an unjust punishment.
   During the Nineteen Eighties Sujatha Cine Arts production house came out with a block buster film called Vidhi involving a plethora of court scenes to establish the veracity of a womanizer{casually played by Mohan}who had spoilt the lives of several women including that of the heroine{Poornima Jeyaram}.The pregnant heroine would take the issue to the court of law and prove the legitimacy of her pregnancy caused by the womanizer besides getting him suitable punishment.Jaishankar {a lawyer with a shady past} played the role of a dishonest lawyer and Sujatha donned the role of another lawyer struggling to defend the case of the heroine regarding her pregnancy caused by the hero.As an activist of women'd rights,Sujatha gave a galvanizing performance.This film ran with crowd packed theatres chiefly for the dynamism and dramatic efficacy of the court scenes.
   There were memorable climax court scenes in Thulaabaaram in which Oorvasi Sharadha would be arrested for killing her child on account of her trade unionist husband's death in the hands of killers arranged by the mill owner and the consequent threats of poverty and attack on her modesty.Her close friend{Kanchana} and daughter of the mill owner would take up the case and argue in her favour.The other notable film Aval{remake of Hindi Dhoraha} would end up with a court scene taking up the case of murder committed by the heroine {Vennira Aadai Nirmala} who had been forced to kill her husband's fake friend {Srikanth} for repeatedly raping her.
   Some of the recent films that had relevant court scenes were Thamizhan,Priyanka and Devan. In Thamizhan the hero{Vijay} himself was a lawyer and he would take up the case of the ill treated estate workers for whose sake his sister's husband{Naaser} fought and got killed by the capitalist lobby.Yet another interesting feature of the film was the importance the hero would give,in educating the common man about the legal recourse available to individuals for several day to day issues.His argument at the consumer court and later in dealing with the murder case of his brother in law were mostly on the track of reality.
   Priyanka was a thought provoking film depicting the ordeal of a woman{Revathi} married to a wealthy man{Jeyaram} in taking up the rape case of their servant maid who got raped my her husband's younger brother and his ruthless friends,It was Prabu who would argue the case on behalf of the affected girl and bring justice to her.The most ticklish aspects of the court scenes would be the highly indecent questions put forward to the raped girl by the lawyer{Nasser} arguing on behalf of the accused rogues. 
   Devan was mostly a cop story with Vijayakanth playing the role of an honest police officer who would be struggling to nab the criminal{Sai Kumar} for the wrongs done to the witnesses{Arun Pandian and his sister Kausalya}of his shady rice business.There were lively court interactions centering around an eminent lawyer{stylishly performed by Karthik Muthuraman}who would take up the case on behalf of the wronged man and the honest police officer. 
   I would have listed here a line of films that crossed my memory lanes with impressive portrayals of court scenes in Tamil films.I would have missed quite a lot.However the purpose of the article is to throw light on this important segment of scenic narration of court events by Tamil film makers.While films like Thanga Padhakkam,Walter Vetrivel,Manakara Kaaval, Kamala hasan's Kaaki sattai,Suriya's Singam and many other impressive police stories would have concentrated mainly on the hide and seek &chase and run concepts,there were also films like Nalla Theerpu,Needhikku Pin Paasam,Gowravam and Vidhi that had the legal and judiciary zones as their specific areas of interest for captivating cinematic.Such movies definitely took the audience on a different track of film journey and substantially impressed them with powerful dialogues and resourceful handling of cases by a team of intelligent lawyers,whose roles were delightfully performed by the popular heroes and heroines of the periods concerned.
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Saturday, May 25, 2019

Late Light on Lucifer

 



   Lucifer is Satan.Lucifer could also be Venus that rises in the morning.Here it is a combination of both.I was struggling to watch this much talked about movie Lucifer,made by one of my most favourite Malayalam heroes,Prithviraj Sukumaran. Unfortunately this box office hit came into my access much late.I know I really missed the bus.But as the maxim goes "better late than never". Prithviraj is a special hero for me not only on account of his bold role play as a gay cop in Mumbai Police but also because of his impressive shows in several other films from his debut movie Nandanam. His Classmates, Sathyam, Celluloid,Indian Rupee,Arjunan Saakshi and Memories are in my wish list of Malayalam films.But why Lucifer is special?Is it because the film is made by him or because of its wide, positive reception?
  I am sure Prithiviraj scores high on his distinct style of narration with a few scenes matching any English film that would deal with drug lords and gangsters.But in this film Politics too gets blended to these underworld realities, because,today's politics happens more in the underworld than on a transparent stage,as events with in the purview of one and all.The presence of media seems to hide more than it could reveal.Even if it reveals the darker side,it strikes a note of smear campaign for a huge reward.
   Lucifer could be juxtaposed with Mani Rathnam's Chekka Civantha Vaanam in terms of its thematic content.Though both the films focused on the gangster world,in Mani's film it was a case of gangster rivalry among siblings and there was not much of political stint in its narration.But Prithviraj has seamlessly merged politics with it, besides bringing a stark contrast in narration.The contrast is in the form of a benign cancer formulated through the saving grace of a half brother,who saves his late{ done to death}father's daughter and another son,by his Lucifer touch of stemming the rot,that was silently eating into the vitals of family and society as a malign cancer.May be we can take this as Venus destroying Satan.That is,one Lucifer is destroying its evil other.
   In addition to Prithviraj's catchy narration,Deepak Dev's background score{let us forget the Tamil and Hindi numbers}and Sujith Vaassudev's cinematography deserve a special applause for their neat contribution to this chic show.Let us also ignore Mohanlal's facial module that reminds us of his Tamil film Jilla with Vijay.All have done their part very well. However, Mohanlal as the power packed lovable Lucifer and Vivek Oberoy{Bobby} as the fiendish and smartly tucked in, loathsome Lucifer,would both linger longer,in audience memory.Beyond all these positive notes,the most inevitable interjections are 1}What a gripping movie Mohanlal's Drishyam was from the start to the finish ! 2}How buoyantly Joshy began his media might in Run Baby Run and kept the audience grooved to their seats from the beginning till the end!.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

The Sober Women of Tamil Cinema



     









     

















       
    




       It is said mankind is made up of four humours called sanguine melancholy  choler and phlegm.The mixing of four humours in a person is not usually even.Each one seems to have one or two of the humours exceeding the others.It is this potential factor that determines the character of a person.That is why people who have an excess of sanguine are always cheerful, the predominance of melancholy makes people reflect a load of sorrow all the time, that of of choler makes people prone to irritation,and people with too much of phlegm,tend to be sluggish and laid back.However,when it comes to acting one has to demonstrate the power of all the four humours as and when necessary.That is how we have seen comedians like Charlie Chaplin with a galaxy of woes in their personal life,cheering the audience with immense humour,ruling the screen shot after shot.We know pretty well that a majority of actors can easily emote with a significant presence of all the four humours or any one of the humours depending upon the contextual requirement in acting.
    Among silver screen women in the Tamil tinsel world,sanguine and melancholy humours have been found to dominate followed by choler in exceptional cases where challenges are many and the need for winning the challenge becomes a driving force like fire.However there are a few women who have been singularly meant for projecting the sorrowful side of life.These women could never fit into cheerful roles because of their inherent cry for tears.In this respect this blog would like to recall from the pages of memory,actresses like P.Kannaambaa, M.V.Rajamma,Sriranjani Jr, Pandaribai,Sowcar Janaki, S.N.Lakshmi,Oorvasi Sharadha,  R.Vijayakumari and Sujatha.
   P.Kannaambaa was one of the most powerful mothers on the Tamil screen with her highly commanding voice keeping the audience spell bound by her sober and fiery dialogue deliveries, be it a family drama or a film based on royal themes and events.She was invincible in showing anger and sorrow with her tongue and tears competing with each other.She was the most passionate mother of MGR{Thaaikupin Thaaram,Thai Sollai Thattadhe and Needhikku pin Paasam}Sivaji Ganesan{Manohara,Vanagamudi,Nichaya Thamboolam,Uthama Puthiran,  Marudha Naattu Veeran,Padikkaadha Medhai as the hero's adopting mother and Padithaal Mattum Podhumaa} and as Gemini Ganesan's mother in Nalla Theerpu,Vaazha Vaitha Dheivam and Vanjikottai Vaaliban}.After acting in the roles of Kannagi and Gnaana Soundari {both sober characters} Kannaambaa portrayed her mother roles with impressive levels of sobriety.Tamil audience associated with the touring talkieses and theatres those days,would have cried along with Kannaamba when she poured out her emotions with utmost sobriety. Humour and comedy were hardly her forte and she simply excelled in demonstrating her strength as a sober woman.
   M.V. Rajamma was a close contemporary of P.Kannaamba but unlike the latter she was known for her meekness and ever mourning voice with a shivering tone never failing to govern the role she played and the scene that she was part of.She was a multi lingual actor.If Kannamba had acted in Sivaji ganesan's Uthama  Puthiran,M.V.Rajamma had acted in its earlier version starring P.U. Chinnappa. Besides she had also acted in Citadel Films' Gnanasoundari with T.R. Maha lingam in 1948 during which year the other Gnana Soundhari was released by Gemini Pictures with P. Kannaamba playing the titular role with M.K.Radha as hero.The former was directed by F. Nagoor and the latter by Murugadasa. Both these films were released a year before I was born.It is said that the first Gnanasoundhari was based on a street play and ran successfully. Whereas Vasan's film based on history became a flop and was withdrawn from the circuit.  
   Some of the distinctly notable films of M.V.Rajamma were Thangamalai Ragasiyam,Paava Mannippu Bhaaga Pirivinai,Karnan and Bhandhapaasam, all with Sivaji Ganesan as his mother.Of these the role of Kundhidevi that she played in Karnan made the epic Maha bharatha and the film proud,on account of her powerful performance.As MGR's mother she was a sober material in films like Kudumba Thalaivan and Thedivandha Maapillai.She had also made her roles effective in Gemini Ganesan's films like Vaazhkai Padaku and Aadiperukku.Her other most notable film was Thaayilla Pillai reflecting passionate mother sentiments with Kalyaan Kumar as hero. 
   Sriranjani Jr who played pathetic roles in Parasakthi,Ratha Kanneer,Ore Vazhi,Raji En Kanmani and Thilakam was a replica of grief.Melancholy seemed to be a part of her blood and brain.Her tears were spontaneous and she could be rightly called the ever weeping woman with a passion for glycerin while acting.Her facial fitness for pathos drove her to deliver pathetic roles both in Tamil and Telugu movies.She will be ever remembered as the most sober woman of Tamil cinema.
    However,Sowcar Janaki who had sharp eyes for profuse tears which she capitalized for her role play in films like Bhagyalakshmi, Kumudham, Iru Kodukal,Kaaviya Thalaivi,Padikkadha Medhai, Paar Magale Paar and Oli Vilakku was equally fit for doing ebullient humorous roles in films like Edhir Neechal, Bhama Vijayam and Thillu Mullu. Incidentally, all the three comedies were from the Midas touch of K. Balachander who significantly used the talent of this wonderful actor both for tears and comic banter.But truly speaking.the sober mindset of Janaki dominated her character in most of the movies and she will penetrate into the hearts of the viewers,more through her sobs and tears than with her sense of humour.
     Like Sowcar Janaki,S.N.Lakshmi who was a natural actor,travelled between subtle humour and profound sorrow.With her sharp but composed delivery of dialogues she could create a tremendous impact of her role play in films like Server Sundaram,Anubhavi Raja Anubhavi, Thamarai Nenjam { as the mother of Nagesh in all the three films} Raman Ethanai Ramanadi{as the mother of Sivaji Ganesan}Thaaiku Thalai Magan,Vivasayee,Maattukaara Velan,Annamitta Kai and Pattikkaattu Ponnaiah{as MGR's mother}.In all these films she was an adorable mother of her sons with a unique combination of love,concern and rigidity in her views.She brought out the sober side of motherhood with dignity,poise and pragmatism in many other films as the mother of other prominent heroes too.
    Most often down playing her character S.N.Lakshmi created a kind of reverence for her and this reverence was nothing but an acceptance of the seriousness she imbibed and reflected through her dynamic demonstration of assertive motherhood.But one would be surprised to find that the same sober woman,easily walked away with one or two assignments meant for robust delivery of comedy in Kamalahasan's rib tickling comedies like Michael Madhana Kaama Raajan and Kaadhalaa Kaadhalaa as a nonstop kleptomaniac in the former and as the Muslim Landlady Noorjahan in the latter.The most celebrating factor about this less celebrated actor was her excellence in blending subtle humour with surging sorrow in character delineation.Beyond all this,the fact remains that she was the truest sober face of Tamil Cinema. One could always witness stork realism in the performance of this great actor who successfully brought down the theatre screens and stepped into the homes of the audience as a member of each and every family.  
     Pandari Bhai was one of the earliest actresses to delve into the depth of grief at the turn of the switch.Though initially she was paired with Sivaji Ganesan,soon she was pushed to play mother roles for the same hero.Parasakthi,Thirumbi Paar and Andha Naal were some of the Sivaji Ganesan films in which she was the pair or co star of the hero.But the mother roles she played in the earliest film Annaiyin Aanai, and later in Raja,Irumbuthirai,Iru dhuruvam  Thavapudhalvan,Gowravam {as Sivaji Ganesan's wife and adopting mother},Uthaman and Avan Oru Sarithiram brought a poignant mother son equation between her and Sivaji Ganesan besides letting her travel through the zone of tears.The same way,she brought the essence of sorrow in MGR films like Dheivathaai,Thaayin Madiyil,Kaavalkaaran,Kudiyirundha Koil, Adimai Penn ,Oru Thaai Makkal and Pallaandu Vaazhka, as MGR's most adored mother.She also appeared as the brooding elder sister of MGR in the blockbuster film Enga Veettu Pillai. and as his elder brother's wife in Nam Nadu.Later she was seen as the partially paralyzed mother of Rajinikanth, in Sivaji Productions' Mannan. Misery and Pandaribai were both inseparable on the screen and this pious actor like the venerable V. Nagaiah  brilliantly demonstrated the intensity of pathos and grief. Pandaribai was a thoroughly sober actor who came from Karnataka to bring tears in the eyes of the Tamil audience,while she sobbed and wept in subdued grace.
    Oorvasi Sharadha who hailed from the Telugu region was the most wanted woman of Malayalam and Tamil Cinema to do sorrow laden roles because her profile and pattern of acting naturally embraced tragic roles with a stamp of originality and agonizing display of the character's predicament.Who can forget her amazing performance in Thulaabaaram made in Malayalam and Tamil,with the same title.This immortal portrayal of a grief struck woman fittingly fetched her the Oorvasi award for her efficacy in presenting the gloomy side of life without any exaggeration in acting.Her characterization in films like Kungumam,Gnana Oli {as the younger sister of Sivaji Ganesan,in the sorrowful role of an unwed mother}Ninaithathai Mudippavan{ as the physically challenged younger sister of M.G.R}and finally in A.V.M's Mr.Bharat as a hapless construction worker betrayed by the site engineer{played by Satyaraj}, was a clear testimony to the fact that she was a special actor meant for playing any kind of tragic role with absolute sobriety.Her other films include Thulasi Maadam,Vaazhkai Vaazhvadharke,Sarithira Nayagan and Ennaipol Oruvan.Sharadha emphatically cast her indelible sober face, on the big screen.
     C.R. Vijayakumari who stood as the rare Tamil face of Tamil cinema,in her love for the Tamil language and the way she uttered Tamil dialogues,was both a symbol of courage and despair.As the successful pair and life partner of the famous Dravidian actor S.S.Rajendran,she could cry and shout simultaneously.Perhaps that is why Mekala pictures booked her for portraying the role of Kannagi in Poompuhar.She had reflected feminine courage and anger against injustice in several films.Besides Poompuhar films such as Kumudham,Kaakkum Karangal,Kaanchi Thalaivan,Saradha and Raja Raja Cholan exhibited her intrinsic flair for courage to fight for justice.However,she was primarily a sober actress fixing herself easily into tear shedding moments on the screen.Kalyana Parisu,Naanum Oru Penn,Policekaran Makal,Paadha Kaanikkai,Dheivathin Dheivam and Avan Pithana were some of her noteworthy films representing the untold sufferings of women,through her impressive performance. Vijayakumari's shivering voice was an added strength towards playing pitiable roles.She was certainly a sober face of Tamil cinema,despite the fact that she never failed to raise her voice for establishing truth.
      Sujatha who joined the Tamil film industry much later than all the aforesaid actors,began her career with her first appearance in K.Balachander's Aval Oru Thodarkadhai bearing the burden and brunt of a big family,suppressing all her personal desires and expectations in life.The character was loaded with pains and the great director very well understood that Sujatha was the fittest person to don such a wretched role,with a routine of anguish slapping her psyche.Following this,most of her characters in widely complimented films like Avarkal, Kadal Meengal,Oru Oothaappoo Kan Simittukiradhu,Mayangukiraal Oru Maadhu,Annakili, Unnai Naan Sandhithein,Dheepam,Andhamaan Kaadhali,Amaithi Padai,Vaazhndhu Kaattukirein, and Vidhi established her credibility for exhibiting gripping levels of performance.
    Sujatha was one of the softest actors but her softness was bound to firmness with an unflinching frame of mind never yielding to unethical pressures and oppressive control of her voice for reasoning and rightness of behaviour. Even in mother characters she was always seen with a kind of stiffness blended in pathos as seen in Vaathiyaar,Kodi Parakkuthu, Mangamma Sabadham,Theerpu,Uzhaippaali,Aval Varuvaalaa, Uyire Unakkaaga and several others.There was a hidden feminist voice never willing to be silenced my male chauvinism and the sober dimension of her character portrayal was a clear indication of feminine dignity bent upon fighting any trace of insult thrown upon womanhood. 
    To conclude,Tamil cinema has a galaxy of talented women capable of performing a variety of characters.But the women mentioned here are known for their grasp of the power of womanhood as wives and mothers.Their solemnity is a stamp of their commitment to the dignity of womanhood in a society mired in tendencies of gender discrimination and suppression of the rights of women towards independence and privacy.The sober stuff of the actors listed here would speak volumes of the grandeur of womanhood.
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Friday, May 3, 2019

D Imman's melody parade

   

    Immanuel Vasanth Dinakaran,popularly known as D.Imman is one of the leading young musical voices of Tamil cinema.He began his musical career as a teen age music director with Vijay's fairly received film Thamizhan released in 2002.Whenever I listen to his melodious numbers my nostalgic nerves take me to the days of another melodious music director V.Kumar who spread his amazing wings of rhythms under the patronage of Tamil cinema's proud filmmakers like K.Balachander and Muktha V.Srinivasan.V.Kumar had in fact composed music for maximum number of Balachander's films starting from the latter's first film Neerkumizhi.
    Some of the scintillating melodies of late V.Kumar were Aadi Adangum Vaazkaiyada {Neerkumizhi}Oru Naal Yaaro{Major Chandrakanth} Maalaiyil Sandhithein{Edhir Neechal} Naan Unnai Vaazhthi Paadukirein {Nootrukku Nooru} Punnakai Mannan Poovizhi Kannan {Iru Kodukal}Kaadhoduthaan Naan Pesuven{Velli Vizha} all Balachander films and songs like Nalla Naal Paarkavo{Bommalaattam}Vilakke Nee Thandha Olinaane {Niraikudam}and Thillaiyile Sabaabadhi{Aayiram Poi}all the three films in brackets made by Muktha V.Srinivasan. The other most fascinating melody of V.Kumar was the song Engellaam Valaiyosai Ketkinradho in the governing voice of TMS for the film Vegulipenn.Incidentally it should be mentioned here that it is D.Imman who lent his musical quotient for the films Naan Avan Illai{2} and Ninaivil Ninraval which were also the titles of films once made by K.Balachander and Muktha V. Srinivasan respectively
   The comparison between the new generation music composer D.Imman and the last century's V.Kumar arose in my mind on account of the ecstatic spirit of soothing layers pervading through the pattern of composition,empowering the creative imagination of both of them to travel on a similar track.Take for instance a song like "Ayyayyo Aanandhame" from the film Kumki {for which film D.Imman won the national award for best musical composition}that took us on an exalted plane of seamless blending of joy and the pang of suffering,reflecting an exotic romantic experience.
    How passionately D.Imman brought home the essence of bliss through the melody of a distinct tune,effectively embracing the rich vocal grandeur of Hari Charan.No doubt Prabu Solomon found his compatible wave length with D.Imman as K.Balachander did with V.Kumar and inducted him for his other two films Kayal and Myna.It was this spirit of compatibility that resulted in songs like Paravaiyaa Porakkanum{Hari Charan} and Unna Ippa Paakkanum [Hari Charan with Vandana Srinivasan} from the film Kayal and the song Neeyum Naanum from Myna,sung by Benny Dayal and Shreya Goshal!
    Some of the lasting songs from this musician's magic wand are Azhagiya Asura in Anitha Chandrasekar's vanquishing voice {Whistle} Madhura Jillaa { by Karthik &Kalpana for Thiruvilaiyaadal Aarambam}Oodhaa Kalaru Ribbon sung by Vijay Super singer fame Hariharasudan{Varuthapadaadha Vaalibar Sangam}Verasaa Poravale {Jilla} and Sengadhire Sengadhire {Kadaikutti Singam},both sung by Imman himself,Unmela oru Kannu {Rajini Murugan}sung by Jithin Raj and Mahalakshmi Ayer,Usure Usure Naandhaane {Karuppan} by Ananya Bhat,Ammaadi un Azhagu Vegudhoolu {Vellaikaaradhurai}sung by Vijay supersinger fame Sathyaprakash,Pidikudhe {Sigaram Thodu}from the voices of Jithin Raj and Shreya Goshal and Kandaangi Kandaangi sung by Ilaya Thalabadhi Vijay with Shreya Goshal for Jilla.The latest most mesmerizing songs from D.Imman have been Vaaney Vaaney{Hariharan& Shrey Goshal} and Kannaana Kanne in the captivating voice of Sid Sriram for the recent Ajith blockbuster Viswasam.
    D.Imman has also tuned some numbers that would make the audience stand up and dance. Some of the songs in this category are the buoyant song Dubuku Dubuku delivered by Imman and Anuradha Sriram for the film Giri, Silukku Marame Silukku Marame {Vishal's Paayum Puli}Jingunamani Jingunamani sung by Ranjith with Sunidhi Chauhan and Yeppa Mama Treatu rendered by Vijay Super singer fame,Pooja Vaidyanath, with D.Imman and Snigdha Chandra {both from Jilla}.
   I would have left out some of the other widely received songs of this ever growing vibrant music director representing the aesthetic aspirations of the new generation.It is a known fact that today competition is very high in most fields of creative performance.Human talent seems to be expanding in astounding proportions thanks to the exposure to new technology waves and winnable goals.The more the openings,the greater and stronger the competition.We have a long list of energetic and competent performers in the music field inseparably welded to the big and small screens.
     Impressive show of music composers like Vijay Antony,Anirudh Ravichander and G.V.Prakash keeps the music lovers among the youth vigorously engrossed in different genres of music,In the midst of the competitive march of these growing guys,Imman calmly carries on his musical parade with an unrelenting passion for melodies.This distinct feature becomes the special asset of D. Imman who fairly satiates the film lovers' incessant quest for qualitative music by his soothing submission of tunes that hardly fail to reach our ears and reboot our lost emotions.
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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The Side Door Actor

 




   Thalaivasal Vijay carries his prefix from the film Thalaivasal in which he first acted in 1992.The Tamil word thalaivasal also means the main entrance door in English.However,Vijay has always been playing roles through the side doors making his mark as a truly notable face of Tamil Cinema.Besides acting in a vast number of Tamil films he has also acted in about thirty Malayalam movies and a few Telugu films. His frequent roles have been on the negative side as a selfish opportunist {Unnai Ninaithu and Devan} a pimp {Gokulathil Seedhai}a drunkard {Thevar Mahan}a deceitful guy{Arul and Sanda Kozhi}and a terrorist {Vallarasu and Rajasthaan} As a wrong doer and a manipulator thrusting his wrongs on others,Thalaivasal Vijay has always excelled others with an unmistakable sweetness and credibility.
   Thalivasal Vijay has been the favourite of directors like Agathiyan {Kadhal Kottai and Gokulathil Seethai}Fazil {Kaadhalukku Mariyaadhai,Kannukkul Nilavu}and Radha Mohan {Abhiyum Naanum, Payanam and Brindhavanam}.He has acted with all prominent heroes like Kamalahasan,Vijayakanth, Sarath Kumar,Ajith,Vijay,Surya,Vishal,Danush and several others.His assertive dialogue delivery has chiefly been his special attraction and this delightful talent has enabled him to perform effectively as a dubbing artist for other language actors.
   Thalaivasal Vijay can as breezily get into the roles of professionals like lawyers and doctors with an estimable stamp as he can,into poverty stricken characters longing for a lift in life.He has not only been an absolute pretender on the big screen but also a trustworthy loyalist, though most of the characters he has done have shown him as an aspiring individual ready to sacrifice his qualms for what he aspires to be.He once lost his identity completely in a vengeful role with an exotic make up in Lingusamy's Sanda Kozhi. With protruding teeth,limping legs and Madurai slang, he made his identity as an actor totally untraceable.
   His roles would have been small or substantial.But his performance potential fixed him rightly into his role play and he perfectly breathed a kind of freshness in character portrayal,with his shivering voice reaching the ears of the audience through his scintillating dialogues,passed on in a flawless pattern.It often looks as though this different type of actor does not reach the course of events through the main door,but side steps to get noticed for the impact it makes on the course of events narrated by any film maker.No doubt,his side door appearance quite often surpasses the main course characters through his outstanding supporting presence,in the serious narration of powerful story lines.Now he is also making an indelible impression on the small screen along with Revathi,through his impeccable delineation of the role of a retired school teacher in the popular television serial Azhagu that is being telecast by the SUN TV network.
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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The Rural Best of Heroes



 

























    



      Until the late nineteen sixties the urban-rural divide was an insignificant factor in India and so Tamil cinema,was deeply oriented to the then existing belief that India's soul was in the villages.Most of the films made,were either based on historical fiction or related to life in villages because India was then more a land of villages than of towns.Hence it was difficult to say during those decades,who were the heroes fit for urban stories and who would rightly fit into characters of the rural tales.
   Take for instance the case of MGR.His facial composition was absolutely unfit for the rural roots,though he did films like Thaaikku Pin Thaaram,Periya Idathu Penn,Vivasaayee,Pattikkaattu Ponnaiah,Maattukkaaravelan and so on, ebulliently.One would love to see him in royal garbs or in highly sophisticated urban roles like those of a doctor or lawyer or cop.In fact,for the Tamil audience the mere appearance of MGR on screen would do.His roles were immaterial for them.One should really be blessed to be loved by so many people without any expectation and MGR was truly blessed in this regard,taking himself closer to the people of the Tamil soil,through stereotyped roles of a do gooder and the Good Samaritan.Hence the urban rural divide did not matter in his role delineation.
    Whereas, Sivaji Ganesan not only clearly marked this division but also made his acting career a compendium of human life with its galaxy of characters and events.He had a face made for characters of all sorts and with that he created a world of faces and moved far beyond towns and villages into chronicles and myths.However,some of his wonderful rural films were Makkalai Petra Makaraasi, Bhaaga Pirivinai,Paava Mannippu,Pazhani,Kulama Gunama,Enga Oor Raja,Pattikaadaa Pattanamaa,Savaale Samaali, Kalthoon,Padikkadha Pannaiyaar and so on.Of these,his role as Sengodan in Makkalai Petra Magarasi and that of Mookaiyyan in Pattikkaadaa Pattanamaa were perfect revelations of rural fragrance and fineness. Sivaji Ganesan stoutly established the pride and glory of what a village life means in P. Madhavan's rural blockbuster Pattikaadaa Pattanamaa.With the Chevalier's magnificent role play the village voice reached newer heights,spreading the splendour of farming and labour.
   Gemini Ganesan's profile was never made of the rural stuff,though his performance made its punch in films like Devar's Vaazha Vaitha Dheivam,AVM's Kakathur Kannamma,Raamu, K.S.Gopalakrishnan's Karpagam and later in his natural performance as a respectable village elder in Vijayakanth's Ponmana Chelvan and K.Balachander's Unnaal Mudiyum Thambi.He also caused some lighter moments with rural breeze in Sundar.C's Mettukudi.The next generation heroes like Jai Shankar and Ravichandran changed the track by travelling mostly on action zones.But still Jai Shankar's Mukoortha Naal and Ravichandran's Kumari Penn contained a lot of worthy rural material. R.Muthuraman's unique rural shows were Sondham and Namma Veetu Theivam and Mudhalali and Manapandal remained as the rural best of S.S.Rajendran.
    While Sivakumar quite often proved to be unique for urban roles,his characterization in films like Ponnukku Thanga Manasu,Rosaappu Ravikkai Kaari,Vandichakkaram, Annakkili Pudhuvellam  and Pattikaattu Raja were films denoting  innate village vibes and flair for playing rural characters with comfortable ease and captivating vigour. 
   Rajinikanth's face carries a significant rural charm.Despite the Super Star image his films like Engeyo Ketta Kural,Mullum Malarum,Kaali,Murattu Kaalai,Thambikku Endha Ooru, Dharmadhurai,Raajaadhi Raajaa and Muthu could be called unique village stories establishing the rural appeal so spontaneously evoked by the convincing facial indicators of this invincible actor. Rajinikanth's earliest stamp as an uncouth villain called Parattai in Bharathiraja's debut film Padhinaaru Vayadhinile astoundingly established his rough and tough rural moorings.  
    Contrarily,his contemporary Kamalahasan is like Gemini Ganesan whose rural hold is just half way through.But he has a few remarkable rural films in his archives such as Padhinaaru Vayadhinile,Sakala Kalaa Vallavan,Singara Velan, Mahanadhi and Virumaandi,wonderfully celebrating village vibrations leaving indelible impressions in audience memory.As Sappaani wearing just his loins,Kamal memorably personified the poverty of a little hamlet and walked away with a national award under the brilliant direction of Bharati Raja.The next two films in the list were great humour shows and the last two were gripping displays of rural innocence, back stabs and justifiable revenge blows.His Devar Makan on the other hand exhibited the plight of an educated youth from a village undergoing the trauma of incorrigible family feud and vendetta,embedded in fundamental flaws of a community waiting to be refined and liberated from its thirst for blood.
    Sathyaraj is a hardcore village hero.Besides his amazing cop role in Walter Vetrivel,his exclusive stylish roles were for films like Makkal En Pakkam,Airport,Jeeva,Anna Nagar Muthal Theru and Brhamma.Otherwise,starting from the role of a crude wolfish village chieftain in Mani Rathnam's Pakal Nilavu,till his striking character display as a village big guy craving for a male child in Kadaikutti Singam,Sathyaraj seems to have felt more comfortable with the fabulous streets of the villages belonging to Pollachi and Coimbatore.Be it Vaazhkai Chakkaram or Vela Kedachiduchu or films like Chinna Thambi Periya Thambi,Vaathiyaar Veetu Pillai,Kunguma Pottu Gounder,Kadalora Kavidhaikal,Thaai Maaman and Thirumathi Pazhanichamy it was a village parade of Satyaraj with his innate robust mischief in combination with Goundamani or Manivannan.The best in the lot was his dynamic portrayal as Balu Thevar in Bharatiraja's immortal film Vedham Puthithu.Satyaraj could be rightly called the most vibrating rural hero of Tamil Cinema.
    Following Sathyaraj was Sarathkumar,commanding the village locales in memorable films like Periya Gounder Ponnu,Cheran Paandian,Namma Annachi,Naattaamai,Natpukkaaga, Sooriya Vamsam and Aiyya.Though Kongu Tamil is not his native dialect he has rendered it so well in several films directed by K.S. Ravikumar. Interestingly,in most of the films he did dual roles as father and son casting a striking note of difference in character delineation.Like Satyaraj,Saratkumar has felicitously projected his rural profiles.
    Captain Vijayakanth who has impressively cast a niche for himself in cop roles and characters of persons belonging to the army and top notch bureaucracy,has quite a lot of films to speak about his rustic and affirmative rural depiction of roles.The best in the lot is that of a dignified and gloried village chieftain,reputed for his fairness in deposition of justice and personal integrity that never deviates from the path of justice. Vijayakanth's role in Chinna Gounder was the most illustrious milestone in his acting career and he rightly deserved an award for his role play.The other remarkable village roles of Vijayakanth were for films like Naane Raja Naane Mandhiri,Amman Koil Kizhakkaale,Vaidhekhi Kaathirundhaal, Kannupada Povudhayyaa,Thavasi and Sokka Thangam.Like Rajinikanth,his complexion and ruggedness perfectly got him wedded to his rural roles with an extraordinary stamp of nativity that is found to be missing in the dialogue delivery of the Superstar.
   Tamil cinema's universal village hero is Ramarajan whose films like Karakaattakkaaran, Enga Ooru Paatukkaaran and many films ending with the Raasaa suffix,took his profile far away from the urban side.His story line,costumes and dialogue delivery,made him breathe the rural air and stamped his hero image inseparably to the radiating rural streets.Throughout his acting career Ramarajan remained as the one and only rural hero.However the best of his rural films were Enga Oor Paattukkaaran,Pongi Varum Kaveri,Manasukketha Maharaasaa, Thangamaana Rasa,Karakattakkaaran and Thangathin Thangam.
   Between the heirs of Sivaji Ganesan and R.Muthuraman,Prabu's best rural films were Ninaivu Chinnam,Chinna Thambi,Parambarai and Mitta Miraasu. Of these Chinna Thambi scored a special place as an immortal rural love story in audience memory and as a profound celebration of innocent youth. Karthik Muthuraman's splendid rural blockbusters were Alaikal Oivadhillai,Pandi Naattu Thangam,Varusham Padhiraaru and Kizhakku Vaasal.The last two in the list were extraordinary crowd pullers on account of the astute direction of Fazil and R.V.Udhayakumar and the soul searching music of the musical prophet Ilayaraja.   
    Among the other new generation  heroes,Vijay's rural best were Thiruppaachi and Sivakasi while Ajith is precisely an urban hero with his exceptional role in Veeram. Whereas His super hit film Viswasam shuttles between a village in Madhurai and Mumbai,despite the fact Ajith's delivery of dialogue carries a perfect grasp and delivery of the rural slang of Madhurai region. Madhavan, Arvindswamy and Abbas are all stamped with a city image though Madhavan's Dum Dum Dum and Aravinswamy's Thaalaattu could be seen as exceptions. Prashant's Winner contained a lot of the village stock. Vikram's Kaadhal Sadugudu was an exalting rural love story.
    Sivakumar's elder son mostly moved away from village stories excepting his role in Hari's Aaru. Nevertheless,his younger son Karthi gave us the two amazing rural films Komban and Kadaikutti Singam besides his debut film Paruthi Veeran. Karthi's face seems to be culled for village characters despite the fact that he made a fascinating demonstration of his urban strength in films like Paiyyaa,Thozhan and Kaatru Veliyidai.Some of the other films that enticed the rural audience in the recent past were Siva Kartikeyan's Rajini Murugan and Vijay Sethupathi's Karuppan.
    As film heroes have to don different types of characters it is the over all performance 
potential of a hero that determines his longstanding position in silver screen.But villages are the backbone of human life and the events and characters surrounding the rural milieu form a predominant part of the film medium and hence  heroes' ability to place themselves comfortably in a rural story line both in terms of body and mind,takes them closer to the rural masses and increases their popularity levels.In this respect it could be said that outstanding heroes like Sivaji Ganesan RajiniKanth and Kamalahasan can conveniently shuttle between the metropolises and mind blowing villages as characters inseparably linked to the environment. But heroes like Satyaraj,Vijayakanth,Ramarajan,Sarath Kumar and Karthik Sivakumar are closer to the villages with their body and spirit communing with the fields and farm houses.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

The Film maker after names of places.




      Film directors hold their unique positions in several aspects of film making.Apart from the choice of their pet themes,suitable story line and course of narration, they reflect their singularity in the choice of titles for their films. Gautham Menon for instance, is enamoured of lengthy titles such as Vinnai Thaandi Varuvaayaa?Pachai Kili Muthu Charam and Acham Enbadhu Madmaiyada.Some of his titles also reveal his fascination for MGR's film songs. Mysskin is known for disturbing titles such as Pisaasu and Savara Kathi. In a similar manner, we have Perarasu who has named all the seven films he he has directed,after names of places.The only film that does not bear the name of a place as its title, is a Malayalam film directed by him{Samrajyam II Son of Alexander}
    Before directing his first successful film Thirupachi,Perarasu has acted in insignificant roles{as a reporter and a doctor} in films like Edhirum Pudhirum and Arasaatchi. His first film with Vijay as hero, became a great commercial hit, because of its highly energizing sequence of events,siblings' sentimental attachment,speed in narration and heart throbbing music, composed by three music directors like, Devi Sri Prasad,Mani Sharma and singer Dhina.The film had a huge cast with abundant scope for villainy exhibited by Aryan {as Paan Parag Ravi},Pasupathi{as Pattaasu Balu} and Kotta Srinivasa Rao{as Saniyan Sagada}.
    By giving distinct names to rowdies, Perarasu took the onus of narrating the story effectively, by loading its weight completely on the shoulders of Vijay, who played the role of an unflinching villager, bent upon eradicating rowdyism fouling the city of Chennai.This he does, not simply for the sake of his sister married to a city guy, but for all men and women, to breathe the fresh air of peace and happiness in the crowded metropolis.The film was a total entertainer and became a dynamic launch pad for the directorial prowess of Perarasu. The fact that Super Good Movies of R.B Chowdhri produced the film,added to its distribution value and success formula besides the victory tag of actor Vijay.
     Perarasu was fortunate to have big production houses to produce his films.Apart from R.B.Chowdhri,it was A.M.Rathnam who produced Perarasu's next film Sivakasi, another Vijay film and later on, Dharmapuri,a Vijayakanth movie.While Thirupathi starring Ajit was an AVM film,his Thiruvannamalai starring Arjun went into the hands of Pushpa Kandasamy of Kavidhalaya Production unit. Perarasu's Pazhani and Thiruthani, both  Bharath films,were produced by Sakthi Chidambaram and Chokkalingam Subburaj respectively.Though all the seven films of Perarasu were watchable in terms of their vibrant action mode, it is only the first two films with Vijay as Hero, that speak high of his directorial efficacy.
   The themes and story background of Perarasu's films are backed by rural happenings as family and social events. mixed of good and evil.If Thirupaachi was a tale of brother sister fine bonding of affection,Sivakasi unfolded the tug off war between an evil elder brother and his redeeming younger brother.The film was a cauldron of challenges between the two revolving around both funny and furious sequences. Pazhani once again focused on sister-brother equations with the younger brother struggling to reform his ruffian brother in law and bring harmony in the married life of his sister.Here too,there were challenges and smart execution of challenges.All the films of Perarasu delve into the world of social and political crimes involving M L As{Thiruvannamalai}medicos{Thiruppathi} and anti social thugs.Thiruthani is the only film where the hero dies in the hands of the police.
    The musical quality of his films belong to the moderate category because excepting the first two films which carried the mesmerizing effect of music, the rest of his films did not leave any memorable mark.While Srikanth Deva composed music for Sivakasi,Pazhani,Dharmapuri and Thiruvannamala,Bharadvaj took up music composition for Thiruppadhi and Perarasu himself took care of the music segment for Thiruthani.Perarasu is not only fond of places as titles of his films  but is also consistently dedicated to his passionate zone of sentimental melodrama and retrieval of family and society from the deeply infected evils of criminality,violence and injustice.
   Most of his films were action bonanzas with Thiruppachi and Sivakasi stealing the show.Just as his films carry the names of places as their titles,the names of the places will some how or other bring to one's memory the films of Perarasu and their level of impact on the minds of film viewers.Incidentally,there came a film bearing his own name Perarsu as its title and this action film starring Captain Vijayakanth,Prakash Raj and Sharat Babu reiterated the power of his name through elements of dynamism and force,making the the title of the film and name of the director after names of places, stay long in the memory of the audience. 
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Monday, March 4, 2019

The off the track films of Bharathiraja










    Everybody knows that P.Bharathiraja is the prime film maker of rural romance,succulent with the unsurpassed quintessence of village routine.Starting from his Padhinaaru Vayadhinile he took us on a sweet journey,through the cute and crooked streets of hamlets and bigger villages,to experience the precious happenings in most villages,especially those  in southern Tamil Nadu.Films like Kizhakke Pogum Rayil,Niram Maaraadha Pookkal, Nizhalkal,Pudhiya Vaarpukal,Puthu Nellu Puthu Naathu,Alaikal Oivadhillai, Karuthammaa, Kadalora Kavidhaikal,Vedham Pudhithu,Nadodi Thenral, Mudhal Mariyaadhai,Kizhakkuch Cheemaiyile and Pasumpon would ever remain as rural masterpieces,from the sublime creative soul of this amazing film maker.
    But there is another side of this outstanding director of Tamil films.He has not hesitated to travel off the track and make action films,action thrillers and psychological thrillers for a change.At least six films stand to his credit in this regard.They are 1}Sigappu Rojaakkal 2}Tik Tik Tik 3}Oru Kaidhiyin Diary 4}Kodi Parakkudhu 5}Captain Magal and 6}Thamizh Selvan. Kamalahasan was the hero of the first three films in the list. Kodiparakkudhu was made as a special Rajinikanth action thriller. Kushbu and Raja shared the screen space in Captain Makal. Captain Vijayakanth as district collector made Thamizh Selvan a different kind of movie for the director. While Bharatiraja himself wrote the story for the first two,K.Bhagyaraj took up the onus of writing the story for Oru Kaidhiyin Diary.It was R.Selvaraj who provided the story line for Kodi Parakkuthu and Captain Makal.The film Thamizh Selvan travelled on the story of M. Rathnakumar.
   Of these six films,Sigappu Rojaakkal and Oru Kaidhiyin Diary received rave reviews on account of the classic role performance of Kamalahasan as a misogynist and psychologically perverted male in the former and as a personally victimized political follower,wreaking vengeance against the wrong doers in the latter.That too in dual roles,as the wronged father and dutiful son in police uniform in Oru Kaidhiyin Diary,Kamal created new performance records at the early stage of his acting career.While Sridevi meekly fascinated the audience in Sigappu Rojaakkal,Radha and Revadhi stole the show by their charm and smartness in Oru Kaidhiyin Diary.Both these films received repeated audience at the theatres during the years of safety of Tamil Cinema,free from the threats of Video Piracy.
  Tik Tik Tik was a suspense thriller with a kind of usual spicy additions of glamour and stunts of an action film.It was a moderate show depicting sophisticated romance and subhuman violence.It revolved around a tale of nefarious smuggling of diamonds inserted in the body of women models without their knowledge {by drugging them}and killing them after removing the diamonds from their body.It was a film of abundant glamour,contributed by the three popular actresses,viz Madhavi,Radha and Swapna.With absolute thriller effect,it brought out the fact that Bharathiraja was far above his stamped image of an exclusive rural film maker.Despite all the enticing ingredients,Tik Tik Tik did not toe the victory march of the other two Kaml films made by Bharatiraja.
    Kodi Parakkuthu was an indisputable Rajini film with his inimitable style formulations and dialogue delivery.This was once again an action thriller with Manivannan first donning the role of a horrid villain,with the powerful voice support of Bharati Raja. Murder mysteries formed the crux of the story line and Rajinikanth as a dynamic cop under the mask of a local rowdy did not fail to throw his pep and performance,potential to the utmost satisfaction of his fans. Amala's charming role play and Sujatha's pathetic profile,were the other supporting factors of this action thriller,though it failed to make a hit at the box office.The other action thriller Captain Makal which was greatly anticipated became a dampener,for want of consistent vigour in narration.
   Tamizh Selvan was in fact a decent action film,with political undertones reflecting the conflict between upright bureaucracy and the corrupt political system.Subdued narration and Vijayakanth's underplay of the role of a district collector without resorting to undue verbal blow ups,were the major positive factors of this action film blended with breezy narration.I still remember the peaceful march of all bureaucrats lining up with candles in their hands for the recovery of their collector hero,from a political attack on his life.Unlike most other Vijayakanth films,it was a slow moving course that would have left his hardcore fans high and dry.But for those who would look for a direct and realistic portrayal of events and characters,the film was undoubtedly a qualitative product.
  The intention of this article is to show how film makers at times deviate from their pet paths and travel on different tracks,just for the sake of experiencing something uncommon in their creative process,as and when they get inspired to try something diagonal,to their ideologically compatible genres of narration.In this respect,Bharathiraja has delightfully travelled off his most inspiring rural track.
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Sunday, February 24, 2019

A movie strictly rooted to values.





   It needs greater grit to make a film totally theme bound and give a clean product. Seenu Ramasamy has been a hard core adorer of absolute conviction as an evolving and commanding goal of life.He does not like to visit the ugly side of life through his cinematic vision.Starting from Koodal Nagar he has carried on his mission of beautifying themes,events and characters through his creamy narration in films like Then Merku Paruvakatru {for which he won the national award for best film} Neerparavai and Dharmadhurai.His latest release Kanne Kalimane is no exception to his exalting process of film making. Goodness is the core value of this film..Here all characters are good and even a greedy money lender is made to apologize for his wild behaviour.
  Nature is budding with its high energy levels of freshness and charm.Organic farming gains currency.There is a lot of critical observation of the existing low downs in the system,such as the predicament of farmers laid up with the burden of agricultural loans,the onslaught of NEET on rural students,the support that the weaving society needs and the higher interest rates involved in raising bank loans for education.The film captivates the audience through the visual greenery of a rain fed village.In the midst of the pleasant locales and loving family norms,there comes an enchanting love story where nothing is exaggerated and nothing is unreal.
  Events take place as they do in most villages in Tamil Nadu.Characters move on gliding through the line of the story,like people sailing through their daily routine in real life.There is no silver screen romance.It happens in the simplest manner as a man and woman coming together on positive notes,with clear perceptions of whether their love would end up in marriage or not and if they get married,how their  life is going to be.Love fructifies into marriage as a sequel to a kind of Satyagraha resorted to by the hero Udhayanidhi Stalin,who in his usual vein,walks through the delicate pathways of his assigned role,without any of the conventional celluloid hero norms.It is good that Udhayanidhi is becoming a director's actor instead of trying to do the impossible of a mass hero.His histrionic calibre has been growing on an upward scale and the one scene where he breaks down into the shoulders of his paternal grand mother will prove his innate capacity to emote as naturally as possible.
  Tamannaah is exuberantly compact in her role with a ripe understanding of her character requirements and she is impressively convincing in her levels of acting.It is Vadivukkarasi who steals the show with her brief cutting dialogues pregnant with profound emotions and possessive parameters.A lovely grand mother she is,both to her grandson and later on to her to her grandson's wife,whom she passionately declares as her grand daughter.Her contextual comparisons of her grand daughter in law to late Prime Minister Indhira Gandhi,carries a powerful punch and creates instant laughter.
    Poo Ramu as the hero's father excels in his role play with a mature grasp of life's realities and a meek facilitation of his son's post marital life.It is a lucky team of father and son with a silent understanding of their love and dedication to each other.In this way it becomes a perfect unison of the paternal-filial formulations.Everybody does their role neatly including Vasundhara Kashyap who appears as Muthulakshmi,the school mate-cum friend of the hero.
  Jalandhar Vasan's Cinematography is as much rooted to the theme of the film,as the narration of Seenu Ramasamy is,to the story line. Kasi Viswanathan's editing keeps the narration as a continuous progress of seamless weaving,seemingly in tune with the fact,that the heroine hails from a family of weavers. Yuvan  Shankar Raja's music is a fascinating chunk of felicitous numbers, letting the audience sit up to the tunes without hurting their ears.Starting from the initial rural festival song, all songs were a pleasant audio treat especially the last one with a splendid tribute to love,is really heart warming.Two lines of this special song, if translated into English,will go as follows."There is nothing either small or big in love.All drops of a river are equal"{அன்பில் சிறிது பெரிதென்று கிடையாதே; ஆற்றில் சகல துளியும் சமமே} 
  The other melodious number Neenda Malare Neenda Malare by Yaazin Nizar and Shwetha Pandit will keep lingering in audience memory for long.Altogether Yuvan and Vairamuthu deserve a lovely pat for ideally enriching the musical quotient of the film.
   The pathway to good goals,needs considerable patience and determination to achieve them.The same way it requires commendable patience to watch a film of this kind,rooted to the nobler values of life and goodness of mind.In both the cases the patience is definitely worth the experience.