Saturday, February 2, 2019

Tamil Cinema's Two Glorious,Spiritual Biographies .

    






















     Biography and History are meant for a specific group of persons who have an exceptional interest to travel with time.Be it books or films these two genres survive on the structure of factual veracity and genuineness in narration.Tamil films have celebrated history,myths and several other genres of narration to the extent of keeping the audience greatly involved in the experience of watching grand events on the big screen.In this regard this blog is proud of recording two fabulous biographical narrations in the form of unique category of films carrying many similar notes and a few contrary aspects too.These two films despite their moderate show at the box office would remain as irreplaceable assets in the archives of Tamil Cinema.
   Both the films were released in the Nineteen Sixties one in 1962 and the other in 1964.The former was titled Pattinathaar,depicting the profile of a staunch Shiva devotee and the latter was named Arunagirinadhar,portraying the spiritual grandeur of the saint who wrote a collection of spiritual verses called The Thiruppugazh.The story line of the film Pattinathaar was a joint contribution of the famous Tamil lyricist,Thanjai Ramaiahdas and Akilan,the reputed Tamil writer of historical novels.The film produced under the banner of J.R.Productions was directed by K.Somu. In fact there was an earlier version of Pattinathar released in 1936 in which M.M. Danapani Desikar portrayed the role of Pattinathar.T.C Vadivelu Naickar wrote the story line and produced the film which was directed by M.T. Rajan. Whereas,Arunagirinadhar produced by Baba Art Productions,was directed by the well known director T.R.Ramanna.The story line was the creative work of Sakthi T.K. Krishnasamy.
   There were many similarities between the two films with regard to their thematic content, casting and musical composition.As far as the theme factor is concerned,the chief characters of 'Patinathar' and 'Arunagirinadhr' had an infamous past. While the routine of Pattinathaar alias Thiruvengadar was entangled in wealth and greed,Arunagirinathar was notorious for cherishing a routine of debauchery and moral depravity.Both the protagonist roles were played by the monumental playback singer T.M.Soundarajan and it was M.R.Radha who played the villain in both the films.It was G.Ramanathan who composed music for the two films though for Arunagirinathar,T.R. Paapaa happened to complete the musical composition of the film after the passing away of G. Ramanathan in 1963.
    However,there were also remarkable differences between the two films in various other aspects.For instance,Thiruvengadar living in Poompuhar{earlier known as Kaveripattinam} was chosen by Lord Shiva to head the spiritual path,on being gifted with a divine baby who would later on teach the wealthy merchant-cum-adopting father,the futility of wealth reflected by a meaningful display of cow dung cakes and a needle without eyelet.
   Whereas Arunagirinadhar hailing from Tiruvannamalai,was hell bent after sensual pleasures in the line of Dr.Faustus of Greek mythology,who entered into an evil agreement with the devil Mephistopheles,that thrust his soul in the hands of the devil in exchange for a life bound for the pleasure zone.But unlike Faustus whose cry for redemption was not heeded to by God, Arunagirinadhar who became a leper ended up in frustration and was about to end his life when Lord Muruga the supreme god of the Tamil race and the Tamil language,retrieved him from his wretched state of leprosy and transformed him into a saintly poet,capable of creating commendable hymns that became a classic called The Thirupugazh,one of the literary treasures of the Tamil language.
     Both Pattinathaar and Arunagirinadhar were of no use to their families.The wives of these two real life men,were a forlorn lot.Gemini K.Chandra as the wife of Pattinathaar and Sharadha as the wife of Arunagirinadhar were devoted wives,notwithstanding their sorrow laden married life.The life of Arunagirinadhar's wife was still worse,because he was irredeemably after other women. Both Pattinathar and Arunagirinadhar had sisters,but the latter was blessed with a good one who gave up everything for the sake of her brother and was untiringly struggling to reform her brother into a better lease of life.Contrarily,Pattinathar's sister{ played by S.D. Subbulakshmi} who hated her brother for renouncing wealth and resorting to beggary,tried to poison him to death.It was Pattinathar who purified her foul intentions through flames caused by his throwing of the plate containing the poisoned food,into her house.
   Though both Pattinathaar and Arunagirinathar underwent a transformation in their mind and spirit,the course of redemption was more significant in the case of the latter who proved the theory of the sinner becoming a saint.Compared to the gross sensuality of Arunagirinadhar,the materialistic life line of Pattinathaar was a less vicious journey through the streets of desire. Besides,while Pattinathar was divinely chosen to attain bliss,Arunagirinathar was destined to become a saintly poet after passing through the ills of life. Pattinathaar ultimately attained godhood by becoming a Shiva Linga at Tiruvottiyur.Whereas Arunagirinadhar became a true disciple of Lord Muruga singing in praise of the Lord,so that others could experience spiritual exaltation through language and music.
   Another notable feature in the lives of these two spiritual men was the movement of Pattinathar from Kaveri Pattinam to Tiruvettiyur,the extreme north of Tamil Nadu in contrast to the journey of Arunagirinadhar from Tiruvannaamalai to the Southern interiors of Tamil Nadu. With regard to the musical portion of these two films,though G.Ramanathan did a good job for both the films,songs like "Muthaithiru Pathithirunakai"and"Ethanaiyo Piravipetru" from Arunagirinadhar were frequently heard and appreciated by the audience.
   These two biographical movies have stoutly championed the cause of Hinduism as a resplendent way of life capable of mitigating human agony through God realization.The grandeur of Hinduism is not only found in its age old magnificent temple towers and the power of prayer,but also in the myths and real life stories,that are not mere miracles but are interpretations of the essence of truth,towards humanizing and deifying humanity,both as a choice of divinity and a mark of destiny.It is in this respect,the two films discussed in this article,find a place for themselves as glorious treasures,in the archives of Tamil Cinema.
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