Thursday, August 1, 2019

A Gory Villain Turns a Great Character Actor


    It is quite a common phenomenon in the cinema industry to shuffle roles of actors depending upon their popularity and performance potential.This is how yesterday's villains turn heroes and vice versa.This is how Rajinikanth, Sathyaraj, and Sarathkumar became dominant heroes after doing commendable villain roles.Vijayakumar who came as hero was later identified as an actor capable of donning villain and character roles effectively.In fact,M.N.Nambiyar,the most historic villain of Tamil cinema was also simultaneously taking up memorable character roles in films like Dhigambara Saamiyaar,Mandhiri kumari,Bhoologa Rambai,Makkalai Petra Magaraasi,Bhaga Pirivinai and Ninaithathai Mudippavan {as an honest cop}and several other films during his hey days of screen villainy.Ashokan also tried his hand as hero in a couple of films{especially Vallavanukku Vallavan and Idhu Sathiyam}and then began to shuttle between villain and character roles.In this regard the new millennium came upon a brutish villainous actor called Pasupathy who was identified with crudest form of villainy in films like Dhool, Sullaan, Mudhurey,Arul, Thiruppaachi and Virumaandi.
   Pasupathy Maasilaamani was first booked for the Kamal film Marudha nayagam which has not yet seen its release.Hailing from Chennai Koothuppattarai and being close to Nasser,though Pasupathy's dream of working with Kamalahasan in Marudhanayagam did not become a reality, he later on shared screen space with the outstanding hero, in films like Aalavandhaan and Virumandi.After acting in Housefull and Aalavandhaan, Pasupathy acted with Nasser in his Mayan.From villainy to comedy roles and character performance became an easy transition for Pasupathy.Initially Pasupathy appeared as a murderous villain,bearing names such as Aadhi{Dhool},Gajapadhi{Arul} Soori{Sullaan}KTR {Madhurey}Pattasu Balu {Thiruppachy} as Kothalathevar {Virumaandi} and as Nellai Mani { the film was titled E and Pasupathy got the best actor award from the government of Tamil Nadu}.It was quite interesting to see him  turn the table topsy turvy and perform wonderful comic roles in films like Majaa,Mumbai Express and Vedi Gundu Murugesan.His role in Idharku Thaan Aasai Pattaayaa Balakumara also needs a special mention.
    But more than the comedy characters it was the pathetic role that he played in the national award winning film Veyil that drew everybody's attention to this actor's poignant absorption of roles, requiring succinct voice modulation and sharp facial reflection of mood fluctuations. Pasupathy's character in Veyil spontaneously evoked audience sympathy on account of its tragic undertones and the way he naturally brought out the agony and anguish of paternal isolation despite the fraternal warmth he could enjoy with his younger brother{performed equally well by Bharath}.It was a character left alone and crying for love and family bonding and Pasupathy breathed the heart and soul of the character to make it a memorable film,purely on account of his unique performance.
   Then Pasupathy gave a convincing portrayal of a visually challenged person working as an RJ and sharing a lot of positive energy with the radio audience passing on hope to everybody despite his own personal predicament.This character {Nedumaran} he performed in Cheran's Raman Thedia Seethai,was a deliberate addition to deliver a clear message to the hero{Cheran himself} that life was worth living,despite so many setbacks that crowd one's life.That the hero came to surpass his inferiority complex caused by his speech impediment,on listening to the vibrating words of Pasupathy,was the crux of the thematic content of the film.It was a powerful role for Pasupathy and he performed it very powerfully.
    The next excellent character delineation of Pasupathy was for the Rajini starring Kuselan in which as a barber and one time schoolmate and chum of the superstar, Pasupathy naturally exhibited his inhibitions,hiding his love for his long time friend.It was this inhibition that prevented him from moving physically closer to his celebrity friend,in spite of opportune moments coming on the way.What makes Pasupathy a special actor of fascinating ability is his underplay of characters to make them all refreshingly breezy and endearing.The fact here is that he could perform such roles after a period of foul mouthed shouting as an uncouth villain of top most thuggery.
    His most recent,profoundly inspiring depiction of a character of indescribable fraternal bonding towards his younger sister in the film Karuppan made him cross another milestone in his involved performance of roles.As Maayi he showed enormous love and affection for his younger sister Anbuselvi{gracefully performed by Tanya}and would show controlled anger if any wrong information reached him about his brother in law{Vijay Sethupathi}not keeping his sister comfortable and happy.
  It was a rustic role stuffed with anger and love in uniform proportions and Pasupathy amazingly maintained the balance of mood,prioritized by the base of his character formation. With the wolfish younger brother of Pasupathy's wife{worthily performed by Bobby Simha} scheming the negative course of events,to build an animus between Pasupathy and Vijay Sethupathi,how differently Pasupathi handled each situation with his inimitable mood fluctuation was really beautiful to watch. Pasupathy's reactions would be on a pattern of instant anger ending up with delayed access to right thinking.'Karuppan' in fact,wonderfully presented a series of events involving a kind of vicious circle of suspicion and trust,created by the malicious manipulations of Bobby Simha,with his hidden agenda of marrying Tanya,whom he madly loved and whose marriage he wanted to break,so that he could marry her after the break up.
  Unlike other villain actors who became heroes and character actors,Pasupathy's transition from villainy to supporting roles was made up of firmness and grit in role play,neatly displayed with depth,poise and dignity. As a villain he roared like a hard core,detestable ruffian.But as an actor doing comic and character roles,he began to travel on a terrain of softness blended with a tinge of longing and suppressed sentiments,towards creating a niche for himself as a performance oriented actor.His opportunities were less.But within the given scope for talent exposition, he has been found never wanting to reach the peak of excellence in performance.He deserves more recognition by way of more opportunities and the fact that the Malayalam film industry has also sufficiently inducted him for performing challenging roles,is a fair revelation of this one time gory villain rising up to the distinct level of a great character actor.

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