Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Two Specially Elegant films of MGR & Sivaji Ganesan























    Films are of different kinds.Some gain ground through fresh story lines based on exalting thematic content.Some excel in style of narration and actors' fresh vibes.Two films of MGR and Sivaji Ganesan stand out as clear revelations of the second category of films.They are Sivaji films' Pudhiya Paravai released in 1964 and the AVM Studio''s single entry of an MGR film titled Anbe Vaa released in 1966.
   Usually,unlike the movies of Sivaji Ganesan,those of MGR were always clearly branded as typical MGR films,because of their set pattern of themes,stories and scenic narrations.Mother sentiment respect for women, clean habits and an inspiring spirit of social justice by voicing the needs and aspirations of the down trodden,were the ever  preset objectives and goals of an MGR film.Whereas,Sivaji Ganesan would travel from the bottomless pit to the Himalayan peak, moving through straight tracks and zig zag courses,reflecting the role of destiny and that of man,in shaping the course of one's life.While MGR's was a single role model,that of Sivaji Ganesan was the sum total of the umpteen shades of all sections of humanity.
   However,these two colossal actors in each one's way,created celebrating moments for Tamil Cinema,for more than three decades.Interestingly,these two heroes had each in their kitty,their special film cited,to eternally delight their respective fans,on account of a commendable course of stylistic narration and a splendid throw in character delivery by them.
   Of the two films,Pudhiya Paravai{Sep 1964} was released fifteen months before the release of Anbevaa {Jan1966}.Apart from the stylish role play of the two heroes,the two films bore a few similarities in screen base and choice of actors.Both the films were narrated from hill stations, Anbeva from Shimla and Pudhiya Paravai from Ooty.In both,B.Sarojadevi was the female co star.Both the heroes were rich guys;one a big business magnate and the other an estate owner. Nagesh and Manorama were in charge of the pantry and kitchen in both the films.While almost each scene in Pudhiya Paravai showed Sivaji Ganesan with cigarette on hand,MGR was seen in rich costumes shot after shot in Anbe vaa. Both the films carried certain amount of Hollywood touch in narration.But the similarities end here.
   It was Viswanathan&Ramamurthy who composed music for Pudhiya Paravai and all the songs were mega hits.But by the time Anbe Vaa was under production,the musical super duo were split as M.S.Viswanathan and T.K.Ramamurthy and so it was the former alone who tuned the richly enchanting numbers of Anbe Vaa.Puthiya Paravai was a suspense thriller,letting the hero boil with emotions in every scene. Anbe Vaa was a breezy romantic comedy,depicting the revolutionary hero in his best sense of humour,doing an exotic character portrayal,frequently rubbing  his woman on the wrong shoulders,resulting in an unending conflict of emotions between the romantic partners.Those days,Anbe Vaa was said to reflect the story base of the famous Hollywood film Come September.Whereas Puthiya Paravai was stated to have been influenced by the British Suspense film,Chase a Crooked Shadow {1958},also called Sleep No more and it had also provided the story base for the Bengali film Sesh Anka {1963}  
   For Sivaji Ganesan,it was another challenging portrayal of the agonized soul and the Chevalier stunningly brought out his calibre through a casual shuffling of emotions and by naturally leading the plight of his character,singularly meant for travelling between the devil and the deep sea.The way he would try to move from pillar to post,to prove his predicament of hiding a past,ambushed in an act of partial guilt,was the most salient feature of the film.
  The very theme of the story line was something new to Tamil Cinema and the narrative mode made the film,more elegant than everything.Dada Mirasi who had directed very few Tamil films like Iratha Thilakam,Annaavin Aasai,Moonru Dheivangal,Odum Nadhi and Poovum Pottum,took the major credit for an extraordinary narration of extraordinary events,comprising extraordinary characters played by extraordinary actors.
   Starting from the Chevalier,the line of dynamic action score revolved around brilliant actors like Sowcar Janaki,Sarojadevi,M.R.Radha,V.K Ramasamy, Nagesh,O.A.K.Devar,S.V.Ramadoss, Manorama and A.Karunanidhi.As far as costume design and scenic presentation were concerned, Pudhiya Paravai carried an exotic feel from the beginning till the end.The special treat of the film would be Sivaji's style of limb movements for the two songs,'Aahaa Mellanada Mellanada' and 'Enge Nimmadhi'. Besides his tucked in nylon shirt with folded sleeves,his manner of holding the cigarette and facial expressions of surprise, suspense, shock, pity and mood of annoyance pointedly against M.R.Radha,were all the hallmarks of winnable freshness 
    The climax of the film will show Sivaji Ganesan in a tight corner,being surrounded by falsehood hitting his face,to drive out the truth from him,that it was he who killed his wife{ Sowcar Janaki}.  He was sure that he only slapped his wife,because of her wayward drunken routine as a pop singer and she would have died only on account of her cardiac related issues. But the helpless fact was that his wife died only after he slapped her. 
   Sivaji's unique style of body language,and the unprecedented cathartic moment involving amazing dialogues and a stupendous forward gait of the Chevalier,with a sudden U turn,would have made a major section of the audience clean bowled.All this would culminate in a desperate tone of confession dramatically voiced by Sivaji,the born actor.Before getting arrested he would tell his new woman {Sarojadevi}that she being a CID officer, need not have used love as a tool,to extract the truth out of him.However,before the curtains dropped,the audience would have heard him pay,a glorifying tribute to the endearing warmth of womanhood in general,in his inimitable style.
   Watching Anbe Vaa,everybody would have wondered how MGR could look so young at the fag end of his forties.He carried the pranks of youth to the fullest extent,waging a romantic battle against his woman{Sarojadevi}in every other scene.He would also prove to be a perfect foil to the plans of Sarojadevi,Nagesh and his gang to chase him out of the huge bungalow,not knowing the fact that he was the owner of the entire property.Comedy came to MGR as naturally as fragrance to jasmine and the whole narration from the veteran hands of A.C Thirulokchander,carried absolute warmth,hilarity and the robust vigour of entertainment.
    Though a majority of MGR films would engage the audience with an action bonanza and beaming music,Anbe Vaa was an exclusive entertainer,not sagging in spirit during its entire course of narration.Alluring costumes and awesome picturing of the hillside locales,carried the audience on an excursion to a world of beauty,through the big screen.Music was upbeat through a timeless treasure house of tunes,with leading songs like 'Pudhiya Vaanam Pudhiya Bhoomi, 'Naan Paarthadhile Aval Oruthiyaithaan','Ullam Enroru Koyilile','Love birds Love' birds and 'Raajivin Paarvai Raaniyin Pakkam'.Unlike most other MGR films,there was no space for speculative villainy in Anbe Vaa.Even S.A.Asokan the most celebrated villain of MGR films,played a soft role and all was well in all respects.There was lot of fun in every aspect including the naming characters like Punnaakku Viyaabaari Punniyakodi.{played vibrantly by T.R.Ramachandran,as Sarojadevi's father.}
   Both Pughiya Paravai and Anbe vaa were really fantasy tales,one told in a mood of irredeemable desolation and the other in an environment of hilarious romance,surrounded by a bunch of devil may care and happy go lucky characters respectively.The history of Tamil cinema will remain incomplete without a reference to these two specially elegant films of MGR and Sivaji Ganesan.

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