Tuesday, April 21, 2020

The Two Telugu Delights of Tamil Cinema


     Telugu film world has substantially enriched Tamil cinema,during the pre-independent and post independent decades of  India. Eminent film makers like L.V.Prasad,T.Prakash Rao, P.Pullaiah, D.Yoganand,K.Prakash Rao,Vedantam Ragavaiah,Tapi Chanakya and many others,enhanced Tamil Cinema's glory,during their respective periods.There were also wonderful singers like Ghantasala, P.B.Srinivas P.Susheela,S.Janaki Jikki and Jamunarani and mesmerising music composers like Adhi Narayana Rao. Actors like S.V.Renga Rao and V.Nagaiah contributed enormously to the acting tempo on the big screen,besides the early Telugu heroes like N.T.Ramarao, A.Nageswara Rao and Suman.
   Similarly, there were great heroines like Savithri,P.Bhanumathi,Sowcar Janaki, Sharadha and Rajasulochana. But there were two great Telugu artists who with their sparkling eyes and identical acting dimensions of feminine grace and sublime sensibilities,delighted the audience and glued them to the Tamil Silver screen.Both these actresses had their historic innings,with Sivaji Ganesan as the hero.They were Devika and Vanisri  the two magnificent actresses of a significant era of Tamil cinema.
    Devika who was five years older than Vanisri  and who is no more,shuttled between Telugu and Tamil language films,with an equal focus on both the languages.Where, as Vanisri's Telugu contribution was twice that of Tamil films,though a majority of her Tamil films continue to make her remain as an eternal delight of the Tamil film audience.Both Devika and Vanisri had acted with the three illustrious heroes,M.G.R, Sivaji Ganesan and Gemini Ganesan.Devika's single film Anandha Jothi with M.G.R,is still rolling in audience mood not only for the P.Susheela's timeless song "Ninaika Therindha Maname Unakku Markka Theriyaadhaa" but also for her fear stricken role,with her little younger brother,{the little rebellious boy Kamalahasan},unpleasantly gulping the threats of the crude villain,P.S,Veerappa.Vanisri did three films with MGR{ Kannan En Kadhalan,Thalaivan and Oorukku Uzhaippavan} and all had less scope for her to perform with independent merit.
   It would have been an exuberant journey in acting for these two women,to be a pair of the Chevalier.Devika was seen with Sivaji Ganesan in myths like Karnan,Thiruvilayaadal and Saraswathi Sabadham{she was not paired with Sivaji Ganesan in the last two}family dramas like Shanthi,Annai Illam,Paava Mannippu,Pazhani, Bhandha Paasam,Muradan Muthu and Anbu Karangal,romantic ecstasies like Neelavanam and Aandavan Kattalai and situational comedies like Bale Pandia. For Vanisri it was always a fantastic romantic experience with Sivaji Ganesan, in fabulous films like Uyarndha Manidhan,Sivakamiyin Selvan,Vasantha Malikai  Vani Rani, and Rojavin Raja,family dramas like Niraikudam, Kulama Gunama{in which she was paired with Jai Shankar}and Nallathoru Kudumbam.
   The profound layers of man woman relationship sailing on a lovely stream of romance, always carried the fairy touch of a fantasy experience,in the minds of the audience,whenever  these two women happened to fall into the hands of that mighty hero,who knew how to showcase them along with him,as ravishing benefactors and beneficiaries of a mind blowing romantic experience.This is what we positively witnessed in films like Neelavanam, Aandavan Kattalai, Uyarndha Manidhan and Vasantha Maalaigai.
   With the other hero Gemini Ganesan,Devika's best film was Vaazkai Padaku followed by Idhayathil Nee and Sumaithangi{which was a tragic tale of romance}.Vanisri's two unforgettable films with the king of romance were,Thamarai Nenjam and Velli Vizha.In both the films Vanisri played the role of an ideal woman symbolising the power of Platonic love. Incidentally,both were K.Balachander's beautiful films.If K.Balachander rightly identified the acting merits of Vanisri,C.V Sridhar had perfectly tapped Devika's inherent  passion for romantic roles by offering her the right opportunity in his films like Nenjil Oer Aalayam, Nenjam Marappadhillai and Sumaithaangi.
    Apart from Sivaji Ganesan,Vanisri's regular hero was Jai Shanker with whom she did her debut film Kaadhal Paduthum Paadu produced and directed by Joseph Thalith Jr,on behalf of his Citadel Studios.In fact Vanisri would have acted in  more number of Jai Shankar films, than those of Sivaji Ganesan. With Jai Shankar her special films were Kannipenn  and Kulama Gunama.Devika who was introduced by Muktha V.Srinivasan in his debut film Mudhalali acted with Gemini Ganesan, S.S.Rajendran,Muthuraman and Kalyan Kumar besides Sivaji Ganesan,her most suitable man on screen.With Kalyan Kumar,her remarkable films were Nanjil Oer Aalayam {as his former lover} Nenjam Marappadhillai,KadavulaiKandein and Yaarukku Sondham.She has also acted with Jai Shankar in Dheiveega Uravu. Devika was an actress groomed by eminent film makers like A.Bhimsingh,C.V. Sridhar,P.Madhavan, A.P.Nagarajan K.Shankar ,S.S.Vasan and B.R.Panthulu besides Muktha V.Srinivasan who introduced her.Whereas apart from Joseph Thaliath,directors like Krishnan Panju, K.Vijayan, K.Balachander,Mutha V.Srinivasan ,K.S.Gopalakrishnan, C.V.Rajendran, and B.R.Pathulu fine tuned Vanisri's fascinating portrayal of characters.
   What brings these two actresses together, is not simply their nativity to the Telugu region but their very similar portrayal of womanhood,as something truly endearing and truly lovable. Their sparkling eyelashes speaking more of a shuddering exterior,seem to hide a firm frame of mind that always radiates an identical mark of their profiles and protocols of cinematic presentation of characters.In both of them,one can notice the elements of innocence in looks and an exquisite appeal of  feminine fantasy,capable of conquering the minds of men,without any cosmetic extravagance. Aandavan Kattalai and Uyarndha Manidhan are the two special films of these two women with their romantic gusto invading the heart and soul of the hero and thereby pulling the audience with a magnetic spell,into an equally exciting romantic experience, with an uncontrollable sense of longing to travel along with the hero,on his exotic romantic journey.
    One cannot think of these two actresses as women characters ever raising their tone to talk rudely,or stepping into a course of argumentation with their men counter parts.They were mostly noticed at the receiving end of any emotional bargain,that normally happens between man and woman.It was a generously surrendering kind of role,they both played, to draw the aroma of feminine grace and charm.Devika personified  the essence of feminine dignity through her roles in films like Marakka Mudiyuma and Nenjil Oer Aalayam and Vanisri vindicated selflessness through her characters in Thamarai Nenjam and Vellivizha.If Neelavanam, Aandavan Kattalai, Uyarndha Manidhan Vasantha Malaikai were romantic classics, Nenjil Oer Aalayam,Marakka Mudiyumaa,Thaamarai Nenjam and Velli Vizha could be called the ideal fruits virtuousness,dipped into the honey of ennobling human emotions. Purity was the essence of these films.It is quite natural that these films were pure, because the makers of these films were the masters,perpetuating the best side of  human life.
    With these minimal observations on the two Telugu delights,it could be happily summed up that any devotee of Tamil cinema will feel impoverished in their film watching experience, without duly recalling the golden memories of the succulent contribution  of these two Telugu delights to Tamil cinema,through their commendable films, Mudhalaali, Vaanambadi Neelavaanam,Aandavan Kattalai,Nenjil Oer Aalayam, Marakkamudiyuma and Vazhkai padaku {of Devika} and the mighty entries like Uyarndha Manidhan,Vasantha Maalikai, Sivakamiyin Selvan,Thamarai Nenjam,Velli Vizha, Kulama Gunama,Irulum Oliyum and Annaiyum Pithaavum.{of Vanisri}.With less than 50 Tamil films in each one's archives, these two Telugu delights conquered Tamil emotions,by their submissive but enthralling portrayal of characters on the big screen.Tamil Theatre experience will remain woefully incomplete without these two Telugu delights.

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