Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Malayalam Heroes in Tamil Cinema

      It is a known fact, that the mega heroes of the Malayalam movie industry have now and then occupied the Tamil screen, as main heroes or shared the screen space with other heroes.The reason for this unique phenomenon, could be due to the fact, that unlike other language film institutions,Tamil film industry is more open to outside talents to play lead roles and most Malayalam heroes are more forthcoming to play lead or secondary level roles in Tamil, without allowing even their voices to get dubbed.
     Before going into the role of famous Malayalam heroes in Tamil films,it should be mentioned that  Malayalam villain and character actors have also displayed their might in Tamil cinema. Right from the outstanding Thilakan, other actors like Cochin Haneefa, Rajan B.Dev and Murali who are all no more now, have played vital roles to find a memorable place in Tamil cinema too.Besides these actors, Devan,  Kollam Thulasi, Kalabavan Mani, Saikumar, and Siddique Lal have also appeared on Tamil screen, to exemplify their acting credentials in films of another language. Among these, next to Thilakan, Kochin Haneefa  stays ever remembered for his crude role of villainy in Kamalahasan's 'Mahaanadhi' and his comedy mixed character of a thug in films like 'Kireedom' and 'Jeyam Kondan'  The most hilarious scene was in Vijay's 'Youth' in which Haneefa was seen arguing in a drunken mood with Vivek, that the bar in T.Nagar, in front of which they both were standing, was the bar in Vadapalani and he was also found chiding the auto driver for driving so fast from T.Nagar to Vadapalani, when the auto had not really  moved from the T.Nagar bar.
       Murali  whose voice was usually dubbed, played effective character roles in 'Dum Dum Dum' 'Gemini' [as a warm and friendly Police officer] and 'Adhavan'. He was very much compact as a deceptive villain in Vijayakanth's 'Rajjiyam' in which Malayalam hero Dileep also appeared as the dumb and deaf younger brother of Vijayakanth. Whereas, Kollam Thulasi {Vikram's'Arul'] Saikumar [ in Sarathkumar's 'Arasu' and Arunpandian's' Devan'] and Siddique Lal  [notably in Lingusamy's 'Sandakkozhi' Ezhil's 'Deepavali' Vijayakanth's Enga Anna and Simbu's 'Kaalai' ] have acted only as villains. Devan  and Rajan B.Dev were seen in a few films with the latter making an impact in P.Vasu's 'Vaimaye Vellum' as Parthiban's rude, police father and as a noisy father of daughters in movies like 'Love Today' 'Kushi', and 'Periya Idathu Mappilaai'. Kalabavan Mani has struck a note of popularity by his distinct style of performance in films like Gemini,Puthiya Geethai Bose and Yei. 
    It was Prem Nazeer  the ever green hero of Malayalam screen, who first moved closer to Tamil cinema. He was a favourite  actor of the Tamil movie makers and the Tamil audience during the Nineteen fifties and sixties. Nazeer  became close to the Tamil audience, by acting in about a dozen Tamil movies, of which 'Thilagam' 'Thenral Sudum'Vannakkili,'Anbukkor Anni''Thangam Manasu Thangam''Thai Pirandal Vazhi Pirakkum'and 'Paalum Pazhamum' find a great place in the archives, as his best Tamil movies.He was frequently paired with Mainavathi  a popular actress, those days.He had also acted with M.N.Rajam and Raja Sulochana.  Nazeer was loved and admired for his charming looks and delicate presentation of roles assigned to him.
     Among the present day Malayalam heroes, Jeyaram  tops the list as the most utilized talent in about twenty five movies,half of them  showing him as the protagonist, followed by Mammootty mostly as the main hero. Prithviraj has done about half a dozen films as hero or villain. Mohanlal  has effectively shared the  screen space with Prakash Raj in Mani Rathnam's 'Iruvar', with Prabu  in 'Siraichaalai' with Kamalahasan in 'Unnaipol Oruvan' and with Vijay in 'Jilla'.Tamil audience saw the ever forceful  Suresh Gopi   twice on the Tamil Screen with Ajith in 'Dheena' and with Sarathkumar in 'Samasthaanam.'Suresh Gopi who is never wanting in the show of physical might,made both the roles majestic in his usual style. Mukesh  another popular Malayalam hero was introduced to the Tamil audience by K. Balachander  in his 'Jadhimalli'.After a hiatus, Mukesh was again seen in Sunder.C's 'Aindhampadai' in a meek role,neatly performed.Beyond these men, Madhu  the magnificent face of the Malayalam movie world of the last millennium, donned the role of Rajinikanth's father in 'Dharmadurai'.
    Jeyaram like Prem Nazeer, has always been a charming hero with pleasing looks and convincing levels of performance in what ever roles were offered to him.He has been paired with Kushbu in 'Murai Maman' directed by Sundar.C  'Pathini' of P.Vasu   and 'Purusha Latchanam' in K.S.Ravikumar's direction. He also played a memorable role in 'Periya Idathu Mappillai' directed by Guru Danapal.  The other memorable movies of Jeyaram as hero, are 'Priyanka','Nila' and 'Julie Ganapathi'.The greatest thing about Jeyaram  is his modesty in acting,with an ever inseparable tinge of humour.
     It is not necessary for Jeyaram to generate humour through dialogues and comic gesticulations.His eyes can display the comedy sense, besides  transmitting an enchanting level of grace.His extraordinary merit is, the innate cheering look of humour  on his face.It is impossible to think of him as a villain though he has donned villain roles in films like 'Daam Doom' and 'Saroja' .With his endearing looks,he is the best bet, for a soothing delivery of character roles and is perfectly fit for the comedy mode.Joining  Kamal's  band wagon of comedy, he spontaneously added gusto to the hilarious moments in 'Tenali' and 'Pancha Thandhiram',Jeyaram  has carried his grand comedy show as an army officer in 'Thuppaakki' with great spontaneity, as he performed the role of a college principal in a similar vein in Ajith's 'Aegan' .
     Today's mega star Mammootty,  who made his first appearance as hero in Kovai Sezhiyan's 'Mounam Sammadham' impressed the Tamil audience by his natural performance as a CBI officer without exaggerating his role in any scene.This was followed by K.Balachander's 'Azhagan' in which as a dynamic business man of the catering sector,he essayed his role with utmost conviction, besides showing his emotions with control, when he got entangled between the orphan children he was bringing up, as his own, and the three women, who were vying with one another to win his love. Between his existing commitments and the entangling romantic predicament, it was really a difficult role that he played, with dignity and grace.
     Mammootty  became closer to the Tamil soil,by acting as the venerable big wig of a significant community in Tamil Nadu in 'Marumalarchi'. As Rasu Padayachi, it was a Tamil native role he played, that too, without getting his voice dubbed.One could say that he almost lived the character.It needs a lot of guts to play such a role, with genuine understanding of the linguistic and cultural nuances of a popular community of another state and Mammootty should be complimented for his neat performance.His next grand show was in 'Anandam' as the eldest son of a joint family.Though he would have performed this type of roles in many Malayalam movies,the emotional intricacies of that role, were poignantly interrelated to familial and cultural priorities of another region.This transition in characterization  should have involved a great deal of precision in terms of dialect and social attributes and naturally he would have  faced enormous difficulties in performing that character. But, Mammootty  was true to the core, not only to the requirements of the role but also towards creating a tremendous emotional impact, on the viewers.
    Mammootty did two movies with director R.K.Selvamani, of which,'Makkal Aatchi' showed him as an innocent person indulging in petty dishonest activities,who under unforeseen circumstances had to become Chief Minister of a State and the later developments transformed him into a dedicated politician concentrating on the welfare of the State. But during this process of ennobling transformation, he had to sacrifice so many things including his love of an understanding woman, whom he wanted to marry.The climax was one of inevitable vendetta, causing the death of his lover.The second movie 'Arasial' showed Mammootty as a district collector fighting political corruption and rowdyism that made him lose his sisters. The final moments of revenge, sent him to prison though the public honoured  him for getting rid if the anti social elements. The other films 'Senior Junior','Pudhayal'.'Ethirum Puthirum' and the recent 'Vande Madharam' all failed to make a mark at the box office and in all the four, Mammootty was seen as the second hero. Fazil's' Kilipechu Kekkava' [ remake of a Malayalam film] with Mammootty and Kanaka was also a modest show.
    When it comes to comparison of the two mighty stars Mammootty and Mohanlal  of the Malayalam film industry,with specific reference to Tamil films, it should be stated without prejudice that the former is closer  to the Tamil audience not because he has acted as the main hero in about six Tamil films but because he has proved his  acting stuff as something linguistically and culturally closer to the Tamils.The four movies that Mohanlal  did as one of the two heroes, could not provide him sufficient scope, to move closer to the larger section of Tamil audience.May be, the kind of roles that Mammootty  got, did not come in Mohanlal's way, or, this wonderful talent did not give priority to the Tamil big screen as the other equally talented actor did.
    Manirathnam,the outstanding director utilized the classic stuff of Mohanlal in 'Iruvar'  after tasting the dynamic calibre of Mammootty teamed up with the Superstar in 'Thalapathi'. While the former played the role of an actor- turned politician, in the line of  MGR, the latter performed as a well meaning gangster, giving up his life for the sake of his trusted lieutenant and friend Rajinikanth. Mammootty is yet to act with Kamalahasan as Mohanlal with Rajini. Tamil audience would in fact be happy, to see more of Mohanlal's  acting in their language as they would continue to watch the robust performance of Mammootty.
    Pritiviraj is another Malayalam hero who has made himself well known to the Tamil audience, by his stylish demonstration of acting mettle,both as villain and as single hero.He first came in K.V.Anand's  'Kanaakanden' as a suave and deceitful businessman with vulpine schemes for aggrandizing wealth through usury.As a merciless moneylender, his role made a disgusting beginning in Tamil films, But his sweet essaying of roles in 'Satham Podaathe' , 'Mozhi' [ cheerfully teamed up with Prakashraj ]'Kannamoochi Enada'[ ebulliently joining hands with Sathyaraj] and Paarijaadham made him the man next door, of the Tamil homes.Meanwhile, he did another role as a corrupt police officer in 'Kutrapirivu'  sharing the screen space with  Srikanth. His other movie 'Ninaithaale Inikkum'  a remake of Malayalam 'Classmates'which also showcased him in the same character,did not become a hit.
     When compared to Malayalam heroes, their Tamil counterparts have not acted as main heroes in Malayalam movies. Kamalahasan  is perhaps the only exception in this regard.The reason might be that Malayalam film industry is not as liberal as Kollywood  is, in encouraging talents from other regions particularly when it comes to heroes.Or,Tamil heroes are not as much open as their Malayalam counterparts in using opportunities available in other languages.Of late, we could see actors like Sarath Kumar,Pasupathy, Sathyaraj  and Parthiban acting in Malayalam films, using their own voices to deliver dialogue.It is a welcome move.In a muti-lingual country like India, cinema as a cosmopolitan medium, should naturally emerge as a conglomeration of interstate film talents for reinforcing the national base, from where the regional excellence blossoms, exhibiting the glory of a growing global force, in the midst of several constraints.

No comments:

Post a Comment