Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Three Gifted Voices of a Golden Era.

    Early Tamil Cinema was as much known for its quality of music as for its supremacy in theme, story line and narration of events and characters.There were great singers, both male and female besides the actor singers of those days.Of these, T.M Soundarajan has already found a separate place in this blog.There were three other distinct male voices, who adorned Tamil film music at its nascent period.There were quite a lot of similarities among these mighty singers.All the three were well trained in classical music and had clear loud voices, capable of delivering notes with consummate comfort and words with perfection in pronunciation.Above all,the three men carried the names of their towns along with theirs.They are the monumental singers,Tiruchi Loganathan, Chidambaram Jayaraman and Sirkazhi Govindarajan. The other similarity among these men was the mould of their voice that would not suit any particular hero of those days, unlike that of TMS that could exactly fit into the tone of MGR and Sivaji Ganesan and that of A.M.Raja and P.B.Srinivas which could fairly reflect the voice of Gemini Ganesan and Muthuraman.
   Tiruchi Loganathan was one of the most powerful singers with a loud and clear voice throw.
He could raise and lower his voice with a natural ease to make it thoroughly befitting the mood of the song.He had left many fascinating and undying melodies as well as philosophical and sorrow laden songs, perpetually charming the memory of song lovers.His ever sustaining melodies like 'Ulavum Thenral Kaatrinile' and 'Vaaraai Nee Vaaraai' from Mandhirikumari, philosophical songs like 'Aasaiye Alaipole' [Thai Porandhal Vazhipirakkum ]'Purushan Veetil Vaazhapogum Penne [Paanai Pidithaval Baagyasaali] 'Manmeedhu Maanam' [Sadhaaram]and 'Vaazhkaiyin Paadam'  [Ivan Avanedhaan] have found an immortal place in the film music archives of the last millennium.
   There was an equal amount of impact delivered by the lighter emotions in his songs like 'Sinna kutti nathana sillarayai mathuna'[Arivaali] and 'Kalyana Samayal Saadham' [Maayaa Bazaar] and  by those expressing deep grief like 'Chinna Arumbu Malarum'[Pangaaligal] 'Adikkirakaidhaan Anaikkum' [Vannakkili] and 'Ponnaana Vaazhvu'[Town Bus] minnuvadhellaam Ponnenru Enni{Gomathiyin Kaadhalan}.The patriotic feelings greatly experienced in his songs like 'Velli Pani malayin' 'Thanneer Vittom Valarthom' and Enru Thaniyum indha Sudhandhira dhaagam' all from Kappalottiya Thamizhan,carry a historic value.The one song 'Veenaikodiyudaya Vendhane' truly contributed to the epic grandeur of Samboorana Raamayanam. On the whole, Tiruchi Loganathan remains as a high sounding, felicitous symbol of last century film music in Tamil Cinema.
   Chidambaram Jayaraman had established a commanding position for himself by his unusual nasal voice that carried an enticing effect on the music lovers of the previous century.He had sung more songs for Sivaji Ganesan starting from the latter's first movie Parasakthi that came out with the most memorable song 'Nenju Porukkudhillaiye'.The other popular songs Jayaraman delivered for Sivaji Ganesan's films include, 'Manjal Veyil Maalaiyile'[Kaveri] 'Aairam Kan Podhaadhu' 'Vanna Thamizh Pennoruthi' and 'Kaaviama Nenjin Oviyama' [all from Paavai Vilakku ] 'Anbaale Thedia En Arivuchelvam Thangam'[Deivapiravi] 'Aaarambamaavadhu Pennukkulle'[Thangapadhumai] 'Sirithaalum Azhudhaalum' [Raani Lalithaangi]  'Nee Sollaavidil Yaar Solluvaar Nilave' {Kuravanji}and the ever mesmerizing song 'Vinnodum Mugilodum' from Pudhyal. His most popular number for an MGR movie was the duet 'Ullam Rendum Onru'{Pudhumai Pithan}
    The other eternally fascinating songs of this distinguished singer were 'Anbinaale Undaagum Inbanilai' [Paasavalai]'SandhanaPodhigaiyil '[Thangarathinam]'Kutram Purindhavan'[Rathakkanneer] ]and the two famous songs 'Sangeetha Sowbagyame' and' Inru Poi Naalai Vaarai' from Samboorana Raamaayanam. \What Made Chidambaram Jayaraman different from others was his singular voice pattern and the clarity of presentation of Tamil words. He is remembered for his mellifluous melodies.
   Sirkazhi Govindarajan was far ahead of others because of his versatility in singing and his specific involvement in devotional songs and carnatic music.He had a stentorian voice effect that could also casually fall from the high pitch to the bass.Think of a song like 'Aaadi Adangum Vaazhkaiyada' [Neerkumizhi] that is delivered from a very low throw of voice.How amazing the impact of the song was.Songs like 'Maranathai Enni Kalangidum' [Karnan]'Samarasam Ulaavum' {Rambaiyin Kaadhal} and 'Azhaithavar Kuralukku' [Anaathai Aanandhan] also carried a similar style of delivery.But many of his songs belonged to the high pitch category.We can quote quite a few songs like 'Kallile Kalaivannam Kandaan' [Kumudham]'Ullathil Nalla Ullam' [Karnan]'Kannan Vandhaan' [Sung along with TMS in Raamu] 'Arupadai Veedu Konda' [Kandan Karunai] 'Odam Nadhiyinile' [Kaathirundha Kangal]'Engirundho Vandhaan' [Padikkaadha Medhai] 'Dhevan Koil Mani Osai'[Mani Osai]' Panam Pandhiyile' [Film with the same title] and so on.All these songs were rooted to the ground, in terms of clarity of words,dedication to musical notes,quality of lyrics and thrust in delivery.
    Though Govindarajan who was known for his sobriety and ripeness as an extraordinary singer,  he was also capable of singing songs revealing the lighter side of life.Songs like 'Pattanathaam Pogalaamadi Pombale' [Enga Veettu Mahaalatchumi] 'Aasai Kiliye kobama'[Sabash Meena] 'Kaadhalikka Neramillai' [Film with the same title]'Aadavaanga Annaathe','Kadhalennum Solayile' [both from Sakravarthithirumagal] 'Aathula Thannivara' ,'Maatukkaara Vela'[Both from Vannakkili] reveal Govindarajan's flair for expressing the light spirited mood of mankind. A few melodious solo and duet numbers of Sirkazhi Govindarajan are 'Bagavaane Mounam Yeno'{Rambaiyin Kaadhal} 'Nilavodu Vaanmugil' [RajaRajan] 'Sirikkinraal inru Sirikkinraal'[Nallavan Vaazhvaan]' Ennaivittu odipoga mudiyuma' [Kumudham]' 'Uzhappadhila Uzhaippai Peruvadhila'[Naadodi Mannan] 'Irukkum idathaivittu' [Thiruvarutchelvar]'Vanameedhil Neendiyodum Vennilaave' [Gomadhiyin Kadhalan] and 'Sengani Vaithirandhu Sirithiduval' [Yaanaipaagan].Incidentally the songs'Vaanameedhil'and 'Kongu Naattu Sengarumbe"were the two songs sung by both Sirkazhi Govindarajan and Tiruchi Loganathan for the film Gomadhiyin Kaadhalan. Govindarajan's vigour and exalted levels of energy were noticed in the songs like 'Vetri Venduma'[Ethir Neechal]' Poova Thalaiya'[film with the same title]and 'Saattai Kaiyil Kondu' [Kaadhal Jothi] and the famous duet' Maamiyaalukku Oru Seidhi' Among the three Playback singers mentioned here,it was Govindarajan who had sung several songs for the great comedian K.A.Thangavelu. Later A.L.Raghavan did a similar thing for Nagesh.
     Unlike the other two singers,Sirkazhi Govindarajan had also acted in a couple of films of A.P.Nagarajan. Govindarajan as 'Agathiyar' truly brought before us, in form and spirit, the age old Tamil poet and saint, Agasthiyar,like K.B.Sundaraambaal who perfectly fitted into the role of Avvaiyaar, the poet of the Sangam literature period. Govindarajan also donned the role of Nambiyaandaar Nambi in Raja Raja Chozhan, another A.P.N movie.
     If Chidambaram Jayaraman had been a play back singer for more of Sivaji Ganesan movies, Sirkazhi Govindarajan had given his musical voice frequently, for MGR.All the three magnificent voices belonged to the musical treasure house of the Tamil film industry during an epoch- making period and their contribution was a leading pointer to the enrichment of film music at the right time, when the number of actor singers was in decrease.They were also fortunate to work under the trend setting music composers like G.Ramanathan.Viswanathan Ramamurthy and K.V.Mahadevan. Among the three voices,the devotional and spiritual support rendered by the most appealing songs of Sirkazhi Govindarajan on Hindu deities like Lord Ganesa and Lord Muruga still continue to attract the music loving generation whose hearts are closer to divine songs.But as far as film music is concerned, the three gifted voices of a golden era,have competitively retained their magnetic force, as positive reflectors of masterly performance and magnificent show.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Potshots of Parthiban.

   It was on the whole, a refreshing experience for the audience to see for the first time a hefty,man- in -black,as hero.That too, one reflecting quite often, a kind of male arrogance tending to tease the heroines of his films some times,in a brazen manner.The first movie'Puthiya Paathai' that introduced him as director and actor, was the story of an orphan forsaken by his mother and thrown as an unwanted child in a garbage bin.
  Starting with an abuse of women in general and irresponsible mothers in particular,the film brought out the rage and anguish of a soul neglected by the one, who was supposed to fondle and protect it.The anger was justifiable and the focused narration and poignant characterization made the film an enduring emotional experience to watch.The second part of the film,showed how a woman as his most loving wife,reformed his ways and made him realize the virtues of womanhood and she did it at the cost of her life.The film deserved a national award and won it too.
  What makes Parthiban different from others is not just his appearance but his intellectual sharpness and poetic perception of life's distinct realities and intricacies.He gives a taunting interpretation of human foibles and pretensions.It is his inseparable satirical approach that contributes the subtle dynamics of his outputs.
  At the outset, the roles that he has periodically adorned,might have shown him as a misogynist or misanthrope.But on a closer observation, one could always find in his characterization,man's capacity for love and empathy.The other extraordinary thing about Parthiban is his devotion to the Tamil language.He rarely uses English dialogues in his films and most of his roles have been stuffed with ruggedness and male indifference born of aversion for the nasty side of life.
   Parthban has directed nearly a dozen movies with himself as hero.Among these after 'Puthiya Paadhai','House Full'also won the national award.His other popular directorial ventures include 'Ponadatti Thevai', 'Pullakuttikkaran','Sugamana Sumaigal' 'Ulle Veliye' 'Ivan' and 'Kudaikul' Mazhai'.He has also acted as hero for other successful directors like Cheran  whose 'Barathi Kannamma' told the story of a man immolating himself in the funeral pyre of the girl who loved him and the other great hit 'Vetrikodikattu' which truly presented the ordeal and plight of youngsters losing their money and life in the hands of foul brokers,luring people with fake offer of jobs in the gulf.
  The first of the two got the State Government's best film award. Parthiban has also acted in P.Vasu 's 'Vaimaye Vellum' that powerfully narrated the rivalry between a corrupt police officer and his justice bound son and 'Kaakkaichiraginile' which dealt with the noble theme of  adoption of an orphan by an orthodox Brahmin couple.
   Above all,Parthiban's role was very impressive as a rebel and revolutionary leader,fighting for the rights of the underdogs,in the great film 'Aravindan', in which he shared screen space effectively with Sarathkumar.But there was an element of crude horror and rude monarchy in his roles displayed, in films like'Ambuli'and  Selvaragavan's'Airathil Oruvan' respectively.
   Parthiban's unique comedy sense comprising witty dialogues and manipulative attempts at cornering the opponents has been a treasure for the viewers.To see Vadivelu as a helpless victim of Parthiban's shrewd verbal web, creates ludicrous situations for a hearty laugh.The two films 'Vetrikodikattu' and 'Kundakka Mandakka' are clear samples of their combined show of highly contrived humour episodes.In addition to this, Parthiban joined Goundamani and Manivannan in 'Tata Birla' for a rejoicing comedy demonstration and later with Prabu Deva, he made another humour parade in 'James Pandu'.
    What is always specially attracting in a Parthiban show, is his efficacy in throwing challenges to the opponents and meeting them with casual ease, be it a comedy segment or a serious scene.Very often this brings down the tragic impact of a movie to a lighter dimension as it did in 'Sabash', in which he cleverly outbeat every time,the smart moves of Ranjith who was responsible for the death of his wife, played by Divya Unni.'Puthumai Pithan' is another movie that humorouly handled a serious subject matter.Parthiban has played as an eccentric in quite a few films and he has always been compact in playing the idiot,bent upon fooling the others.
    On the romantic side Parthiban is a mixture of a bullying male and a brand ambassador of true romance with a highly considerate attitude towards the fair sex.We could feel this genuinely exhibited in films like 'Ulle Veliye''Sornamugi','Nee Varuvai Ena' and 'Unnaruge Naanirundhal'. He was a wavering individual with a volatile,philosophical frame of mind in'Thenral' and 'Ivan'.     It was Thangar Bachan who brought out the hidden softer emotions of Parthiban in his most telling love story with a simple and beautiful title 'Azhagi'. It showed Parthiban as a married man with children,unable to get over his first love,celebrated from his school days.'Azhagi' could not be branded as yet another love story.It was the agonizing,realistic narration that made it as something deeply disturbing.I would rate it as one of the most beautiful Tamil movies and one of the best of Parthiban's to be cherished in memory.The latest highly acclaimed film of Parthiban was Kadhai Thiraikkadhai Vasanam Iyakkam which was a bold venture,criticizing and ridiculing the world of cinema as an insider.The film ran the risk of throwing stones at a glass house, from within.The film reestablished Parthiban's incomparable creative potential.
    Parthiban is totally a different type of artist.He has a profoundly thoughtful creative brain capable of making delicate and subtle impact on those who have a critical bent of mind.There is a poet in him crying for the best moments of inner joy,arising out of uncommon observation of life with a keen sense of introspection of the impact that the observation makes on his mind.More over, it is Parthiban,who alone can afford to be humorous and sober at the same moment,by changing his mood as if by a turn on a switch.To me, Parthiban with his striking potshots has stood as one of the outstanding actors and an ardent seeker of nuances in ceativity. He is closer to my heart, mostly because of his spontaneity and out- of -the -ordinary approach to acting.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Balu Mahendra's Charm of Aberration.

      Balu Mahendra is the personification of brilliance in creativity.His film making formula constitutes the trinity of narration, cinematography and aesthetics . As the title  of one of his Malayalam films 'Olangal' suggests,his creative process is like a calm beautiful lake with periodical occurrence of ripples. It is human aberration or the negative dimension of the human psyche that causes the ripples. But how poignantly he depicts the wrong route of life's journey is the captivating score he makes as a distinct and uncommon film maker in  as many as five Indian languages.
   Almost half of his creative outputs were a legacy of human lapses or transgressions that complicate an otherwise peaceful and calm course of life of individuals and their families.These tales of aberrations have been told both in humorous and serious veins. This great maker of a rare variety of films started speaking aloud, about adolescent aberrations in his very first Tamil movie 'Azhiyatha Kolangal' dealing with a taboo breaking theme.The school going teenage boys' curiosity to know the hidden material facts on sex and their zest  and competitiveness to reach a physical closeness with their class teacher Indhu created an aesthetic compass for the perception of budding youth in an unseen perspective.The boys who later grew up to responsible adulthood, joyously recalled their teenage vagaries. It was a movie fit for many a recalling session.
   The other main thrust of Balu Mahendra, was on male temptations to cross the marital fence and revel in infidelity.He was both ridiculous and sober in portraying such characters indulging in casual breach of trust on the conjugal side.His films like 'Rettaivaal Kuruvi' and 'Sathi Leelavathi' were humorous expositions of extramarital relationships assiduously maintained by the erring husbands betraying their trusting wives.In the movies cited, Mohan and Ramesh Arvind created hilarious scenes by their shrewdly manipulated hide and seek games.But 'Marubadium' dealt with a similar theme with seriousness and a deep sense of sorrow reflected by the betrayed wife, beautifully portrayed by Revathi. This was the story of a film director with an infatuation for an actress that caused a lot of ripples in his family life throwing his wife into frequent moments of despair and depression.Even in a clean film like Moonraampirai,the director focused on the aberrations of an old, rich man's young wife [played by Silk Smitha]with her sex starved routine, longing for moments of physical intimacy with the young hero [Kamalahasan]. Marital infidelity seems to have been one of the chosen themes of Balu Mahendra.
    Psychic disorders caused by family tragedies and accidents have also played a vital part in framing themes and scripts of this veteran director's movies. His 'Moodupani' pictured differently the diseased state of mind of the hero [effectively presented by Pratap Pothan] in taking revenge against call girls, owing to the negative impact of a bitter childhood, involving a prostitute who came in between his parents. Whereas 'Moonraampirai', showcased the predicament of a young woman laid up with amnesia caused by an accident. Balu Mahendra's other film 'Julie Ganapathi' portrayed a woman with an aggressive mindset resulting from a kind of hysteria and hallucination.Besides projecting the psychological helplessness of the protagonists, all the three films also duly highlighted the agony of those who came closer to the hero or heroine, undergoing the psychic stress. The nervousness of Shoba in the hands of Pratab Pothan in 'Moodupani', the pathetic climax of 'Moonraam Pirai' showing Kamalahasan struggling to bring back the events that took place during Sridevi's spell of amnesia and the restless moments of 'Jeyaram' with the trauma -framed Saritha were all wonderful revelations of how one's abnormal psychological condition disturbs others associated with them.
    The other theme that Balu Mahendra has visited now and then is the influence of circumstances on the lives of innocent individuals towards transforming their routine from good to bad. Both his 'Yathra' [Malayalam] and 'Idhu Oru Kana Kaalam' describe how the peaceful life of the heroes is put to the unforeseen ordeal of committing a crime by a sudden turn of events.Responses to provocations most unexpectedly lead to an act of crime . A night spent in police custody and the later developments force Danush to attack a fellow prisoner for self defence,causing the death of that guy who was the source of provocation. In 'Yathra' Mammootty is arrested on grounds of suspicion and the subsequent events lead to the hero  unwittingly killing a cop and is made to suffer life imprisonment.In both the cases, it is the shocking, unforeseen developments that make the life of the two individuals miserable.
   Thus  personal or circumstantial aberrations, have mostly influenced the creative voice of Balu Mahendra and made him speak of the sufferings of characters afflicted with the consequences of such deviations from the normal track of life.There were exceptions like 'Veedu' that realistically brought out the difficulties faced by middle class families in owning a house and 'Neengal Kettavai' which was an action -cum revenge film that is not his usual creative path.But even in the action genre, he proved his capacity to entertain through a conventional formula in a different way. Balu Mahendra has also come out with a police story using the talent of the Superstar,in his 'Un Kannil Neer Vazhindaal'.
   Balu Mahendra is a maker of films without exaggerations of any kind.As he has admitted in one of his interviews,he has a preference for dark tinted actors [Archana and Saritha] and ruggedness in men noticed in his choice of actors like Banu Chandar,Thiagarajan,Rajinikanth and Danush. But beyond all this, he is talent hungry and his aesthetics of film making is of an exceptional nature with an obsession for showing the ugly as beautiful and enriching the beautiful with his creative imagination, generating a self made microscopic vision programme. His unruffled and refined presentation of films as an enjoyable art experience, has made him not only deserve many kinds of awards but also retain his position as one of the most challenging film makers in Indian cinema.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Sarath Kumar's Macho Might.

   The 'macho' or 'machismo'spirit is the masculine vigour that a man carries in his appearance and behaviour. To be a hero, is to be manly in looks.No doubt,lean heroes like Danush are also making an impressive show with a thrust of ruggedness and charm.But it is always a pleasure to watch a hero, with a well built physique as a pedestal, on which is crowned a handsome face that is in perfect sync with the body.When brawn and brain meet at a exactly matching point,one becomes a model of manliness.It is in this sense Sarathkumar occupies an insuperable place, as an amazing mass hero, earning the title Supreme Star,without exaggeration of any kind. 
    Who can doubt the veracity of Sarathkumar manually lifting a car in 'Periya Gaundar Ponnu'? Owing to his genuine,tall and sturdy muscular frame,credibility of such a scene made it almost a live event. It is this extraordinary masculine appeal that makes Sarathkumar become a natural choice for donning roles  such as, an army officer, a police personnel, a family patriarch, a village chieftain and so on.His first appearance itself was that of a police inspector in 'Kan Simittum Neram',a Karthik Muthuraman film.But the film that gave him a great break was K.S.Ravikumar's Cheran Pandian,though he had already impressed the audience as a remarkable villain in Vijayakanth's 'Pulan Visaaranai'. The first grand show of Sarathkumar as a full fledged dynamic hero was in Pavithran's 'Sooryan', in which Sarath appeared as a victimized cop waiting to undo the evil forces and establish his integrity.Later he did other cop stories like 'Vedan' and 'Gambberam'. He was chic and smart as army officer in 'Captain','I Love India' and 'Yei' .
    If Sathyaraj teamed up with P.Vasu and Manivannan to give many hits, K.S.Ravikumar and
Sarathkumar combination came out with about ten films of which 'Naattaamai' and 'Natpukkaga' were block busters; their other great shows were 'Paattaali' and 'Samuthiram'.All these films had
a strong story line with a rural base, celebrating cherished individual and family values like integrity,emotional loyalty and commitment to justice with clear perceptions of the right and wrong.The greatness of Sarathkumar's acting stuff is its balanced blend of paradoxes like softness and firmness,levity and sobriety,poise and force.
   Sarath is one among the enlightened actors with a precise understanding of action sequences,so as to fix his mood perfectly to the relevant emotions meant for outburst as well as underplay .He was commanding in tone in 'Naattaamai' but was the embodiment of submission and modesty in 'Natpukkaga' a film that immortalized the profound bond of friendship.He continued the same spirit of modesty in 'Paattaali' and his underplay of emotions made him excel in both the films. Village stories have always remained a cake walk for Sarath.The other rural stories that he happily took up for demonstrating his acting gusto were, 'Moovendhar', 'Saamundi','Namma Annaachi ' 'Maayi' and 'Arasu'.The last two in the list from the Mass Movie Makers [like their 'Gambeeram'] were  commercially successful projects too.   
      Hari's 'Ayya' another rural film was a great success story,projecting Sarath as a venerable village elder,capable of determining the votes of the prospective candidates to the legislature.It was yet another display of a standing model of humility and esteem and Sarath essayed it with meek magnificence. Vikraman's 'Suryavamsam' was an awesome movie, that brought out without any exaggeration, the predominance of family sentiment and personal ethics through clean narration. The film transmitted a lot of positive energy personified by ideal characters,leading the show.One could breathe happiness generated by the spirit of sacrifice and surrender of ego.The hero as the noble son of a noble father, was not only free from ego projections but was ready to sacrifice his time and energy for the sake of his wife, aspiring to become an I.A.S officer.In both the films Sarath did dual roles as he did earlier in 'Naattamai' and 'Natpukkaga' and he  always made an indelible mark of difference between dual roles with ease and enthusiasm.
   Sarathkumar has also exhibited here and there,his flair for humour.'Janakiraman',directed by Sundar.C was a full length comedy and the other film of this director of warmth and cheer, in which Sarath did dual roles was Rishi. Sarath has also delivered his role with a humour sense in the first half of 'Yei'.However,it was Sarath's macho might that used to dominate in most of his films.'Thenkasipattinam' is one such movie wherein Sarath and Nepoleon established the core norms of a strong childhood friendship reflecting ruggedness,force and masculine fury.The other popular films of Sarathkumar were, Kattabomman, Aranmanai kaavalan, Dosth, Dasarathan, Nethaji, Chatrapati, Aravindhan and Vaideeswaran.
    Though not a very good dancer,Saathkumar has fairly contributed his best to the usual choreography movements in the duet song segment of his films.In stunt scenes like Sathyaraj and Vijayakanth it has always been a stunning and winning show, for Sarath. This manly hero has been quite impressive in delivering emotions with a greater feel of the intrinsic attributes of the  roles assigned to him. Sarathkumar can never be said to have overdone his performance at any level, be it an aggressive or submissive youngster or an estimable and dynamic elder.We always notice in his acting style, a perception of balanced distribution of moods, spreading into a comprehensive and profound involvement in performance,that makes him an actor more challenging among his equals.Whatever be his achievement on the urban type of roles,it is in the rural based stuff, he has excelled more, with casual but remarkable exuberance. Above all,it is his supreme macho looks and actions, that give him a higher edge over others, as an outstanding hero of mass attraction. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Main Makers of Sivaji Movies.

KrishnanPnaju             A.Bhimsingh

P.Madhavan.   A.P.Nagarajan.

                           K.Vijayan                                                        C.V.Rajendran.


    Unlike MGR,Sivaji Ganesan was a director's actor.He was malleable and could be made to perform roles as the directors expected him to do and he would most often do much more than what they really expected of him.Quite a lot of directors of Sivaji were themselves the fans of this exemplary actor.Though many were proud of directing Sivaji movies,half a dozen men claim the distinct place of directing Sivaji Ganesan as many times as possible they are A.BhimsinghA.P.Nagarajan,C.V.Rajendran,A.C.Thirulogchandar,P.Madhavan and K.Vijayan. These were followed by other popular directors like B.R.Pantulu,C.V.Sridhar  K.S.Gopalakrishnan and Muktha Srinivasan.
    Though Krishnan Panju the duo, take the credit for directing 'Parasakthi' the first film of Sivaji Ganesan and later his other popular films like 'Pudhayal''Dheivapiravi' 'Kungumam' and 'Uyarndha Manithan',it was A.Bhimsingh who felt delighted in bringing out the hidden treasure house of acting in Sivaji Ganesan. Starting with Raja Rani, A.Bhimsingh has directed nearly fifteen films of Sivaji Ganesan. Almost all his films with Sivaji Ganesan, were his best and beautiful releases that found a lasting place in the filmography of Tamil Cinema. His magnificent productions were Padhibakthi,Baagapirivinai,Padikkaadha Medhai, Paasamalar Paalum Pazhamum,Paava Mannippu,Padithaal Mattum Podhumaa,Paar Magale Paar, Pazhani, Shanthi  Paarthaal Pasitheerum and'Bantha Paasam'. 
     A.Bhimsingh was an expert in creating family dramas with deeper emotions entangling the protagonist, pushing him to the extremes of sacrifice for the sake of his parents or siblings.The hero was shown as the victim of circumstances leading to a cloud of misunderstanding among the family members and the climax showing the hero as a perfect human being calling for emulation by others. Noble themes and story lines upholding traditional values,cathartic developments and exaltation of personal and family edifices were the priorities of this mighty maker of Sivaji movies. Sivaj brilliantly carried on the roles assigned to him making Bhimsingh a member of his fan club.Interestingly almost all the Sivaji Ganesan films directed by A.Bhimsingh,started with letter P {Pa' inTamil}and some of the outstanding films in this regard were Paasamalar,Paalum Pazhamum,Padikkadha Medhai,Padithaal Mattum Podhuma,Paarthaal Pasitheerum and Pazhani.
     A.P.Nagarajan,the grand master of mythical expositions on the big screen,seems to have been carried away by the voice and vigour of Sivaji's acting demeanour. He not only made fabulous mythical films like Thiruvilaiyaadal,Saraswathi Sabatham, Kandhan Karunai Thiruvarutchelvar and Thirumaal Perumai but also came out with interesting family -oriented scripts like  Kulamagal  Raadhai Vadivukku Valaikaappu, Gurudhatchanai Vilaiyaattuppillai and the most gripping Thillaanaa Mohanaambaal. Besides, he also directed the historical film 'Raja Raja Cholan' with Sivaji donning the title role.The distinct characteristics of A.P.N were his high quality literary Tamil dialogues,the strength of veracity in his approach to mythical subjects and the precision followed in the presentation of necessary settings besides making the events relevant to the respective genre of narration.
    Truth and dedication were the two predominant mottoes of APN's directorial perceptions and  he never deviated from this fundamental concept of film making in any of his ventures. Choice of actors to represent various roles,focus on correct costumes, makeup sense,and validity of setting formulations were the additional realities that made all his narrations true to the base of his film making process.He etched out the characters with the conviction of a creative genius and supervised all the sequences leading to the completion of the project in its perfect form.Those were great days and to think of such men breathing the fresh air of creativity would lead  one to nostalgic moments re-installing scenes of a glorious past.
    C.V.Rajjendran was a different kind of film maker with a light mind to recreate and entertain.His films like 'Raja','Needhi','Enmagan','Vaani Rani'' Sivagamityin Selvan' and 'Unakkaaga Naan' were all remakes of Hindi movies.This director's focus was entertaining the audience with warmth and grace like light showers on a Summer evening.His only movie of Sivaji Ganesan with a tragic course of events was 'Vaazhkai' His breezy narration of lighter themes could be watched with enthusiasm in films like 'Kalaattaa Kalyaanam' and 'Sumathi En Sundhari'.Like A. Bhimsingh C.V.Rajendran has also directed about fifteen movies of Sivaji Ganesan and besides the list of films mentioned above,'Ponnoojal' and 'Manidharul Manickam' need a special mention.C.V.R seems to have made his films with a sense of ease as if he was making cakes or puddings for an effortless but effective reach with the audience.
    A.C.Thirogchandar was one among the most sensitive film makers,loaded with scripts projecting the hero as a superior human being endowed with a lot of sentiments and ennobling emotional stuff committed to the well being of others.Though the narration of events would appear to be melodramatic,the over all impact would be the transmission of a feel of exaltation to the viewers through a brief celluloid session of lessons in noble living.Some of his electrifying shows were 'Baabu','Iru Malargal' 'EnThambi','Engirundho Vandhaal','Bharatha Vilas','Deivamagan' 'Doctor Shiva' and 'Avanthaaan Manithan'. His other memorable films were 'Thangai', 'Thirudan'  'Enga Maamaa' Anbe Aaruyire' and 'Ennaippol Oruvan'.It was a melting process for the protagonist in the hands of the director and the end result was the audience too began to melt down watching the life models of humility,consummate love and total surrender of the self before the ennobling goals of life.These were attitudes of an individual frame of mind capable of passing on the element of goodness to others.It was a supreme idealistic approach to make creativity a soul making endeavour. To think of a man like A.C.Thirilogchandar, is to undergo an experience in an ideal zone. 
     P.Madhavan's film making attitude was a balanced combination of emotions and real life  situations causing a telling impact on story and character-formation.One could say that he was a creator with a realistic approach towards interpreting how human contexts played a vital role in one's life.Most of his films would make us confront life's actual happenings on the screen with of course, the inevitable relevance to the prevalent, individual and social attributes of that particular period, during when, his films were made.The best of his qualitative movies that were also box office hits were, 'Gnana Oli' 'Vietnam Veedu','Pattikkadaa Pattanamaa','Raman Ethanai Ramanadi','Thangapadhakkam' 'Enga Oor Raja' and 'Rajapart Rengadurai'.Even the rest of the nearly fifteen films of Sivaji Ganesan that he made, can not be said to have failed in their purpose of creation. As a director of Sivaji Ganesan,P.Madhavan can claim a special position because,he could evolve the chief character of his films with a strategic base and precisely connect the evolution of the character, with a contextual fitment code, so as to carry on his narration through a sharper focus on the interrelated course of events, leading to a sense of completeness in watching his films.There was a consistent thrust of seriousness in purpose and a commitment to neatness in presentation, that made Madhavan an outstanding film maker of his time. 
    K.Vijayan,like C.V.Rajendran and A.C.Thirulogchandar, was closer to the Sujatha Cine Arts production house of K.Balaji. He too re-created films like 'Viduthalai','Thiagam' and 'Deepam' from other languages and his 'Thirisoolam' produced by Sivaji Films,became a silver jubilee hit besides his other great film 'Annan Oru Koil' He made about ten movies of Sivaji Ganesan and some of the other notable films in this list were 'Nallathoru Kudumbam', 'Nirabarathi' and 'Rojavin Raja'. Like C.V.Rajendran, Vijayan also threw his lot with the family and action genres of films and his genuine credentials for providing quality entertainment were well known.
     B.R.Panthulu would have directed about seven films of Sivaji Ganesan starting from 'Thangamalai Ragasiyam' and the most hilarious comedy 'Sabash Meena'. He made historical and mythological block busters like 'Veera Pandia Kattabomman' 'Karnan' and 'Kappaloettia Thamizhan'.His 'Muradan Muthu' and 'Bale Paandia' were  great in narration and true to their respective theme and story line . K.S.Gopalakrishnan the master story teller enjoyed equally creditable comfort levels with Sivaji Ganesan in using his acting excellence for his successful story lines in 'Selvam','Kulama Gunama','Kai Kodutha Deivam' and 'Pesum Deivam'. 
   T.R.Ramanna who could be proud of directing the only movie [Koondukkili]that MGR and Sivaji acted together,also made 'Thangachurangam' and 'Sorgam' with Sivaji as hero. Muktha Films Srinivasan made a few hits like 'Niraikudam','Thavapudhalvan' and 'Anbaithedi' all focusing on a specific failing of the protagonist such as evening blindness,day dreaming and craving for stage acting and so on. Sridhar who normally used  the softer acting stuff in Gemini Ganesan, Muthuraman and Kalyan Kumar,inducted Sivaji Ganesan to make films like  Punarjenmam' , 'Vidivelli''Nenjirukkumvarai' 'Vairanenjam' and 'Sivanthaman' the last in the list being a mega hit Tamil film to be completely shot outside India.
     There were other eminent film makers such as L.V.Prasad, [ known for his Sivaji hits like 'Manohara','Mangaiyarthilagam' and 'Iruvar Ulaam' ]D.Yoganand, ['Thaai' 'Thangaikkaga' and 'Naan Vaazha Vaipen' and several others during the final spell of the Chevalier's acting career ] T.PrakashRao [famous for his wonderful film 'Uthamaputhiran'] and K.S.Prakash Rao for his silver jubilee hit 'Vasantha Maaligai.'Vietnam Veedu Sundaram needs a distinct place for his incomparable film 'Gowravam' that creditably focused on a power packed performance of Sivaji Ganesan in dual roles. K.Shankar,best known for his commendable direction of 'Aalayamani' and 'Aandavan Kattalai' Dadhamirasi, who directed Sivaji's most critically viewed film 'Pudhiya Paravai' and Malliyam Rajagopal whose 'Savaale Samaali' created history as a film with a revolutionary social message,have also found a lasting place in the list of makers of Sivaji movies.
     Later, new generation directors like Durai, Manivannan, Barathi Raja,Bagyaraj, Kasturi Raja R.V.Udhayakumar,A.Jegannathan,and K.S.Ravikumar have all joined the list of makers of Sivaji movies at least once. Barathiraja in particular, made a unique mark by making Sivaji do a character with an underplay of emotions and the very title of the movie 'Mudhal Mariadhai' implied an offer of primary reverence to Sivaji Ganesan. All these new generation film makers found it as a special privilege to do a film with that stalwart hero. It should be mentioned that among the half a dozen main makers of Sivaji Ganesan movies, A.Bhimsingh, C.V.Rajendran and K.Vijayan did not work with MGR even for a single film;whereas, the other three men worked for just one movie each, with that mass hero .
    For all those who had directed Sivaji Ganesan,it really would have been an astounding task to keep on looking for newer challenges to feed the insatiable histrionic hunger of a world class actor like him. All the directors of Sivaji Ganesan had not only made their hero grow into a multidimensional actor but had also created indelible impressions on their creative tracks with a granary of talents identified in one man and the galaxy of emotions that his face,voice and limbs could pass on uninterruptedly.The greatness of Sivaji's directors was, that they they could provide the actor boundless terminals with numerous vehicles, for a varied and challenging course of journey every time, that made their creative experience, worthy of celebration and remembrance.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Prophet of the Music Kingdom.

    ''Music soothes our sorrows,heals our wounds and drives away our fears.''The power of music is always an insuperable proposition because it is divinity that forms the base for the evolution of music.Blessed are those that carry the spirit of music in their veins.Very few are there who do not have an ear for music.It is equally true that not all can compose tunes worthy of being heard and enjoyed. Every generation comes across one or two maestros making music that does not just reach human ears but moves deeper into the souls of men and women.
    There were times when people's leisure hours were tied to radio programmes in the absence of television and its various channels.The musical melodies at bed time were the most cherished treasure of  one's routine.The All India Radio with its Manoranjan and Geetmaala used to play the golden melodies of Mohammed Rafi,Mukesh,Mahendra Kapoor, Mannade and Latha Mankeshwar. It was a kind of assuaging music that made one prepare for a peaceful night's sleep.To think of those days itself would drive people to their nostalgic nerves.In Tamil until the middle Seventies  the melodies of M.S.Viswanathan and K.V.Mahadevan in the form of sweet film songs  would comfort every one, after a day's tough routine.Then came all of a sudden, some fresh tunes with an all inclusive rhythm of the rural breath.It was a pulsating beginning with  unheard of musical notes turning the ears of the Tamil speaking lot, towards a totally different kind of aural experience. The song 'Machana Paathingala' from the film Annakkili reverberated everywhere making music closer to the Tamil soil. A new Tamil music director called Ilayaraja [prince] was born with a bang.
     The objective of the article is not to list the films for which this great soul added the life supporting oxygen.But the intention is genuinely for inhaling once again the fresh air that came with the thousands of songs tuned by an extraordinary musical genius.I have no knowledge of the sum and substance of the 'swarams' [notes].Nor can I claim to be at least a bathroom singer.But I have my ears open for music as I have my passion for watching films.The music of Ilayaraja has made me enjoy and suffer the pang of sorrow. Who will say 'no' to his most enjoyable numbers like ''Ilamaiyenum Poongaatru''[Pagalil Oer Iravu], 'Ilayanila Ezhugiradhe'[Payangal Mudivadhillai]  'Sangeetha Meham'[Udhaya Geetham] and 'Thooliyile Aadavandha'[Chinna Thambi] all from the scintillating voice of SPB  and the soothing melodies like 'Janani Janani' from 'Thai Mogaamigai ''Then Paandi cheemai- yile' from 'Nayagan' [sung by Raja himself] ''Poongathave Thaal Thiravai''  by Deepan Chakravarthi from Nizhalgal,'Rasaathi Uaana' from the mellifluous voice of Jeyachandran in 'Vaidhehi Kaathitundhaal' 'Kanne Kalaimaane'' [Moonraam pirai] ''Poove Poo chooda  va'' from the movie bearing the same title and ''Ammavai Vanangatha Uyirillaiye'[Mannan]  all from the vibrant voice of Jesudas, 'Ennai Thaalaatta Varuvaalaa' [Kadhalukku Mari -yadhai] from the penetrating voice of Hariharan and''Poutrippaadadi Penne'' from Devar Mahan .Who will refuse to dance for his numbers 'Aayiram Thaamarai Mottugale'[Alaigal Oivadhillai] ' Adi Rakkamma Kaiyathattu' [Thalapathi]'Aasai Nooruvagai' [Adutha Vaarisu] 'Paasamulla Paandiyaru' [Captain Prabakaran]'Ilamai Idho Idho' [Sagala Kalaa Vallavan] and his very first hit ''Machana Paatheengala?' [Annakkili]
    Among duets'Maasi maasam Aalaana Ponnu'[Dharmadurai] ''Ore naal unai naan nilaavil paarthadhu' '[Ilamai Onnjaladugirathu] ''Andhimazhai Pozhigirathu''[Raaja Paarvai] and 'Enna Satham Indha Neram'[Punnagai Mannan] are a timeless musical treat.The other duet number 'Povouma Bulougam' [Chinna Thambi] from the immortal voice of Swarnalatha joining the clean singing style of SPB really takes us to newer zones.One of the duets that pierces through our emotional walls is the subdued and sorrow laden song ''Poongaatru Thirumbuma''from Mudhal Mariyadhai sung by Malaysia Vasudevan and S.Janaki.
   The famous male voice melodies like 'Then Madhurai Vaigainadhi'[Dharmathin Thalavan] 'Oru Thanga Radhathil oru Manjal Nilavu'[Dharma Yutham by Malaysia Vasudevan] 'Nalam Vaazha Ennaalum' [Marubadiyum] and ''Manjam Vandha Thenralukku,''the most memorable song of SPB from 'Mounaraagam' starting from bass and moving casually to an amazing high pitch always keep ringing in our ears celebrating Raja's magnificent power of music. Some of the most  powerful  male numbers are 'Paadiparantha Kili'[Kizhakku Vaasal] ''Naan Paadaatha Paattugalille''[Dheiva Vaakku] and 'Kuyilapidhichu Koondiladachu' '[Chinna Thambi] sung by SPB. Songs like ''Annanenna Thambiyenna' '[Dharmadurai], and 'Oora therunjugitten' '[Padikkadhavan] both sung by Jesudas, would push people to a philosophical mood with a tinge of sorrow like M.S Viswanathan's' Annan Ennada Thambi Ennada' [Pazhani] and 'Annan Kaattiya Vazhiyamma' [Padithaal Mattum Podhuma] that we heard from T.M.Soundarajan's stentorian voice.
   Almost all the songs composed by this exemplary musician remain closer to the hearts of many  for one reason or the other.This is because of the ever enduring nativity spirit that constantly permeates through his musical compositions.There are a number of films that ran successfully, mainly for Raja's music, more than for other reasons.In some films all his songs were hits.To name a few,Chinna Thambi, Payangal Mudivadhillai,Udhyaya Geetham Vaidhehi Kaathirundhaal,and Agni Natchathiram belong to this category.
   Ilayaraja can never be accused of ignoring talented new singers.But he always effectively used the grand singing of Jesudas,SPB and S.Janaki. The melody queen S,Janaki would have sung some of her best and most exalting songs under the musical composition of Raja. Specially reputed for her distinct high pitch,Janaki's soul making numbers like 'Paadava En Paadalai' [Naan Paadum Paadal],'Poovarsambu Poothaachu' [Kizhakke Pogum Rayil] 'Thaalaatum  Poongatru Naanallavaa'[Gopura Vaasalile]  'Oorujanam Thoongidichu'[Mella Thirandhadhu Kadhavu]  ''Vasantha Kaala Kolangal'' [Thiagam] and 'Azhagumalar Aaada'[Vidhehi Kaathirundhaal] carry a mesmerizing effect on the listeners.Among the other talents that Raja frequently encouraged were Swarnalatha who died young and Jensi whose 'En Vaanile Ore Vennila' [Jaani] is an eternal melody number.
   There are a few extraordinary things to be said about Ilayaraja. He is a musical child born at the advent of the transition period of Tamil Cinema.He began his astounding show of music at a time when the mammoth star MGR was almost on the verge of his acting career. Hence Raja missed the opportunity for composing music for any movie of that legendary hero.Nor could he frequently utilize the clear and masterly voice of T.M.Soundarrajan. The one great song ''Kadavul Ninaithaan Mananaal Koduthaan''[Keezh Vaanam Sivakkum] deserves repeated listening. Raja and M.S.Viswanathan put up a combined effort to compose music for R.Sundarajan's ''Mella Thirandhadhu Kadhavu''. One can  notice the sublime quality of his music on his calm and unruffled face.He displays no airs of the pride of an incomparable achiever.Like MSV he too made a modest  musical parade during the harmonium days.The music of Raja has never been jarring because it has been an instinctive flow of  sanctifying stuff emanating from divine destinations. Raja's prophetic perception of what kind of next musical move was in store for him and how he should churn it out, made him a venerable creator of leading musical tunes that would govern human hearts as long as this world lasts.His music kingdom has been established as per Godly designs and the extent to which his music will rule is perhaps far and wide as the spread of the kingdom of God.I think, I have said only a little about this exalting song maker and music composer.He definitely deserves a much better tribute than mine.But I earnestly salute his creative spirit.