Saturday, August 23, 2014

An ''Intensively, Dialogue Supported'' Film.


      Radhakrishnan Parthiban’s ‘’Kadhai Thiraikadhai Vasanam Iyakkam’’ {Story, screenplay, Dialogue and Direction’’} carrying the apologetic note ‘a  film without a story’ rightly justifies the note. Perhaps the lengthy title of the movie has inspired the director in Parthiban to expand his name too, from the hitherto R.Parthiban to Radhakrishnan Parthiban. The four worded title, in my opinion, could do Parthiban {one of my highly esteemed Tamil film personalities known for creative originality,in the line of K.Balachander Barathiraja and Kamalahasan }genuinely  proud of the third component of the title.
       Parthiban,most reputed for his spontaneous potshots hardly misses them at any point of the scenic sequences and it is the banter and cheeky sense of humour that infuse consistent tempo and gusto to an otherwise moderate film and make it fit for audience appreciation. Every scene showing Arvind{Dhinesh Natarajan} snubbing Seenu Sir {Thambi Ramaiah} is a mixture of juvenile presumptuousness  and senile helplessness. But  the amount of hilarity and laughter these scenes generate, are a great stuff, minimizing the  impact of the loopholes in narration.
   Parthiban’s banter is not anything new to us. We have been interestingly watching it from his very first film Pudhiya Paadhai. Besides his word teasers, we have also seen a kind of mood shuffling, deftly introduced by him in narrating his scenes and characters. This mood shuffling of Parthian is always a beautiful blend of humour,despair, anger, taunt and cynicism, hardly sparing any section of society including women. His wrath against irresponsible parents for the creation of bastards, criminals and thugs used to surface in some of his most successful films. He has not spared the political system and police force too. 
    There is a kind of creative audacity in him that places him far ahead of others, involved in making films. One could also see a pattern of mood imbalance prioritized in the form of themes and characters in many of his films and even in this latest venture, there is a character-a security guard-talking to the ghost of his boss. Satire is Parthiban’s pet area and in this film he has run the risk of temerity, in throwing stones from a glass house, not minding the damage it might cause to his own creative abode.
   The caricature of Lord Bramma, briefly played by Praksh Raj is nothing but a hurried hotchpotch. In fact all the beginning shots, except the one showing Vijay Sethupathi stealing the ceiling fan instead of  doing the anticipated act of committing suicide by hanging from the fan,do not seem to evoke the intended result of creating an inventive approach. Similarly,the story within the story, showing Arya and Amala Paul as lovers, turns out to be a listless narration without adding any tempo to the main course. 
    In one scene a woman is shown asking the film making team if they do any preview of their films. When the team responds in the affirmative, pat she asks them, then why the films are so intolerably bad. This is Parthiban’s style of self-criticism that has the potential to endanger his own script and its final outcome. But he does not bother  about that.
    Two characters who monitor the pulse of the film from the audience track, are Arvind and Seenu Sir.I am sure this is yet another memorable performance of Thambi Ramaiah after Myna and Kumki. The sly reference to Devar Films leaves its intentions to audience perception. But the new generation film makers should not forget the fact that Devar Films had its distinct merit of grasping what would sell and what would not.The pointed reference to Bagyaraj excellently handling the climax in his most celebrated filmAndha Ezhu Naatkal, speaks about the quality of career association between Parthiban and Bagyaraj.
    Santhosh Pradap playing the hero is compact in form and performance, maintaining the level of sobriety that his role requires. Akila Kishore as the heroine Daksha, has been adequately utilized in reflecting the aesthetics and dynamism of womanhood. Dialogues such as ‘you deserve a kiss’ and koyya pazham becoming koidha pazham would reach the younger audience in their romantic ripeness.
    The film unit repeatedly says that the audience are the ultimate jury to accept or reject a film. Four of us went to watch the film. I loved the film for its cutting dialogues and screen play but regretted the absence of anything new in theme and direction. One of my companions could not watch it because her kid cried at the irrelevant horrid start of the film.The three year old kid, used to watching films with a projector at home, rejected the movie and asked us to change the film.As we could not do it at a theatre, the mother and kid instantly left the theatre. Of the other two,one could withstand it, while the last in the list squarely hated the film, calling it a waste of time.Interestingly, all my companions for this movie watch, constituted the women audience. What the other sections of the audience would say, we have to wait and see.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Tamil Films on Patriotism.

      Patriotism could be called a fine feeling cherished by everyone, for the well being of one's country.It is similar to one's love and attachment for one's parents or even more than that.One's patriotic ground turns firm and robust when one's country faces threat to its sovereignty or when its independence is under pressure from imperialist forces.To be ruled by others at the cost of one's freedom is worse than serfdom and suppression.When a country is suppressed,enslaved and ruled by others it results in untold agony and outbursts of resistance letting out a collective, clarion cry for freedom.It is then the natives' love for their country deepens its roots for a firm resolve, to guard their soil above everything else.Films quite often pay encomiums to the spirit of patriotism, in the form of exemplary themes,stories and characters.Tamil cinema has shown consistent enthusiasm and involvement in this regard.
     When one's country enjoys independence and freedom,the greatest effort sets in, to look forward to rejoicing moments of prosperity and peace and protect one's geographical frontiers against corrupt and divisive forces that begin to function with vested interests. When the native rulers at times, make the people feel that their post independent era is no better or even worse than that of the colonial rulers,the true patriots begin to simmer in rage and react vehemently, to the prevailing practice of injustice that dampens the presence of independence.Patriotism does not say goodbye, when a country becomes independent.On the other hand,it is a sustained sense of fulfillment when one feels that everything goes on on well ever,in one's country, thereby making the concept of freedom more meaningful and rewarding. Pre-independent years in India witnessed the united voice of patriotism in ousting the colonial forces;post independent years have propelled patriotic fervour against selfish power mongers, settling their personal scores through money,muscle and the might of governance.
     Tamil films on patriotism, released just before and a decade after independence,dwelt mostly on the defence forces devotedly guarding the territories, from cross border aggression by neighbouring countries.There were also a few impressive shows of freedom fighters, through films like Veera Pandia Kattabomman,Siva Gangai Seemai and Kappalottiya Thamizhan released during the Nineteen Sixties and these films carried substantial relevance to the mood of freedom.A couple of films like Padhi Bakthi, Rathathilagam and Paarthaal Pasitheerum,paid grand tributes to the service and sacrifices of soldiers, languishing at the defence borders.In a majority of films, the greatest Tamil actor Sivaji Ganesan was seen adding glory to the heroes of patriotism by his emotional percolation into such characters. He did this not only by adorning the protagonist's role in patriotic films, but also proudly facilitating the spirit of patriotism through a scenic or song sequence of that kind in any film, on other family or social themes such as Baratha Vilas and Rajapart Rangadhurai.
   Heroes like Vijayakanth and Sarathkumar have time and again carried on their struggle for a brighter and more powerful India,through their repeated role performance in a number of films. Rajinikanth's Raanuva Veeran,Saratkumar's Captain and Yei, Vijayakanth's Sandhanakkatru,and Satyaraj's Thai Naadu have narrated story lines directly related to the experiences of army men. There was also an army related story background in Prabu Deva's Villu starring Vijay.Most of these films tried to pinpoint negative tendencies among some army men  that transformed them into anti nationals at the cost of their fundamental patriotic requirements.  
     Social inequalities,neglect of those who fought for the freedom of India,promotion of deliberate injustice for the sake of personal aggrandizement,have served as powerful themes and have dramatically supplemented the patriotic voice, in a number of films and the proud fact is this kind of films are more popular with the audience at all times.It comes as a comprehensive story format of social concern and this is how some of the leading heroes create their mass base for success formula.This is how MGR became a people's hero.Almost all his films either completely or at least partially, formed a battleground against social evils and injustice.In this way,MGR became an all time hero and a stalwart voice of patriotism.
    As a director of the new generation,it is Shankar who has taken the lead in projecting social concern as synonymous of patriotism.His constant and compulsive line of thinking against corruption and injustice, places him as a front liner among the new wave patriots patrolling the field for a clean up.What is striking about this new tend in patriotism is the passion for pruning one's home through a simultaneous tone of sympathy for the personally and socially affected lot and through anger and force displayed in the cleaning process.
    Starting from his very first film Gentleman,Shankar has steadily grown as the brand master of the most sensational theme of political and social corruption being handled astutely by the concerted, anti corruption lobby.His Indian was the story of an erstwhile freedom fighter and a true patriot whose disgust against enormous corruption took him to the extent of terminating the whole corrupt lot and a single knife became the tool, picked up for the cleaning process.His film Mudhalvan resorted to a more positive and pragmatic approach, but finally showed the patriot embracing the firmer,manipulative Machiavellian mode to eradicate the evil political face.Shankar's other film Annian showed the patriot as a case of paranoid, split personality,choosing a much cruder method, for extinguishing the social and national enemies from within.His film Sivaji, like his Gentleman,focused on positive intelligence as a powerful ploy against the perpetrators of corruption and social injustice.
   When it comes to new generation actors,it is action king Arjun who looks up high as the proudest Patriot of Tamil cinema.Be it the titles of his films or the roles he has played so far, his conviction has placed him as the topmost among Tamil heroes,saluting their country's image and its flag with dignity and gratitude.Even from his earliest films like Sankar Guru and Pratap,Arjun has stuck to the position of a hard core fighter against the wrong side players spoiling the peace and happiness of the place they dominate.Titles of his films like Jai Hind,Thaayin Manikkodi,Vandhe Madhram straight away take us to the patriotic zone. Arjun deserves a singularly commendable position in Tamil Cinema, for powerfully presenting and representing the sense of well being, cherished by all Indians, in each of his films.He could be rightly called the Indian of Tamil Cinema.
   Films on patriotism would be perennially powerful as a thought provoking exhibit of heroism,dedication and sacrifice.A periodical portrayal of patriotic values on the big screen becomes a prerequisite for reinforcing the ethical foundation of every nation.The quality of life of all citizens of a country needs to be augmented and enriched by those who take oaths in the name of their conscience,to govern.Those who govern with qualms and ethical norms would ever remain as the truest patriots,inspiring the people who they govern.In a country where the citizens are inspired by valued governance,everyone shares the mood of patriotism towards the over all development of their country.


Saturday, August 2, 2014

P.S.Veerappa, The Villain Actor-Cum- Film Producer.

    Cruel, bold eyes,harsh voice and a distinctly haughty, serial laugh,were the salient traits that characterized the villainy of P.S.Veerappa,the most formidable villain actor of the last century. People can hardly forget the serpentine venom his tongue would throw, while delivering dialogues. The world those days, was true to itself without the presence of electronic maneuvers to paint it differently.People by and large were either good or bad without any trace of pretensions in trying to be good.As such, the villains in real life or in cinema, exposed themselves with their true colors. Sophisticated villainy was rare then.Hence the two major villains P.S.Veerappa and M.N.Nambiar were rightly identified, as the incarnation of crudeness and brutality.More than Nambiyar,Veerappa seemed to find pleasure in winning the proclaimed hatred of the audience, against his villainy on screen.
       MGR became a great hero, mostly with the competitive villainy of either Veerappa or Nambiar or  with both of them seen together, in the same film of that marvelous hero. MGR and Veerappa fought against each other in a number of films.The most memorable in this list was the film Mahadevi,with MGR as King and P.S.Veerappa,as his lieutenant,craving for the king's wife.This film showed Veerappa in the worst ever villain role,that invited the spontaneous hatred of everyone, particularly the women among the audience.Their hatred was more against his performance than against him.How crude a villain he was in that film, to turn the hero blind and then attempt to kill the hero's new born kid just for the sake of his craving for the wife of another man. Mahadevi produced by the Jupiter pictures, was a historic hit and Veerappa's villainy was its major contributing factor.
   There were other fantastic series of the MGR-Veerappa tussle,like Marudha Naatu Ilavarasi, Jenoa, Mannadhi Mannan,Chakravarthithirumagal, Vikramadhithan, Alibaabaavum Naarpadhu Thirudargalum,Nadodi Mannan,Rajarajan,and Madhuraiyai Meetta Sundara Pandian, which happened to be the last film of MGR.All these films were based on royal or mythical themes with stories about great kings and their ordeals in achieving good in the midst of concerted wickedness and evil.Obviously,Veerappa always reflected the wrong side in all these films. Naam, Anandha Jothi and Pallaandu Vaazhga were the other films of MGR in which Veerappa acted as villain, but these three films were based on family and social themes. Anandha Jothi was produced by P.S.Veerappa himself,under Hariharan Pictures.In Pallaandu Vaazhga, Veerappa was shown as a confirmed baddie waiting to be reformed by a good police officer, played by MGR.In Anandha Jothi, Kamalahasan had also acted, as a child artist.
      During my childhood days I used to shudder at the very appearance of P.S.Veerappa.I hated him on the screen more than I hated M.N.Nambiyar, because the latter did good character roles in several films like Makkalai Petra Magarasi,Dhigambara Saamiyar,Nallavan Vaazhvaan,Samaya Sanjeevi, Boologa Rambai,Panathottam,Ninaithadhai Mudippavan and so on. Imagine Veerappa's role in a film like Kaidhi Kannaayiram,a Modern Theatres' film that had R.S.Manohar and K.A.Thangavelu as two heroes.How abominable Veerappa was, both in looks and role portrayal, in that film.Every child shivered at his sight.So did I. Veerappa's other unforgettable villain role was in the movie Vanjikkottai Valiban produced by Gemini Studios.After the famous one liner 'Mahadevi Enna Mudivu Seidhirukkiraai?'{'Mahadevi, What have you decided?'} in the film 'Mahadevi' the other great one liner 'Sabash!Sariyaana Poetti' {'Wow!A proper contest'}would have gone into the memory lane of the audience, to stay there permanently.
     Veerppa's  delivery of chaste Tamil dialogues, was ever a treat to our ears.His timing, precision and clarity of dialogue delivery, were his major assets, as a devoted actor, aptly trained in all norms of dramatic intricacies.Apart from these admirable acting qualities,P.S.Veerappa was extraordinarily good at fencing.Many film goers would have enjoyed the MGR movies released in the Nineteen fifties and sixties, mainly for the felicitous style of fencing displayed by MGR and P.S. Veerappa. Though Veerappa was good at fisticuffs,it was his fencing zeal that was scaled high.
     Apart from MGR,the other hero who would have experienced the ferocious villainy of P.S.Veerappa was,Gemini Ganesan, whose films like Aasai,Vanjikkottai Vaaliban, Veerakkanal {produced by him under his P.S.V banner},Boologa Rambai and Parthiban Kanavu deserve a special place in his film career. Similarly,with S.S.Rajendran,P.S.Veerappa had acted in films like Siva Gangai Seemai and Thalai Koduthaan Thambi,
    It is quite surprising how an outstanding villain actor like P.S.Veerappa who did nearly a dozen films with MGR,was not found sharing screen space frequently with a classic hero like Sivaji Ganesan.Some of the films he did with Sivaji Ganesan were,Kaveri,Ulagam Palavidham,Marudha Naattu Veeran, Rani Lalithaangi and Thangamalai Ragasiyam.It is  equally strange that when this Villain actor became a producer,he chose to do more number of films with Sivaji Ganesan as hero than with MGR.His PSV pictures produced mega hits like Aalayamani and Andavan Kattalai and the fairly popular film Iru Dhuruvam,all with the Chevalier as hero.
    Veerappa's transition from acting to film production appeared to be a casual process and he continued making films with other successful heroes like Jai Shankar {Ponnu Mappile}Sarath Babu{Thisai Maariya Paravaigal},Raguvaran {Kaliyugam}Arjun{Vetri}and Vijayakanth{Saatchi} Like K.Balaji,P.S.Veerappa used to appear as a character in almost all the films produced by him.Apart from the Sivaji Ganesan films,all the other films produced by the P.S.V Pictures had stories based on themes of crime and adventure. Thisai Maaria Paravaigal might be an exception.
   Though P.S.Veerappa could be called a good film producer,people today remember him only as a virulent villain on screen, capable of putting the audience in an experience of watching terror and brutality in traditional form.Whenever people happen to view modern films on historical narration or on the lives of kings and their kingdoms,it is very much true that they long for an actor like P.S.Veerappa to represent villainy of magnificent order.For instance,when Rajinikanth's Maaveeran and Adutha Vaarisu were released,I really felt his absence in those films.Though Jai Shankar and Chendhaamarai performed effectively as Villains I thought if P.S.Veerappa had been there, it would have added more strength and dynamism to the element of villainy in those films.It is rare for a villain actor to leave behind him, a nostalgic audience, thinking of his grand style of acting and longing to see more of his stylish show of villainy, particularly in movies on royal story lines.In this respect, P.S.Veerappa will ever remain more irreplaceable, as an actor than a producer.