Thursday, January 15, 2015

Tamil Cinema's Real, Rustic Face.


    Not all actors can truly reflect on the screen, a kind of kinship with the rural soil, with attachment and authenticity.Tamil film makers have time and again visited the rural block with meaty script and lovely narration.No one can forget the celebration of village life with all its attractive attributes in the movies of great film makers like A.Bhimsingh,Krishnan Panju,K.S.Gopalakrishnan,Malliam Rajagopal Baharathiraja, and so on.Starting from Sivaji Ganesan and MGR almost every other hero has become unforgettable characters of films based on rural themes and stories. Sivaji Ganesan's Baagapirivinai, Pazhani and Mudhal Mariyadhai are immortal testimonies of life in the villages of Tamil Nadu.But there is one actor who has genuinely displayed himself as the truest son of the rural soil,breathing the rustic air,looking rugged all the while talking the rural slang  eating the way a villager would eat and above all upholding the long cherished values of the traditional village routine,heart and soul. Raj Kiran,the dignified actor,producer and director of films stands unique as the veritable model of the rural realm of Tamil Nadu.
    To me Raj Kiran physically resembles P.S.Veerappa,the menacing villain actor of the last century. The bold pair of eyes,the stout physique and certain aspects of facial composition of Raj Kiran bring to my mind a replica of that great actor.What is not there is the intimidating voice throw of P.S.Veerappa with its innate harshness and flair for villainy.Raj Kiran on the other hand,has a soft but very firm voice mode, capable of threatening the opponent with an upright force and ferocity.His dialogue delivery is of a distinct pattern with self made intonation and modulation devices to suit his absence of openness in uttering dialogues.One could see a kind of inherent impediment in speech which he successfully overcomes by his self conscious and planned approach to dialogue delivery.On the whole, quite surprisingly,it is his singular way of delivering dialogue that sets into motion his very impressive portrayal of character in its original form.
   Raj Kiran initially opened his innings in Tamil Cinema as a producer giving us the two fairly popular Ramarajan films Raasaave Unna Nambi and Enne Petha Raasaa.He also made an appearance in these films.Then perhaps he would have thought that he himself could grease the paint and turn hero.This resulted in his self- produced movies En Raasaavin Manasile,Arnmanaikkili and Ellaame En Raasaadhaan of which the first one,a silver jubilee hit,was directed by Kasturi Raaja.The other two films were directed by Raj Kiran himself and they too were grand shows.It was the role of an irresponsible lout, with a  rough and tough exterior masking a soft and lovable inner self, that he played in all these films.He would be an indifferent husband or a rowdy,and a gambler but basically good at heart with a lot of love for his mother and wife hidden inside.These roles were a cake walk for him and his rugged looks made his role performance as spontaneous as possible.
   After these hits came Manickam  which was a moderate show. Raj Kiran came in the other two films Ponnu Vilayura Bhoomi and Veera Thaalaattu  directed by Kastoori Raja. Later he was associated with director Cheran for his popular films Paandavar Bhoomi and Thavamaai Thavam irundhu. From a hero to character role performance it appeared to be a smooth transition for Raj Kiran and directors like Cheran, Baala[Nanda}Lingusaamy{Sandakkozhi}Hari{ Koil and Vengai} L.Vijay {Kireedom}Siddique {Kaavalan}and P.Vasu{Thottaal Poo Malarum}have brought out the best acting stuff  in Raj Kiran.In most of these films Raj Kiran has donned the role of a village chieftain in the manner of Sivaji Ganesan and Vijyakumar. He has been an award winner for essaying supportive character roles,several times.With an obviously rugged exterior it is not that easy to switch over from stiffer deliberations to meek and modest portrayals.
   Raj Kiran has been simultaneously successful in this regard and films like Sandakkozhi,Thavamaai Thava mirundhu,Kireedom Kaavalan and the latest Manjapai  would clearly vindicate his amazing potential for performing the character of an estimable and dignified elder, solely representing the rural soil.His performance in the film Manjapai was so true to life that it beautifully and poignantly presented the plight of a village elder caught unawares, in an antithetical urban environment.Besides charmingly presenting the deeper emotional intimacy between a grandfather and his grandson,the film authentically presented the hard core traditional moorings of  a man, feeling uncomfortable in a city, while at the same time not hesitating to join the urban routine with his deep rooted rural values.His ultimate success in winning the hearts of the urban middle class, makes him not only the protagonist of the film but establishes Raj Kiran's position as Tamil Cinema's true rustic face.I am sure the audience would eagerly look forward to his usually and singularly sterling performance, in the upcoming movie Komban to be released on the Pongal day,15th Jan,2015..

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