Tuesday, April 21, 2015

From The Chevalier Hierarchy.

      The word Chevalier became closer to the Tamil soil, only after Sivaji Ganesan,the legacy of Tamil Cinema, was awarded that title.The French word Chevalier means Knight.The French award, given in the name of Chevalier,was instituted in 1957 and it is an Order of Arts and Letters, awarded to those, for their achievements in and their propagation of, the field of arts and literature.Who in Tamil Cinema, other than Sivaji Ganesan,would have rightly deserved such a prestigious award?That Sivaji Ganesan became a Chevalier was a matter of pride more to Tamil film industry, than to the Samsonite hero.The fame of Sivaji Ganesan as an edifice of acting, is not a news to any one.It is a historic fact.But the Sivaji hierarchy,that is,the line of actors from the genes of that actor prototype,certainly deserves the focus it needs.
      As far as hierarchy is concerned,this blog has already thrown some light on the heirs of another colossal actor M.R.Radha, besides discussing the acting stuff of Prabu Ganesan and Karthik Muthuraman,under the caption 'Two Chips of their Old Block'.But now, the third generation actors in the Chevalier lineage, are slowly moving for a space on the big screen.This becomes a very interesting phenomenon, because it calls for a mood of comparison in terms of perfect role play and flawless display of character dimensions, in an all inclusive format of the acting grandeur of Sivaji Gnesan. I am sure, very often the second and third generation actors from the Sivaji Ganesan family, would have felt humbled by the ever performing exemplary actor, as the founding father of the whole gamut of acting.
     Ramkumar Ganesan and Prabu Ganesan,the two sons of the Chevalier, set their feet on the celluloid stage, at different times,the elder sibling in Aruvadai Naal in 1986 and the younger one four years earlier in 1982 in the film Sangili along with his father.While Ramkumar played the role of a Christian priest making a mark in Aruvadai Naal, starring Prabhu as hero, the latter's debut movie Sangili, was not a good start for him.However,it was Prabhu who could get into his father's shoes, despite the fact that his feet could not compactly fit into them.Whereas Ramkumar coolly withdrew from the race, after My Dear Maarthaandan, to reappear after a long time,as one of the four villains in Shankar's 'I'. 
      Prabhu definitely made his innings with a clear awareness of his comfort zones in acting.His inbuilt geniality in appearance and a voice pattern inherited from his father no doubt showcased him as a successful hero for nearly two decades.But he knows the fact that he is far behind his father, in maintaining the naturally imbibed  thumb rules  of acting, devoutly followed by the family patriarch.Acting ran as blood in the arteries of Sivaji Ganesan and he breathed acting as his life breath.Whereas, what Prabhu could achieve was a felicity in playing innocent characters, as in Chinna Thambi, Sethamizh Paattu and Vanna Thamizh Paattu, besides shuttling between sober and comic depiction of characters . His levels of maturity in acting, became more poignant once he started playing the role of an elder, which keeps him going with the flow.
     While Dushyanth Ramkumar stayed away after a couple of films, Shivaji Dev. Ramkumar seems to be still in the race.But it is Prabhu's son Vikram Prabhu who has started making his mettle after his successful debut hit Kumki, directed by Prabu Solomon.This young hero has sown his credentials, to sprout as an unruffled and natural actor, with an innate stuff to carve a niche for himself,in the race for survival on the big screen.But even here, there is a growing fear of seeing him more as a hero of  the thriller genre, rather than being blessed with opportunities for showing his capabilities, for playing a variety of roles.Starting from Ivan Vera Madhiri,Vikram Prabhu has been seen only in action thrillers like Arima Nambi and Sigaram Thodu. 
   His latest movie Vellakkara Thorai has proved to be a flop not because the actor is a misfit for the comedy genre but because of a very poor course of narration by Ezhil who gave a mega hit film like Thullaadha Manamum Thullum and made a good show of his directorial flair in films like Pennin Manadhai Thottu, Poovellaam Un Vasam Raajaa and Manam Kothi Paravai.The trouble with Vikram Prabu seems to be his fixation in playing roles with a natural frame of mind, rather than doing characters with a cinematic thrust, in body language and dialogue delivery, as his grandfather and father did.It is good to be natural in performing.But it is always more desirable to imbibe a vigorous gusto in presentation for a consistent screen image.Hope Vikram Prabu makes sure, that he reinforces the histrionic parameters for a greater thrust of the hero in him.  
     Vikram Prabu's growth as an actor, should be dynamic, challenging and inspiring, in the line of becoming a versatile actor; it is not only the director's job to make him become an achiever, but is also the actor's responsibility to choose characters calling for greater challenges in performance and portrayal. Otherwise,in a field of alarming competition, the race is going to be very tough and I am sure, this young talent, may not be unaware of the dangling threat to survival.Personally I believe, the future of the Chevalier hierarchy, rests more with Vikram Prabhu than others, to establish the fact, that he is not just like other actors who come and go, but is a promising guy, to make the posterity continue to glorify the Sivaji dynasty, not just for name sake, but for the base on which the hierarchy is built and the way it stands proud, as an eternal monument of the Chevalier substance and splendour.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The wonders of a Tamil Comedian.


   Cinema in general is known for its conventionalities ,clich├ęs  and customary  characteristics for being a formulaic medium of creativity in several aspects. The  variety  with regard to the genre, character formation, musical addition, comic relief, romantic component ,stunt quotient ,cathartic effects and choreography yardsticks do have a set pattern as to  what, when, where and how the above ingredients should get evenly mixed up while making a movie. Even art films have their fundamentals .The only difference is in the mode of presentation of all these elements, reflecting the individual film maker’s  personality and inherent potential. But at times, unusual things happen  just as a whim of  the creative  process  like comets and meteors  or shooting stars adorning the sky. Such  unusual happenings stay as wonders, claiming their timeless galleries for a position of immortality. Tamil Cinema is not lacking in this respect.
    Can any one imagine a popular comedian with a singing ability to lend his voice to the hero as a playback singer, while he himself is acting in that movie in a powerful comic role? Yes, it has happened in Tamil Cinema, with the versatile comedian J.P.Chandrababu giving his voice for none another than the Chevalier, Sivaji Ganesan, for the song ‘'Jolly life’’ in Kalyaanam Panniyum Brmmachari. The same comedy superstar has lent his voice to S.Balachander for the film ‘’Penn’’ and the song was ‘Kalyaanam Venum’.
    Have we ever seen the hero standing beside the comedian, watching him sing and dance? Yes, it was the same Chandrababu who made MGR stand and watch him perform, for the song 'Thillaanaa Paattupaadi’ in the film Pudhumai Pithan. No other comedian except N.S.Krishnan would  have taken this kind of privilege with MGR. Again, no other comedian would have sung three or four songs in a single film as Chandrababu did.[eg.Padhi Bakthi and Kumara Raja].This comedian had been exuberantly singing at least one song in each of his films and at times even two, in several others {Sabash Meena and Adimai Penn might be exceptions}.
    Quite often, Chandrababu is said to have superseded others  in creating a high profile for himself,  in terms of screen space, salary and significance in role assignment. These days when even some heroes find it difficult to do multi tasking, such as fighting and dancing, it is really awesome that we had a comedian who could essay comic and sobre roles { Kavalai Illaadha Manidhan, Kumararaja and so on} sing philosophical songs like Onnume Puriyale Ulagathile,{Kumara Raja} Pirakkumbodhum Azhukinraan,Irakkumbodhum Azhuhinraan{Kavalai Illaadha Manidhan}, Budhiyulla Manidharellaam Vetri Kaanbadhillai{Annai},Sirippu Varudhu{Aandavan Kattalai} and dance breezily, with fascinating brilliance.His rock and roll movements and amazing strokes of gesticulations and typical shades of physical comedy were ever a special attraction.Some of his most popular and fascinating numbers are 'Pambarakkannaale'{Manamagan Thevai} 'Kovaammambazhame' {Maaman Magal}Unakkaaga Ellaam Unakkaaga[Pdhayal} and 'Naan Oru Muttaalunga'{Sahodhari}
    Though Nagesh could act and dance like Chandrababu, he could not sing like him. Chandrababu had a unique vibration in his voice that helped him sing and deliver dialogues felicitously. He had teamed up with all the three heroes of his time viz MGR,Sivaji Ganesan and Gemini Ganesan with equal levels of intimacy. He had been paired with actresses  like E.V.Saroja, Manorama and Madhavi. He had sung duets with established singers of his time like A.G.Rathna Mala, A.P.Komala,Jikki,P.Leela, Jamuna Rani and L.R.Eswari  besides joining great male voices like TMS  P.B.Srinivas and A.L.Raghavan for group songs.
    There would have been many actors doing a round in popular comic roles, but certainly, there would not have been an actor like Chandrababu,with a magnificent  flow of versatility, to find a historic place in Tamil Cinema. Chandrababu had mesmerized the audience by his voice and vibe and ever fixed his personality in the minds of the film goers. The wonders of this diversely talented comedian, will make him ever remain as one of the outstanding profiles of Tamil Cinema.

Friday, April 3, 2015

An Invigorating Rural Drama..

    Starting from the days of A.Bhimsingh,Krishnan Panju and K.S.Gopalakrishnan,rural themes have been electrifying, if portrayed with veracity and vigour. Bharathi Raja and Bagyaraj gave many a rural hit to find a lasting place in the Tamil film archives.After Ameer's Paruthiveeran,here comes another worthy movie of Karthik Sivakumar with all the notable rural ingredients.At the outset it might look like a medley of Raj Kiran's Manickam,Kamal's Devar Magan, Vishal's Sandakozhi and Karthik's Paruthi Veeran .But then story lines can not help carrying an overlapping impact and at times, even narration would reflect a repeat feeling, because it is very difficult to register freshness at all levels.What makes the movie special, is the committed contribution of the entire cast, maintaining the tempo almost with a consistent level of energy.
   The most unforgettable aspect of the film is the treatment of father-in-law/son-in-law relationship with its wide ranging ramifications of mistrust- turned trust, hatred- turned love and insult- turned regard.In this film it is not the father-in-law who undergoes the transformation but the son-in-law who moves closer to his father-in -law.Be it the role of a father or father-in-law, Raj Kiran now a days, is the perfect choice for such a role and he never fails to give a commendably impressive performance.Lakshmi Menon reminds us in certain frames, of her earlier performance in a similar rustic character in Sundara Pandian.Her filial attachment is a straight course and the display of a daughter's love and devotion to her father are refreshing in the sense that there is no over doze of sentiment or melodramatic presentation.
   Sarala has successfully replaced Achi Manorama in a catchy role as the mother of the hero. Thambi Ramaiah's character is getting typecast. Karunas looks a bit exhausted and his strained role performance seems to be unusual of his calibre.The climax stunt scene is greatly pictured and  the spiritual orgy showing Raj Kiran in wild ecstasy and oracle mood, creates an extraordinary feel of freshness with considerable  thrill and twist in narration, bringing a memorable finale to the film. Karthik has fixed his body and mind for a focused delivery of the subtle and aggressive elements of his character. This is certainly another remarkable film of Karthik in the line of Paruthi Veeran,Naan Mahaan Alla,Payyaa and Madras. G.V.Prakash Kumar's music is truly a bonanza with a couple of vibrant songs and gripping background score.The rural feuds are not anything new.But what makes the film specially rural, is the way it credibly establishes the rural routine, with actors becoming part and parcel of the rural mould and narration not deviating anywhere.On the whole the film projects the rural soil with authenticity and understanding.Beyond all this, it is the invigorating style of narration that makes it an interesting rural drama.