Sunday, August 16, 2015

Music as Honey and Breeze.

        Life’s aesthetics consists of so many factors. Of these, music is one of the most influential forms of aesthetic enrichment. Only music lovers know its core value.As such, music should have dominated human imagination from time immemorial. Consequently, taking cultural and traditional cues from its foundation, music  has preoccupied human minds, generation after generation, incorporating  the changing aspirations and trends of each section of humanity.Music by its originality, has conquered mankind both by its vocal and instrumental strength displayed by different people in different countries. The strength of music has most often outlived time, by its capacity to journey through the human ears. creating moments of personal peace, happiness and solace.
      The rhythms, the beats and the melodies of music, have remained as the treasures of fine arts through celebrations of live shows, media transmissions and celluloid augmentation. Films in particular, in almost all human languages, have taken the lead, in preserving and propagating the aesthetic functions of music. Some consider music as the flow of breeze and the fall of honey into their mouth. Tamil films in this regard, are never lagging behind those in other languages. Tamil Cinema holds a very proud position, as the base for the progress and spread of music in its richest form, composed and passed on to music lovers by great music makers .
    This blog has already gloried the presence and contribution of several music directors like G.Ramanathan, K.V.Mahadevan, M.S.Viswanathan, T.K.Ramamoorthy, Ilayaraja, A.R.Reheman and many others, through inclusion of independent and collective articles. In this category, music director Deva who has been described in movie circles as a music maker of honey and breeze, also deserves a special place on account of his unique composition of melodies, duets and gana songs.
      Deva is one among the modest musical voices of Tamil Cinema, well known for making silent achievements  through sheer dedication. What is extraordinary about him is his periodical award winning songs,  that have placed him far above many under achievers. Though he casually started his career with Ramarajan’s moderate film Manasukketha Maharasa,it is a known fact that the movie is remembered more for the songs than for other aspects.
     There are a couple of directors  who gave hits not only because of their qualitative narration, but also because of the most popular music component of those movies. In this regard, Vasanth’s two films Aasai, and Nerukku Ner,S.J.Soorya's Vaali and Kushi as well as Suresh Krishna’s Annamalai and Baasha celebrated their success along with the amazing songs composed by Deva.I think Deva got awards for all the movies excepting Annamalai. The songs in Annamalai were also a special treat. Besides these, Deva  got an award for Prashanth’s first movie Vaikasi Porandhaachu.
     Deva has given highly energetic numbers like ‘Vandhenda Paalkaaran’[Annamalai]’Naaan Autokkaaran’ [Baasha] and‘Adhanda Idhanda’[Arunachalam]  that can ignite a spark in everybody through the majestic voice of SPB. Almost all the songs in Aasai, Vaali, Nerukku Ner,Kushi Agathiyan’s Kaadhal Kottai and Gokulathil Seedhai still remain compulsively mesmerizing.Songs such as Panithuli Panithuli'{Aasai},'Manam Virumbudhe'[Nerukku Ner} Vaazhkaiye Porkalam {Vedan}'Megam Karukkudhu''Mottu Onru Malarndhida'{ both from Kushi}'Thangamaganinru Singa Nadaipottu Vandhaan' [Baasha] and 'Aasapatta Ellaathaiyum Kaasirundha Vaangalaam,Ammava Vaanga Mudiyuma’{Viyaabaari} are mind blowing. 
     Some of the songs shuttling between low and high pitches like Vetri Nichayam[Annamalai} and Kaalamellaam Kaadhal vaazhga[ film with the same title}could pierce the ears for a soul making process.His other most popular song is ''Vellarikkaa' from Kaadhal Kottai.Gana songs like‘Aandaalu' 'Sundakanji soruda’‘kavalai padaahe sagodhara’Salomia' and 'Kothavaal Chhavadi Ladi Koyembedu Vaadi'' continue to ring in our ears. Other heroes whose films have been enriched by Deva’s music are Kamalahasan [Avvai Shanmugi, Pammal K. Sambandham and Panjathandhiram] Sarathkumar [Kattabomman Sooriyan, and Vedan}Vijayakanth {En Aasai Machan Vallarasu,Sokka Thangam, Kallazhagar, and Enga Anna]Prabu {Paanchalankurichi},Karthik Muthuraman{Seenu} and Sathayaraj[Senathipathi and several others] Ajith{ Aasai,Vaali,Kaadhal Kottai, Mugavari and Citizen} and Vijay { Minsaarakkanna and Kushi}.I have included here only a selected list of films.
     Deva has never claimed a supreme position as a music composer in Tamil Cinema.But he could effectively transmit the grandeur of tunes to human imagination by rightly gauging audience mood and expectation.In other words, he knew what the audience wanted and gave it in a very simple and acceptable form without pretending to be a classic music composer.It is his humility and the quality of his musical stuff that earned him worthy awards on the deserving side.When M.S.Viswanathan the father figure of Tamil film music, conferred the title 'Honeyed Musical Breeze'on Deva, he perhaps rightly felt that the title would prove to be genuine and perfect, by the standard performance of Deva.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Notable Two Hero Films in Tamil.


    Celluloid heroes have two objectives.They have to sustain in the field;they have to retain their celebrity status in terms of  continued charisma and popularity.If they have to constantly meet these two objectives,they should not only excel in performance in isolation but also in comparison with fellow artists, in competitive spirit.Perhaps that is why single hero films inspire many heroes, rather than double hero films or films with a galaxy of heroes.Malayalam film industry has considerably broken this theory on a regular basis, by making two hero films and multi hero films.Each hero has beautifully stuck to their unique identity in form style and performance. Multi hero projects are equally successful in Bollywood.But in Tamil Cinema two hero projects come once away like oasis in a desert.There were days when a colossal hero like Sivaji Ganesan showing a keen interest in two hero projects, of which many were mega hits.
    The Senior viewers of Tamil films would have hardly forgotten the one and only movie Koondukkili  that MGR and Sivaji Ganesan acted together.Even in that film the Chevalier did not mind playing a negative role, because for him acting was not an image building exercise, but a passion for bringing out the best in him as a performing hero.Later, he played another villain role,sharing screen space with Gemini Ganesan in Pennin Perumai.He had a perfect understanding with Gemini Ganesan and the two would have done nearly a dozen double hero projects of which Padhi Bakthi,Paava Pannippu, Paasamalar and Paarthaal Pasitheerum are eternal delights of Tamil Cinema.Among these, Pavamannippu could be called a family drama with M.R.Radha,T.S.Balaiah and S.V.Subbiah stealing the show and Sivaji Ganesan gaining greater space than Gemini Ganesan. Pasamalar was out and out a brother -sister sentimental grand show taking sibling affection to its utmost height for a mind blowing impact.There Gemini Ganesan's role got hidden in between Sivaji Ganesan and his sister,played by Saavithri.
     Whereas Paarthaal Pasitheerum was an exemplary double hero film giving equal scope for both the heroes to display their emotions and power of acting.Every scene in which both the heroes appeared, hardly failed to create an indelible impression in the minds of the viewers.The emotionally tormenting moments exhibiting the nobility of mindset of Sivaji Ganesan and the helplessness of the other hero to openly declare that his friend was literally crucified for his own failings, became the crux of this two hero drama.It was an extraordinary experience, to watch the two heroes performing so naturally without any conscious  spirit of rivalry in trying to excel each other in performance.As a result, it was ultimately the characters who outlived the actors and the film stood as a monumental piece on a two hero subject.
     The other equally memorable and magnificent double hero film of these two men was Sujatha Cine Arts' film Unakkaaga Naan that was an action packed show of friendship on the one hand and maneuvering capitalism on the other.This was another film that gave distinct space for both the heroes, to come out with their best demonstration of individual ideology,personal friendship and the noble mind frame for sacrifice of any kind.Here the competition was regarding who would sacrifice more for the other.Both made emotional inroads into the minds of the audience and both lived as role models of friendship.The film was not a great hit like Paarthaal Pasitheerum.But it stays remembered as a classic double hero film.  
     Sivaji Ganesan'e equal parallel heroes  were S.S.Rajendran and R.Muthuraman.Of these two men, S.S.R would have acted as the younger brother of Sivaji Ganesan in quite a few movies.But as friends they made a lovely show in Aalayamani as Sivaji and Gemini created a memorable record of friendship in Paarthaal Pasitheerum and Unakkaaga Naan. Muthuraman would have done not less than twenty films with the Chevalier but their most significant double hero films were, Nenjrukkum varai ,Oottivarai Uravu,Raman Ethanai Ramanadi and Vaani Raani.Of these Oottivarai Uravu was a comedy and Vani Rani was a heroine oriented film.
   But Sridhar's Nenjrukkumvarai sharply portrayed the emotional anguish involving love disappointment,suspicion of genuine love and friendship which formed the inner layers of this great film.Of the two heroes, Sivaji Ganesan as Raguraman loved,lost his love and died for love.The other hero loved,won his love but failed to understand the true meaning of trustworthy friendship and wifely devotion.Nenjirukkumvarai as the title means will last in our hearts as a remarkable double hero movie.In Raman Ethanai Ramanadi, Muthuraman was once again seen as a suspicious husband whileSivaji Ganesan's role was a perfect combination of innocence, epilepsy and grandeur.
     Like Sivaji Ganesan,Gemini Ganesan has also given a couple of memorable two hero films like Pandhayam and Sakkaram.Both these movies inducted A.V.Rajan as the other hero to act with Gemini Ganesan. Ironically the two films had certain similarities with regard to their theme focus.In both the films one could see how the undue desire for money kills one's peace of mind. Pandhayam, which was a remake of the Hindi hit Sachai,showed how circumstances could change a good man into bad ways and transform a baddie in to noble man.Comparatively Pandhayam was a better show at the box office than Sakkaram.
     After Sivaji and Gemini, it was Jaishankar who did double hero films with Ravichandran, Muthuraman and Sivakumar.He would have done nearly half a dozen films with Ravichandran and the best in their combination was the film Akkarai Pachai which had a strong script and carried inspiring dialogues. Though the story was about two sisters one always aspiring for the higher side of life and the other staying contented with what she was,the film also delicately brought out the dignified character formation of the two heroes, both making a strong impression as individuals.This highly reviewed and rated film was a notable double hero delight.
    Rajinikanth and Kamalahasan as heroes buried their ego and made up a team show, in a few movies.This happened of course only during the starting years of their career.The other pointer is, in most of the films Rajikanth took up the mantle of the villain, because the audience loved to see him in negative roles, portrayed brilliantly in an emerging style of freshness, gusto, body language and unseen pattern of dialogue delivery, dipped in speed and unique Tamil accent.Some such films were Moonru Mudichu,Padhinaaru Vayadhinile and Avargal.Rajini began to sweep the shows by his tremendous spirit of individuality.However there were two special films, one showing them as close friends in a music troupe and the other getting them both involved in loving the same woman.
    Both the films were made by the most popular and outstanding film makers of those days.One was K.Balachander who came out with his mega hit film ''Ninaithaale Inikkum'' and the other was the ace director Sridhar of romantic themes,whose refreshing venture ''Ilamai Oonjalaadigiradhu'' created waves by its unique title,screen play,characterization music and performance of all artists especially Kamalahasan and Rajinikanth. Rajinikanth who donned the role of a doctor made a robust and passionate role delivery. Kamalahasan was compactly emotional, with the sense of guilt, of spoiling the life of another woman in an inebriate state.There were many delicate scenes in the film, known for their subtle and graceful presentation.It was one of the best films of Sridhar and as a double hero film, it accommodated both the heroes in their original form and force.Ninaithaale Inikkum was not only a musical bonanza but a powerful demonstration of  love, friendship,and competitive musical thrust. The film had a strong sentimental base, exhibited in a lighter vein.The audience can never forget these two double hero projects of Kamal and Rajini.
    Apart from these most vibrant double hero films, there were a few others in the combination of Rajinikanth and Vijayakumar [Aayiram Jenmangal and Mangudi Minor] and Vijayakumar and Sarathkumar[Natpukkaaga]. Prabuh and Karthik Muthuraman are also known for doing a few worthy double hero films.Of their dual show,Agni Natchatram was a fascinating film because of its vigorous presentation of the deep bitterness between two half brothers{Prabhu and Karthik}and their final moments of coming together as true brothers.This film was full of youthful energy and its popularity also rested with Ilayaraja's amazing songs.
   Satyaraj and Prabhu. also stand up as mighty men of  double hero projects.They have given at least half a dozen films, of which Chinna Thambi Periya Thambi and Paalavana Rojaakkal remain strongly rooted to our memory.While Chinna Thambi Periya Thambi was a  rural drama reflecting the rude and uneducated mindset of two youngsters from a village,both aspiring to marry their beautiful and educated cousin,ultimately who wins the race,was humorously presented.But the race for performance was neck and neck and the film was a clean entertainer.
    Paalaivana Rojaakkal on the other hand was from Kalaignar's beautiful pen that strikingly portrayed the tough struggle carried on by two dedicated youngsters against the powerful lobbies of politics and  its arrogance of power, mixed with corruption. Sathyaraj and Prabhu as the  ferocious youths ,waged a war against the negative forces and finally succumbed to their struggle.It was a realistic film, memorable in the career of Sathyaraj and Prabhu.
    Some of the latest double hero hist were Ullaasam starring Vikram and Ajith, Friends with Vijay and Soorya as heroes and Vettai in which Aarya and Madhavan have shared screen space with equal scope for performance.Of these three films,'Ullasam' was a story of two buoyant youths raised by each other's father in two diagonal directions as per their options of life routine,cherished from their childhood. While Ajith grows as a street rowdy in the hands of Raguvaran,Vikram takes to a decent life path as the adopted son of S.P.Balasubramaniyan.In between there develops a delicate plot of romance, as both the heroes fall in love with the same girl.Who gets the girl's hand is the climax.
   'Friends' was a greater show on account of the strength of the script and the emotional core of the story base.While Friends was an emphatic display of action and comedy,Vettai brought out director Lingusamy's flair for presenting action through a breezy feel of comedy. Vijay and Soorya performed so genuinely and forcefully that it is difficult for any one to ignore them as friends, or the depth of their friendship. Aarya and Madhavan became the high spirited brothers in Vettai, with their gusto revealing their sibling intimacy.
    Besides these,Mammootty and Mohanlal joined Rajinikanth and Kamal respectively for the films Thalapathi and Unnaipol Oruvan. Suresh Gopi was there with Ajith in Dina and with Sarathkumar in Samasthaanam. Jayaram joined Kamal for a team show in a few films of which Tenali was a clear two hero film. Mohanlal's other double hero films in Tamil are Iruvar with Prakash Raj and Jilla with Vijay.
    I would not have brought in here all the two hero films in Tamil.But the films mentioned here, are quite familiar to the audience due to their popularity and success at the theatres.Moreover,in most other films there would not have been equal scope and opportunities for two popular heroes to show their power of performance with equal wield.Unfortunately, the fan base of Tamil Cinema makes each of their respective heroes to be shown, without any erosion in image.This makes it very difficult for our film makers to think of bringing heroes like Rajinikanth and Kamalahasan,Vijayakanth and Sarath Kumar and Vijay and Ajith in one screen.Perhaps that is why MGR and Sivaji Ganesan were not seen together in any film after Koondukkili like Vijay and Ajit after Raajaavin Paarvaiyile.
   If Tamil Cinema had been like the Malayalam field, where Mohanlal and Mammootty have made a joint parade in more than fifty films,we would also have seen more double hero films in Tamil.It is all in the hands of the fans,because they see their heroes as gods and keep them as stars in the sky, with a kind of independent identity not to be compromised at any cost.It is this adoring attitude of fans, that prevents their heroes from undergoing the acid test of being compared and contrasted with others, for the true exposition of what they are, as well as, for the enhancement of creativity.