Wednesday, September 16, 2015

An Eight Decade Old, Young Comedian.


     Tamil Cinema can be proud of its comedians who have shown a genuine capacity for immeasurable humour.Starting from N.S.Krishnan,we have come across a huge line of comedy makers like T.S.Dorairaj,K.A.Thangavelu,J.P.Chandrababu, A.Karunanidhi, Kuladheivam Rajagopal, Nagesh, Cho Ramasamy,Thengai Srinivasan, Surulirajan, S.V.Shekar,Y.G.Mahendran, Goundamani, Senthil, Janagaraj, Vivek, Vadivelu, M.S.Bhaskar, Karunas, Santhanam and an upcoming group of new comedians that includes Soori.
     Besides these names we have a list of second rung comedians such as Kottaapuli Jeyaraman, Ezhumalai,Friend Ramasamy, Bakoda Kadhar,Appulachari aka Ramarao, Neelu,Mouli,Usilai Mani, Omakuchi Narasimhan,Madhan Babu, Charlie, Cinni Jeyanth, Paandu, Singamuthu,Mayiluswamy Balaji, and Kanja Karuppu.Among these,Charlie, Singamuthu and Mayiluswami have contributed significant laughter moments in a number of films in combination with front line team mates Vadivelu and Vivek.
    Beyond all these names, there is one comedian who has been associated with Tamil Comedy on the big screen, for fifty years and on the small screen for quite some time. This comedian who set his foot into Tamil Cinema with the blessings of  director Sridhar, in his Vennira Aadai,carries his first film title as his name prefix and has silently created a record of acting in more than one hundred films.
   Vennira Aadai Moorthy as he is known to everybody close to Tamil Cinema,is nearing eighty years of age.But his sense of humour is ever in its ebullient youth.His peculiar lip[bilabial] sounds,odd physical gestures and double meaning dialogues, make him a comedian of special breed.Comedians are of two kinds.The first brand of comedians can by themselves, set the stage for humour and evoke laughter sessions,either with or without the support of others.
    Most of these comedians mentioned in my first list, would hold an outstanding position in this regard. A.Karunanidhi could not succeed as much as other comedians of his period. Senthil might also be an exception because without Goundamani it would be difficult for him to run the show.But the second rung comedians,mostly lend the supporting hand to their team leading comedian.At times, some of them even overtake their lead comedians as Mayiluswami and Charlie did with Vivek in Dhool and Thenkasippattanam respectively, or as Singamuthu used to outshine Vadivelu in some films.
    Contrary to the comedians of the first and second types,it is Vennira Aadai Moorthy who has made it possible that there could be a breed of third type of comedians standing on their own, by neither leading a team nor supporting it.Here is a comedian who will be part of a team, but be a main source of humour and not a sidekick of the leading comedian.He will demand his position in a team, simply by his independent level of role play and at times command over others,either by his age factor, or by his cheeky and poking laughter generation with absolute time sense.Like V.K.Ramasamy, he would abuse the other leading comedians by terms such as Moodhevi [ugly spirit]and Mundam[torso] and will get his abuses meekly accepted by others.
    Vulgarity which was at times a part of the comedy show of veteran actor V.K.Ramasamy,is a pet concept of humour for Moorthy too.Like VKR,Moorthy started donning elderly characters much early in his career.But unlike in V.K.Ramasamy where one could rule out the possibility of innocence,Moorthy could stand as a symbol of innocence,even if he is foul mouthed. This is because his face carries a semblance of innocence and very often he lets out only half of the cat out of the bag and the hidden part of the cat, will save him from the blame of exposing the vulgar sight.
  In other words, Moorthy is always capable of safeguarding his half understood, double meaning dialogues, by clothing them with his ready made garment of saner words, that would change an indecent situation in to a perfectly decent and acceptable context.It is in this aspect of special humour promotion,that Moorthy always remains unbeatable.
    Moorthy's deceptive eyes are his boon, making him the right choice of''to believe or not to believe''roles.Equally,in the role of a crack or a gullible person{as he memorably did in Nadikan},no one can excel Moorthy's performance.He can casually be taken for a ride by his pupils if he were a school or college teacher, or even as the head of an educational institution.As a hostel warden, he would be a laughing stock.He is a perfect bet for the role of a hen pecked husband.
  His other cake -walk roles are those of a tout,a deceptive sage and a helpless cop.Some of his movies that would instantly knock at our memory doors, are Kaasedhaan Kadavulada,Nadigan, Aval Varuvaalaa,M.Kumaran S/O Maha lakshmi,Gopala Gopala. Vaadhiyaar, Vedham,Vallakkottai,Manam Kotthi Paravai and many other films from the huge list of his filmograpgy.
  Moorthy may not be fit for a solo comedy show; but he is always a solo comedian in the midst of others, by stamping firmly on the ground with his feet, for a great show of an ever agile, young sense of humour. Moorthy's experience in Tamil Cinema, is fifty ears old.However,taking his actual age into account, he can rightly be called an eight decade old, young comedian.  

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Distinguished Director Duo of Tamil Cinema.

       Two people working together in any field, especially in the field of Cinema, is not anything new. For instance, in the field of film music,we have come across illustrious music composers like Shankar Jaikishan ruling Hindi Cinema, for decades.Same was the case with Viswanathan and Ramamurthy in Tamil Cinema and later, Shankar Ganesh became noticeable music directors working together.But there were two directors of Tamil films who took over their career almost during the inception period of Tamil Cinema and stayed well knit, as makers of high quality films for a pretty long period.Born in two different places,with an age difference of about six years between themselves, they worked hand in hand, without any thought of who performed better than whom.They were Krishnan and Panju, the latter, younger in age, but the former, outliving his younger associate.Their passion for film making was ever governed by the standard yardstick of decent cinema.
    Starting with their first film Poompaavai and after a couple of low profile films, they came out with the great film Nalla Thambi, starring N.S,Krishnan,for which the then Dravidian leader C.N.Annadurai wrote the dialogues.Then with the A.V.M blockbuster Parasakthi, they carried the pride of introducing Sivaji Ganesan into Tamil Cinema, who later on became its body and spirit.Their grand creative potential continued to inspire the Tamil film audience, through films like,Kula- dheivam, Ratha Kanneer and Mamiyar Mechiya Marumagal. Besides family dramas, they could delineate events and characters with versatile emotions like motherhood,anguish of childless mothers, nobleness of sacrifice and the grandeur of friendship.They were equally good at action movies.
   Krishnan Panju were notable among those, who could work with both MGR and Sivaji Ganesan. They could claim the special distinction of directing MGR with a totally different attitude and frame of mind in their films like Petralthaan Pillaiyaa,Engal Thangam and Idhaya Veenai. Another interesting factor is that these two directors could simultaneously make films of M.K.Muthu and MGR in spite of the fact that MGR came out of DMK and  Muthu was the son of Dr.M.Karunanidhi, the DMK leader and the then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.
  It should also be mentioned here that they directed almost all the films of M.K.Muthu,such as Pillaiyo Pillai,Pookkari,Samayalkaaran and Anaiyaa Vilakku. Incidentally,the other fact remains that for Parasakthi it was Dr.M.Karunanidhi who wrote the dialogues.The success story of Parasakthi is a glorious part Tamil film history.Some of their other Sivaji Ganesan hits were Dheiva Piravi, Pudhayal, Kungumam and Uyarndha Manidhan.
   Their close association with the AVM banner is another significant aspect of their success and growth as classic film makers.Their outstanding releases under this banner include Parasakthi, Kuladheivam,Dheivapiravi,Server Sundaram,Annai,Uyarndha Manidhan,Kuzhandhaiyum Dheivamum, Adhey Kangal,Anaadhai Aanandan and Annaiyum Pidhaavum. All these films were reputed for strong story line,neat and impressive narration and beautiful characterization of individuals as vital segments of family and society.
    Clarity in story telling was the unique aspect of all these films. Global events and unforeseen circumstances splitting family members,family interlinks,filial devotion, the evil impact of suspicion between spouses,poverty,romance agony of childlessness, arrogance of wealth and the power of revenge, were all the noted themes of  these films.Almost all these films were mega hits, with their rich ingredients of film making including captivating music.The only exception in this list was Adhe Kangal,which was a thriller but another grand show.The grandest among the works of Krishnan Panju were Parasakthi, Kuladheivam,Server Sundaram, Uyarndha Manidhan Kuzhandhaiyum Dheivamum and Adhe Kangal.
   Some of the other memorable movies of these two eminent creators were Pathu Maadha Bandham Vaazhndhu Kaattugirein,Vaazhvu En Pakkam ,Velliradham and Enna Dhavam Seidhein.Besides MGR and Sivaji Ganesan,.Krishnan Panju have worked with other heroes like S.S.Rajendran,Jai Shankar,Ravichandran,Muthuraman,A.V.M Rajan and Vijayakumar.Veteran heroines like P.Bhanumathi,Padmini,Sowcar Janaki,Sarojadevi,Vanisri,K.R.Vijaya,J.Jeyalalitha and Sujatha have enriched the quality of their films.
   It was known to everybody that a Krishnan Panju film would not fall short of the set yardsticks of a fine family entertainer with traditional moorings and core values of ethical formulations.There was always this fusion of ideals and emotions like the fusion between the two directors who were always seen as one person.It was this inseparable reality that fixed them ever on the higher pedestal, as the best film makers in Tamil .