Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Radha Mohan's Quest for Quality.


     Each creditable film maker,would like to have a firm base, on which they plan to build their creative empire or foundation.Some are ambitious to leave an empire behind themselves;some are contented to have at least their creative fundamentals well utilized during their life time.This is how a mighty film maker like K.Balachander who left a legacy of life time achievements behind him, did not hesitate to boldly and beautifully bulldoze Tamil cinema through controversial dialogues, unconventional narration of events and characters and  aggressive scenic expositions of thematic content in films like 'Arangetram','Aval Oru Thodarkadhai',' Aboorva Raagangal 'and 'Manamadha Leelai'.But his empire was strongly built on an unshakable base of films like 'Naanal','Edhir Neechal', 'Iru Kodugal','Punnagai','Major Chandrakanth','KaaviyaThalaivi','Bhama Vijayam' 'Velli Vizha' 'Poova Thaiyaa' and 'Nootrukku Nooru',besides several trend setting films with Kamalahasan and Rajinikanth.Even some of the controversial films succeeded because of the socially shocking new approach.
    But there are several other film makers in Tamil who stick to their core values strongly, in spite of their modest low profile ventures.They are a vital part of the stream of clean cinema.Radha Mohan is one such film maker who relentlessly sails his film boats on this stream selling his stuff without sound and fury.Quite often he creates a nostalgic mood for me, taking me to the times of Tamil Cinema of the early Nineteen Eighties when the duo film makers  Bharathi -Vasu {Sathanabaradhi & P.Vasu}sailed their modest film boats,reaching high quality shores as films,known as 'Panneer Pushpangal' and 'Mella Pesungal'.
    Be it the choice of titles of his films or the style of narration Mohan's aesthetic interlinks of film making are well set to protect his films from the virus of vulgarity in narration.From 'Azhagiya Theeye' down to' Uppu Karuvaadu' his journey has been on a stream without ripples and needless noise.He makes a simple action plan that incorporates a story line, expanding into men and matters mixing up mellifluously for a seamless show of events on the screen.For Radha Mohan it is dialogues and events that matter more than the performing individuals because the focus is mostly on the cinematic interpretation of the human mind in relation to men and matters.It is a kind of intellectual exploration leading to the grasp of a situation through ideas and their presentation.I started this article with a reference to one of my most beloved film makers,[Late] K.B because Radha Mohan's platform like that of KB,opens up diverse channels for formalizing and reinforcing a proper understanding of life's intriguing situations caused by intriguing people.
    Among the six Tamil films made  by Radha Mohan so far, Prakash Raj has been of energizing support to five of his films, excepting the recent 'Uppu Karuvaadu'.'Mozhi' and 'Abiyum Naanum' have been critically reviewed and have received awards.Prasanna.Ravi Krishna,Prithviraj,Nagarjun and Karunakaran have all joined his bandwagon as heroes.His line of heroines includes Navya Nair, Gopika, Jyothika Trisha,Nandhitha and Rachitha,of whom the 'Mozhi' heroine achieved an award winning position through her distinct performance.Radha Mohan's films in general, are known for cherishing the dignity of women. Vidya Sagar has been the music composer for three of his films,while Ramesh Vinayagam, Pravin Mani and Steve Vatz have done the musical score for the rest.Radha Mohan is in the line of Sridhar the renowned film maker of the last century,in giving a feather touch, feel good factor, to his films, worthy of family watch.Similarly like  director Vikraman,he infuses a lot of positive energy, promoting a healthy experience of viewing events on the screen, that do not hurt the viewers' imagination or emotion.But for Vikraman's films, it is perhaps the big star impact, that claimed greater recognition and audience support.
    Radha Mohan should be credited for not repeating the same theme in all his films.Apart from romance, he has dealt with interesting aspects like the trauma of a facially disfigured youth{Ponniyin Selvan}the niceties and psychological subtleties embedded to the routine of a hearing and speech impaired woman,{'Mozhi'} a breezy capturing of the perfect bonding in a father and daughter relationship{'Abiyum Naanum'}an incident of flight hijack pictured in a lighter vein {'Payanam'}and now in 'Uppu Karuvaadu' {Salted Dry Fish},the  aspiration and plight of a youngster,earnestly entuned to the creative path,towards making a qualitative film.In all his makings, there lies a genial sense of humour and healthy element of satire passing smoothly and soothingly, as the underlying layers of narration.
     Coming to his latest venture,the title 'Uppu Karuvaadu' seems to be symbolic of the sum and substance of  creative inspiration and involvement in performance, filling the drier side of creativity with taste and refinement so that the created product becomes worthy of its salt.One can imagine the unpalatable quality of dry fish without its salt.Similarly without involvement, nothing happens to merit an acknowledgement.In other words, what one does, gains valued acceptance only by how it is done.
    The absence of Prakash Raj is very difficult to to be compensated in a Mohan movie.But  his absence is fairly filled here, by half a dozen actors.M.S.Bhaskar who would have frequently worked with Radha Mohan appears in a vibrant role with a menacing profile surpassed by his poetic whims ,Ilango Kumaravel, a regular addition in a Radha Mohan film does a neat job in correcting the dialogue segment of the hero's film venture, While Chaams comes upon with a Thirukkural piece matching the context, Narayan Lucky does the second fiddle. Mayilusamy provides the back up support. Karunakaran as hero,seems to be always in the grip of tension, with a tightened attitude, with regard to his role performance.His capacity for humour has taken the back seat,may be, not to let down the sober nature of his character in the film.There is always a clamor for perfection hitting the mood of the hero and his crew,through a collective clash of brains. Here and there, they come out with some dynamic delineation of scenes to their own enjoyment.The Malayalam singer's continued,clumsy interruptions do not enrich the humour component intended by his addition.The dialogue referring to the agony of erasing the name of a dear friend from one's mobile phone upon his death, adds a fresh dimension to the narration.
   However,apart from  all the positive intersections,the over all feel of the film is one of longing for more tempo and gusto, in the presentation of characters and events, so that the final impact could have been more impressive and memorable.In fact, one would be compelled to compare this film with R.Parthiban's 'Kadhai Thiraikkadhai Vasanam Iyakkam' released a year ago and in retrospect, give a little more credit to that film, for the simple reason that the latter struck a more cordial note with a larger section of the audience, through the cheeky sense of humour and tricky banter, that is part and parcel of the maker of Pudhiya Paadhai.Both these films do run the risk of throwing stones from inside a glass house, in a mood of professional introspection,as insiders, through a humorous and satirical assessment of the world of cinema. Comparatively Parthiban's potshots can be said to have made more powerful inroads in the minds of the audience. Setting aside the temptations to make such comparisons,if one looks at the overall stuff of Radha Mohan,the truth remains that his quest for quality is ever infallible, towards getting him a  lovable place in Tamil Cinema.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Energizing Music makers of Modern, Tamil Cinema.

    Music has been the most vital segment of Indian Cinema.Tamil films have most often hit the highest mark in terms of their musical glory.Starting from the days of G.Ramanathan,music has occupied the imagination of film makers as the foremost ingredient of the creative order of Tamil Cinema.Even after six decades, a vast number of songs of the last century are eagerly listened to,sung in musical contests and have attracted music composers of the existing generation for a fascinating remix.At the same time, there have stepped into the field,many new faces who are capable of stimulating the musical thirst of the audience, for an exuberant and rewarding experience.This article of my blog proposes to give due credit and appreciation to three music composers who have been distinctly enriching Tamil film music, by their celebrated contribution of songs and musical notes in new style and gusto, with the sole intention of energizing and entertaining the audience.They are Vidyasagar,Baradwaj and Harris Jeyaraj.
    Of these Vidyasagar is the oldest, who started his career in the late Nineteen Eighties with the Tamil film Poomanam. After this Vidyasagar's concentration turned to Telugu and Malayalam films winning quite a few awards particularly for Malayalam films.His most popular and strongest musical scores in Tamil were for Lingusamy's Run and Dharani's Dhil,Dhool and Gilli.He has been the preferred music maker for the films of Arjun such as En Thangai,Jai Hind, Karna, Ayudha Poojai and Vedham. Besides Gilli,his other Vijay movies include Thirumalai, Madhurey. Kuruvi and Kaavalan. With Ajith his films were Ji and Poovellaam Unvaasam.He has also been the favourite of directors like Radha Mohan [Abhiyum Naanum and Mozhi].His other reputed entries include K.V.Anand's Kana Kandein, R.Kannan's Jeyam Kondan and Karu Pazhanaiappan''s Paarthiban Kanavu.
    The other outstanding film known for his musical composition, is the Superstar's Chandramugi.I would have left out some other worthy films in my reference.But it is not the number of films that matters. Vidyasagar is always known for a special kind of rhythm that is closer to our heart beat.His music is rich in speedy energizers like 'Ichuthaa Ichu thaa','Theradi Veedhiyil','Kaadhal Pisaasu'[All from Run}'Kokkara Kokkarakko''Appadi Podu' { both from Gilli,},'Machaan Peru' {Madhurey}, 'Dhevudaa Dhevudaa' {Chandramugi} and unique melodies such as' Poi Solla Koodaadhu' from Run 'Malare Mounamaa'[Karna}'Aasai Aasai' from Dhool,'En Samayalaraiyil' from Dhil 'Neeya Pesiyadhu' from Thirumalai and 'Thathindhom' from Chandramugi.
    What is singularly absorbing about Vidayasagar's music, is the stupendous way of blending instrumental grandeur with vocal wield and the exceptional word clarity of lyrics, in his musical compositions. In other words,he would always see to it that the power lyrics is not eroded by instrumental monopoly.This is how he has amazingly exploited the power of singing of Shankar Mahadevan in songs like 'Aasai Aasai','Neeyaa Pesiyadhu' and 'Machaan Peru Madurey' by creating different moods with the voice magnificence of just one singer.'Neeyaa Pesiadhu' is in fact, one of my life time favourite songs.
    Unlike Vidyasagar,Bharadwaj and Harris Jeyaraj  have shown that their instrumental throb and reach, have a magnetic appeal, at times even to the extent of surpassing lyrical grandeur and vocal excellence.If Bharadwaj is a Saran favorite,Harris Jeyaraj has continued with Gowtham Menon in his journey towards hitting new rhythms of film making.Starting from Saran's first film Kadhal Mannan, Bharadwaj has added incomparable energy in his musical stuff, with songs like''Unai Paarthapinbu' {Kadhal Mannan} 'Satham Illaadha Ulagam Kettein'{Amarkalam}'Nenjuporukkudhu Gemini Gemini' 'Pennoruthi Pennoruthi'{Gemini} and ''Kalakkappovadhu Yaaru'{Vasool Raja MBBS}.He has given us energy packed songs in all the films of Saran.'His ever fascinating melodies are 'May Maasam Thonnuthettil' {Jay Jay}''Ovvoru pookalume'' {Autograph} and 'Unnodu' [Amarkalam} 'Paarthein Paarthein Suda Suda Rasithein' {Paarthein Rasithein}which prove his capacity for lyrical clarity and musical charm.The other notable films of Bharadwaj are Rojavanam,Pooveli and Rjakkoottam. But as a Saran team musician he has never failed to hit the mark in all the films of that juvenile director.He has also got an award for the film Gemini, a Saran hit.
     Harris Jeyaraj who began to enchant the audience by his most popular ''Vaseegara'' sung by Bombay Jeyashri in his first film Minnale,which also happened to be the first film footing of Gautham Menon,continued his exceptional musical magic in the other Gautham Menon hits like Kaakka Kaakka,Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu,Pachaikkili Muthucharam,Vaaranam Aayiram and Ennai Arindhaal. Apart from 'Vaseegara' {Minnale}his melodies like ''Idhudhaanaa''{Samy}''Paartha Mudhalnaale''{Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu}'Unnaale Unnaale'{Unaale Unnaale}''Oru Maalai'' {Ghajini} 'Ennamo Yedho'{Ko} 'Idhayathai Yedho Seidhaai''{Yennai Arindhaal} and 'Aathaadi Aathaadi' {Anegan}are of the rarest kind.Some of his energy packed numbers are 'Rahathulla Rahathulaa' {Ghajini}''Thangaamaari Oodhaari'{Anegan}and 'Adhaaru Udhaaru'{Ennai Arindhaal}
     Harris Jeyaraj has also made an impressive show in Hari's Saamy, in which all the numbers were mega hits.His other Hari films were Kovil and Arul. Shankar who would not think of any one other than A.R.Rehaman for his films,deviated twice to induct Harris Jeyaraj for his films Anniyan and Nanban whose success also depended upon the captivating songs like 'Iyengaaru Veettu Azhage' 'Kaadhal Yaanai''Andangkaakaa  Kondaikaari'and 'Kannum Kannum Nokiyaa'[ all from Anniyan] and 'Enfriendapola Yaaru Machaan','Olli Jelli' [from Nanban].His felicitous musical component enriched the over all quality of films like Ayan, Aadhavan,Gajini,Unnaale Unnaale,Ko Maatraan, Enrenrum Kaadhal,Thuppaakki, Oru Kal Oru Kannaadi and Anegan.
    While the music directors of earlier generation were making miracles in music from the existing raagaas and swarams,the new generation composers keep on exploring the nuances of the human voice and the plausible reach of stringed,wind and percussion instruments in newer dimensions. Moreover,the keyboard in their hands becomes the key to unlock the doors,to a fantasy zone, for a panoramic reach of their auditory imagination for never experienced musical niceties. To put it in a nutshell, it is the freshness of music in a kind of research perspective, that has led Tamil film industry to a hugely exalting proportion.
    Though all the three music composers have struck a note of individuality and charm Harris Jeyaraj appears to have moved closer to the younger audience, to stay as their heart throb in the line of A.R.Rehaman.The fact that he is the youngest among the three, could be a reason for this, because only a youngster can read the pulse of the youth and their preference for a particular brand of music. Again,of the three men,it is Harris Jeyaraj who commands a greater instrumental wield to capture the imagination of music lovers.But it can not be ignored that the other two musicians will also find an immortal place in Tamil Cinema, because of their extraordinary contribution of energy and solace, through their fast and soothing numbers.It would not be an exaggeration to say that all the three music makers, have wonderfully modernized Tamil film music, through their independent musical might and punch.