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.

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