Friday, March 25, 2016

A Breezy Tale of Brotherhood.

      The Telugu film industry has quite often enriched Tamil cinema through dubbing and remake of its movies.The recent delightful addition in this regard is Thozha released simultaneously along with the Telugu version Oopiri {meaning breath}starring Nagarjuna and Karthi Sivakumar directed by Vamshi.P. The most beautiful thing about the film is the gracefully soothing course of narration, filled with healthy humor and clean thought. Nagarjuna as the imbecile ,wheel chair wealthy man, looks compact in every frame with looks of refinement and utmost niceties in character delivery.It is really enchanting to see him after a long time, when he performed robust romantic roles and action drama in films like Idhayathai Thirudaadhe,Udhayam  Ratchagan and recently in Radha Mohan's Payanam.In Thozha,he comes as lovely breeze in most scenes and Karthi blends himself comfortably with Nagarjuna as high quality perfume mixed in fresh air.
    Karthi simply excels in his role delivery as a lower middle class youth with its cheeky shades of behaviour, at every stage of interaction with others,be it his advocate Vivek or Tamannaah the girl who pulls his imagination at first sight, or his rich master-cum-brother-cum friend Nagarjuna.The hilarious scenes combining Karthi and Prakash Raj,with interesting references to the piece of painting drawn by Karthi, generate a lot of  pure fun.Though there is no depth in the very brief flashback scenes pertaining to Nagarjuna's Parachute accident in Paris and his love for Anushka, a couple of dialogues on deriving fresh meaning for the concept of  human love in general, adds a deeper dimension to the experience of love in terms of possessiveness,fear and longing.That one could look for anything including love, only where one seems to have lost it,speaks of the rejuvenation and relocation of  life's realities.
     There is sentiment but the sentiment is not overblown to make it melodramatic.All the good that Nagarjuna does for Karthi and his family, are indirect moves without any trace of  emphatic demonstration of love, through dialogues or needless outbursts.The biggest positive side of the film is the director's sensible realization that there is no scope for stunt scenes in such a breezy movie.The other heart warming factor is the all pervading presence of positive energy, in a totally paralyzed character.There is no noise what so ever, except the musical component that seems to swallow the lyrics to a great extent. But the background score is quite good and a couple of melodies finely pass through the ears at the theater.
     Vivek's sense of humor does exist in his veteran style, but his mood has perhaps undergone a beating after the sad and untimely death of his teen age son in real life.Similarly Kalapana who is no more, appears in a few scenes with exhausted looks, devoid of her comedy gusto and energizing role play. Tamannah quietly passes through her role with adequate charm and dignity,It was on the whole a time well spent, watching a breezy tale of brotherhood vibrantly told, with the exuberant role performance of Karthi and the charmingly subdued characterization of Nagarjuna, without even an iota  of rivalry element between themselves.This unique film on a solid theme of mutually compassionate brotherhood, should definitely find a place in the archives of clean cinema.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Breaking the Image of the Hero.


   The hero is always some one special in the world of cinema.Tamil cinema has mostly afforded a glorious position to the role of heroes and the actors who played as heroes.From the days of M.K.T.Baghavadhar,MGR and Sivaji Ganesan heroes of Tamil cinema have been demi gods.It was Rajinikanth who first broke this concept by doing unconventional roles.But even he was forced to talk punch dialogues to attain the status of  a superstar. Later Bagyaraj Pathiban and Pandiarajan resorted to self caricature in hero roles and drew the attention of the audience.Now a days it is the turn of Vijay Sethupadhi, to shatter the image of the hero through trendy twists and humorous U turns in donning the role as a hero.
   Sethupathi's latest venture in this direction is the recent release Kaadhalum Kadandhu Pogum.The story base which revolves around romance and criminality is nothing new.But the narration is quite refreshing and newly imaginative with situations getting the audience into the groove of a fresh romantic tale with a man and woman boozing together .It is an attitude of nonchalance that makes the hero and his woman involve themselves in unconventional activities generating spot humor here and there quite unexpectedly.Whether the hero is a cowardly thug or a humane rowdy he himself does not know.But his anger is as much spontaneous as his concern for the woman whose company he crudely cherishes.Nor is the woman's love for him free from periodical bouts of contempt for him.
    While the hero's routine fluctuates between crime and romance the woman gets pulled between her career and romance.Nothing is serious here be it the romance or the crime routine.Nothing clings to our memory because the story is not even ankle deep.The hero, the guy who grooms or uses him and the villain whose motives of villainy are not well drawn are all like passing clouds as far as the crime segment is concerned.But the romance is much more than knee deep because the hero goes to the extent of playing mad to facilitate his woman to clear her interview and get her job.The woman is not a time server but like the Eskimos who would hug their dog,she  keeps herself deeply rooted to the man who did the unusual to help her greatly employed.
      Imagine how tough it is to keep the audience enjoyably engaged for a couple of hours, without either a comedy sub plot or a comedian to create quality laughter .Nalan Kumarasamy does the hat trick with the extraordinarily agile support of a unique Sethupathi and an equally nimble and enchanting Madonna Sabastian.That too without a story.It is all because of an actor, who refuses to be the hero from the days of Naduvila Konjam Pakkatha Kanom till today.It is also because of the new wave musical core that grabs our imagination through songs and the background score.But I am afraid, one day the same Sethupathi will also change track and fall in line with those who are climbing fast on the image ladder. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Kalabhavan Mani, The Robust Face of Malayalam Cinema.



      Stout he was; stouter were his gesticulations,and louder his articulations.Physically well built, emotionally ever with in frame,Kalabhavan Mani was wonderfully impressive in displaying his body language and comprehensive dynamics of acting,From the level of an ordinary auto driver he grew by leaps and bounds as an actor of great merit doing about two hundred films with in two decades.It works out into an average of eight films a month.This means he had a very busy schedule of call sheets.Interestingly his first role was also that of an auto rickshaw driver for the film Aksharam.
    Like M.R.Radha in Tamil,Kalabhavan Mani was an all rounder excelling in comedy, character and villain roles with a distinct mould, stamping an identity that was unique and memorably commanding.But Radha's extraordinary voice character and Mani's giant size physique became the clear marks of differentiation between these two mighty actors of different times.Both were known for their higher levels of decibels in dialogue delivery.Both were ebullient at mocking at their fellow characters with their,at times obnoxious,body movements and emphatic utterances of certain specific words, in their dialogue format.Beyond all this, an innate flair for mimicry  and a felicitous talent for singing folk songs were the special assets of Mani.
     Mani comfortably shared screen space between the two mega stars Mammootty and Mohanlal of Malayalam cinema.His special entries with Mohanlal were Aaraam Thamburaan, Naattu Rajavu, Chotta Mumbai, Mambazhakkaalam, Balettan and Narasimham,Some of his popular Mammootty films were Valliettan, Pattaalam,Sethurama Aiyar CBI, Nasrani and Maya Bazaar. His role in Chekavar with Indrajit as hero,needs a special mention.A few films like Ravanan,Ben Jonson, Abraham Lincoln and Loganathan IAS in which Mani played leading roles,will ever stand to his credit.Above all, he is one among the few Malayalam actors who won National as well as State awards at the very early spell of his career,for his excellent role delivery in the film Vasanthiyum Laksmiyum Pinne Gnaanum.As a blind man, he made his character live in the memory of the audience for quite long.This movie was later remade in Tamil as 'Kasi' with Vikram playing the role of Mani.
   Tamil Cinema too,owes a great deal, to this actor of tremendous potential.As a character actor, he joined the company of Sarathkumar to evoke the spirit of formidable and fine friendship, for the great action film Yei.As a villain with his mimicry expertise, it was a grand show Mani made, in Saran's Gemini.He was a perfect foil for the hero Vikram in that film. Saran fully utilized Mani's mimicry capacity,in making animal sounds, including those of a serpent and it added to the success formula of that film.Saran once again inducted Mani for his other film 'Jay Jay', starring Madhavan.Mani has acted with all the leading heroes in Tamil and his last in this category,was with Kamalahasan for the film Papanasam,a remake of the grand Malayalam thriller Drishyam.Here,Kalabhavan Mani repeated the role of Kalabhavan Shajon in Drishyam.
    The other Tamil heroes with whom Mani had acted were Soorya{Vel and Aaru} Vijay,{Pudhiya Geedhai,another memorable role for Mani,in Tamil}Simbu {Kuthu}Srikanth,{Bose} VIjayakanth {Vaanchinathan and Thennavan} and Rajinikanth for a cameo in Enthiran.The fact that Mani did not hesitate to deliver Tamil dialogues,himself, without opting for a dubbing course, proved his level of confidence in his voice clarity and accent accuracy,in a language that was not his mother tongue.
    Force and vigor were the special trademarks of Mani's acting.That is why his performance was more penetrating in villain and character roles, than in comedy characters.It was a stable and robust demonstration in acting that Kalabhavan Mani ever carried on.Truly, his sudden death has created an unmanageable vacuum ,both for Malayalam and Tamil Cinema.The loss will be heavier for the Malayalam movie lovers.Whether his sudden death is natural or unnatural,it a clear fact that Mani was a natural actor,always standing up as the robust face of Malayalam Cinema.It is really unfortunate that like Murali and Cochin Haneeffa,the other two sterling actors of Malayalam Cinema,Mani too died a premature death.  

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Two Women Super Singers- cum- Judges.


    To be on the jury of  the Vijay Super Singer programme is certainly a matter of great pride.But to be super singers themselves, is a pride greater than that.Two women have stolen the hearts of the Tamil audience as singers of extraordinary merit and charm, besides being the valued judges on the board of the Vijay Super Singer programme, for seniors as well as juniors.They are the two contemporary playback singers K.S.Chitra and Sujatha Mohan,whose honey blended voices have been mesmerizing the Tamil film industry from the early Nineteen eighties.
   Interestingly,both the singers were born in the same year. Sujatha Mohan who is three months older than K.S.Chitra,made her entry into Tamil Cinema in 1977 with the film Kavikuyil. With Malayalm as their mother tongue both have established a leading position as Tamil playback singers, with their flawless Tamil accent and extremely sweet rendition of songs in Tamil.K.S.Chitra's voice seems to combine the effect of P.Suseela,Vani Jeyaram and Jikki with powerful,sharp and enchanting elements evenly mixed, for an exemplary delivery of notes.Be it 'Paadariyein Padippariyein' or 'Naanoru Sindhu'{both from Sindhu Bhairavi}or Kannaalane{Bombay} or Ovvoru pookkalume{Autograph} the substance of anguish and pang of sorrow, is so naturally poured forth to dip human ears in the depth of agony, followed by a deep sense of hope.
   The absolute clarity and pulling charm in  voice are the blessed status of this innate musician.Each of her songs is her best.The song Chinnakuyil Paattu {Poove Poochoodava}when heard even from a distance would make one feel as if a nightingale or cuckoo delivers its felicitous notes.Not all singers have this gift of giving away nothing but sweetness and grace.Some of her ever remembered numbers are "Idhudhaanaa"{Samy}"Ninnukkori Varanum"{Agni Nakshatram}"Aanandha Poonguyil Paattu"{Kadhalukku Mariyaadhai}"Annamala Annamala" {Annamalai}"Veera Pandi kottaiyile" {Thiruda Thiruda}"Thooliyile Aadavandha"{Chinna Thami} and 'Uyire Uyire' {Bombay}.
   Sujatha Mohan on the other hand has a breezy and honey tongued voice known for an ever absorbing fascination, as the core of her rendition of songs.She can enthrall one to the most glorious extent, with an inimitable voice grandeur.Her first great hit was 'Oru Iniya Manadhu' from the film Jaani.Then came a series of significant solo numbers like ''Netru Illaadha Maatram''{Pudhiya Mugam}'Poo Pookum Osai'{Minsaara Kanavu}''Un Per Solla Aasaidhaan''{Minsaara Kanna} "Thithikkudhe"{Thithikkudhe}and ''Yedho Oru Paattu ''{Unnidathil Ennai Koduthein}.
    Some of the ever leading duets were''Pudhu Vellai Mazhai''''Kaadhal Rojaave''{both from Roja}' Aathangarai Marame'{Kizhakku Cheemaiyile}''En Veettu Thottathil'{Gentleman} Kadhal Pisasu {Run}Oru Pattaam Poochi{Kadhalukku Mariyaadhai}''Kokkara Kokkarakko'{Ghilli}"Aasai Aasai"{Dhool"Oru Poyyaavadhu Sol"{Jodi} 'Thillaanaa Thillaanaa''{Muthu}"Chandiranai Thottadhu Yaar"{Ratchagan} "Kaadhalaa Kaadhalaa"{Avvai Shanmugi}and 'Rangola' {Gajini}. All these songs mentioned here were frequently heard and admired by the Tamil audience. The high pitch humming she could take for the song ''Thillaanaa Thillaanaa'' carried a very charming effect similar to that of S.Janaki and this song is,specifically known for its tremendous vibration and gusto.
   The fact that Sujatha Mohan took a break in her singing career,certainly deprived us of the chance of listening to more of her magnificent voice impact.I have not mentioned most of the other remarkable songs that adorned the musical score of Tamil Cinema.Sujatha always sings naturally with ease and ecstasy and her free flow of sweetness in delivery is her special asset.It is an indisputable fact that both Chitra and Sujatha effectively filled the place of P.Suseela and S.Janaki by their distinct show of musical strength.As judges at the Super Singer programmes they have been adding more pep and style by their Malayalam mixed Tamil, making one wonder how beautifully they sing Tamil songs with excellent accuracy and application of mind.But the fact ever remains that they are not only judges on the board of a super singer contest but are also mighty voices to be tied to the heart and soul of music lovers.