Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Most Popular Tamil Comedies.



       Tamil Cinema has a fascinating galaxy of films of various genres.There has been a felicitous addition of rib tickling as well as rejuvenating comedies that keep the Tamil film society proud of its creative vigour and performance potential.Every decade has come out with different types of hilarious comedies,contributing to the speed and size of growth of the Tamil film industry.
   Makers of appropriate comedy skits and participants in taking up the onus of transmitting the sense and gusto of humour deserve special accolades in this regard.A majority of films have of course incorporated the comedy element only as subplots. They have done this purely for the purpose of providing comic relief for the audience, from watching power packed narrations of highly emotional themes and heavy story lines.There have also been a consistent flow of full length comedies as well, during every decade, to keep the laughter element as the most cherished form of human behaviour.It is this spirit of comedy that breaks the dullness behind the  repetitive events, ruling through the routine of people of various walks of life.In other words it is the variety aspect of the comedy films, that makes them the most challenging and  outstanding products of creative imagination.This article would look at a few grand Tamil comedies,  that stay stuck to our memory and keep on invigorating our thought process.
    The first ever consummately decent comedy that I watched during my childhood days was the Gemini Ganesan and Savithri starring Missiamma directed by the most eminent film maker L.V.rasad. The film narrated the plight of two unemployed graduates,a man and a woman,who had to lie that they were both husband and wife .Besides these two actors the film had a wonderful cast of highly talented actors like S.V.Renga Rao,K.Sarangabani,M.N.Nambiyar,K.A.Thangavelu and Jamuna.It was one of the cleanest among Tamil movies creating a lot of warmth and joy for the viewers.
    The other reputed Tamil comedy entries were the two great Sivaji Ganesan films Manamagan Thevai and Sabash Meena,The former produced and directed by  P.S.Ramakrishna  Rao,[husband of actress P.Banumathi} vigorously pictured the sparkling attitude of a shrewd girl who did a perfect deceiving elf in conducting herself in two profiles as twins.There was a lot of fun and healthy humor in the combined show of Sivaji Ganesan,P.Banumathi,J.P Chandrababu, Javert Seetharaman and T.R.Ramachandran The other film Sabash Meena, produced and directed by B.R Pantulu was a sparkling tale of impersonation resulting in memorable comical situations. Sivaji Ganesan and J.P.Chandrababu made a robust parade of humor with their unique display of waywardness and temerity.The film became a classic hit.
    Then came Vedhantham Ragavaiah's most popular film Adutha Veettu Penn that had an impresseive cast of greatly talented actors like T.R.Ramachandran,Anjalidhevi K.A.Thangavelu and M.Saroja.It was another clean comedy of the last century passing on, truly lighter moments of  mood changing magic, without deviating from the concepts of natural comedy.The film which was very popular with the audience, had the comedy segment of Thangavelu and M.Saroja transformed into gramophone records and reached many homes, besides being repeatedly broadcast through the All India Radio and Ceylon Radios Commercial transmission.
    The  immortal Tamil comedy of the Nineteenth Century was Sridhar's Kadhalikka Neramillai that introduced Ravichandran into Tamil cinema.It was a grand contextual comedy with the extraordinary role play of R.Muthuraman, Nagesh T.S.Balaiah, and Ravichandran. The humour quotient of the film was so compact and meaningful that it could surpass the barriers of time and find an acceptable reception even this day,without losing its laudable sense of comedy. It was the dialogues that most aptly adorned the scenes with contextual verbal sense and enriched the over all quality of the film.The other positive aspect of the film was its rich music with an archive of timeless songs.The T.S Balaiah-Nagesh combination displayed the core of tremendous comedy sense with a universal appeal.
    Later Sridhar and his assistant Gopu  came out with a couple of full length comedies like Oottivarai Uravu and Kalaatta Kalyanam both starring Sivaji Ganesan,one paired with K.R.Vijaya and the other with Jeyalalitha. The latter was a clear farcical narration and the former was another milestone in graceful humor showing T.S.Balaiah in an unenviable,ridiculous situation.The refreshing dance sequence of K.R.Vijaya for the wonderful song 'Thedinen Vandhadhu' sung by P.Suseela at the initial spell of the film, became the most striking momentum of the film.
    Sivaji Ganesan's other boisterous comedy venture was again B.R.Pantulu's Bale Pandia, in which the Chevalier donned treble roles and made a casual show of his tremendous flair for humor along with the ever vibrant M.R.Radha playing dual roles.The initial scene showing Sivaji Ganesan on top of a multi storied building threatening to commit suicide and the subsequent dialogues uttered by him caused a roar of laughter among the audience.The most unforgettable scene in that film was the song sequence in which the Chevalier and Radha would vie with each other to show their singing might, through the happily remembered song, 'Neeye Unakku Enrum Nigaraanavan' in T.M.Soundarajan's stentorian voice.
   K.Balachander's Bama Vijayam was another clean comedy in the line of Missiamma and it was meant for a decent family watch with T.S.Balaiah,Nagesh and Muthuraman stealing the show, with the able support of veteran actor Major Sundarajan.The film was noteworthy for its effective female participation depicting Sowcar Janaki in perfect form of providing innocent humour.Jeyanthi and Kanchana joined Janaki in beautifully portraying the spirit of domestic womanhood..This film would create a mood of nostalgia,adding moments of longing for such qualitative humor show, not to be seen in the present day films.
    After Bhama Vijayam K.Balachander came out with a lovable comedy film portraying the dubious side of a youth who was an incarnation of falsehood but presented himself as the truest person on earth, with astounding principles and this he had to do, just for the sake of getting a job.The  film seemed  to showcase Rajinikanth in a totally different frame and the attempt clicked, just because of this novel depiction of Rajinikanth with an ISI stamp of humor.The narration of the film was so refreshing that it became a spontaneous hit, with the sparkling support of Thengai Srinivasan who stole the whole comedy show and there were Nagesh and Sowcar Janaki to substantially complement the contextual impact of the comedy sequences, with make up manuals and acrobatics.The remarkable success of the film called for its remake with Mirchi Siva, Prakash Raj and Kovai Sarala substituting Rajini, ThengaiSrinivasan and Sowcar Janaki.
   There was a road comedy wonderfully demonstrated by Nagesh and A.Karunanidhi with other comedians like Bakkoda Kadher in the highly talked about film Madras to Pondicherry.Robust humor travelled along with a bus crew generating spot comedy of a tall order. AVM's Kasedhaan Kadavulada starring Muthuraman,Lakshmi Thengai Srinivasan Srikanth Manorama and others,was yet another fantastic farcical show..In the same farcical category there were two enjoyable comedy films called Veettukku Veedu and Utharavinri Ulle vaa.The former was cast with Jaishankar, Muthuraman, Lakshmi, Nirmala  and Nagesh and the latter with Ravichandran,Kanchana,Nagesh Sachu and others..For both these films Chiralaya Gopu wrote the screen play.These movies also created a lot of humor impact on the minds of the audience.Some of the other notable comedies during this period were Jaishankar's Kalyaanamaam Kalyaanam, K.Balachander's Anubhavi Raja Anubhavi.
    After these films, there was a dry spell.It was Sundar.C who dissipated the dry spell by his silver jubilee hit Ullathai Allithaa starring Karthik Muthuraman,Ramba,Manivannan and Goundamani.The film's success was perhaps due to its lenience in story line and scenic narration to the earlier Sabash Meena that became famous on account of the casual confusions resulting from impersonation.One could say that Karthik and Goundamani just replaced Sivaji Ganesan and Chandrababu and the other things followed as consequential events in modern form. Sundar.C went on to add a couple of farcical films like Mettukkudi and Kalakalappu to his cheerful sense of film making.Similarly P.Vasu and Guru Danapal brought out the comedy potential with their two respectivel Satyaraj films Nadigan and Maaman Magal. While the  first one was an action comedy entertainer,the latter was more a focused humor show.
    All rounder Kamalahasan can hardly say no to comedies.He has in his kitty at least half a dozen leading humor tales like Singara Velan,Michael Madana Kamarajan, Avvai Shanmugi,Tenali Kaadhalaa Kaadhalaa and Pancha Thandhiram.besides his Sathi Leelavadhi and other take- it- easy films like Pammal K.Sambandham and Vasool Raja MBBS. All these films exhibited the essence of vigorous humor, with sense and nonsense.While Kaadhalaa Kaadhalaa was an effortless farce with appropriate timing in gesticulation and delivery of dialogues,Avvai Shanmugi was.an exhilarating and mature family drama with total dedication to the vital principles of humor.If the trio Kamal-Prabudeva and M.S.V ransacked the audience mood with their aggressive dramatic show of humor in Kaadhala Kaadhalaa, the same way the trio Kamal,Gemini Ganesan and Delhi Ganesh generated continuous sparks of comedy, rubbing one another without qualms. Kamal in the guise of a middle aged woman did not fail to tickle romantic beats in the heart of Manivannan thanks to the  make up efforts of Nagesh as he did for Rajinii in Thillumullu.
     But Pancha Thandhiram out beat the other films by narrating the tale of four deviant husbands taking helpless Kamal for a ride through their periodical pranks and self centered moves.The credit for most of Kamal's comedy crackers should go to crazy Mohan for contributing dialogues suitable to the contexts as sulpher to crackers.The one instance in Pancha Thandiram  is when the police inspector asks the men in the car''munnaadi pinnaadi enna irundhudhu"[What was there earlier,behind your back}with a play on words.Another such play upon words was encountered in Michael Madhana Kaamaraajan in the use of the Tamil word 'meen' {fish}mixing it up with the English word 'mean' both as verb and adjective.It is these precise verbal ingredients that make Kamal's comedy films a special humor treat.
   The latest additions in Tamil comedies with a  lighter vein, have been M.Rajesh's films like Bas Engira Baskaran and Oru Kal Oru Kannaadi.There have also been a series of black comedies mostly promoted by Vijay Sethupathi donning hero role with funny shades, mixed with a darker punch . Though the number of full length comedies are not many these days, like action films and other genre movies,the ever young and imaginative body of Tamil cinema is certainly not lagging in freshness and feel of joy in creativity.However the solid truth of the matter is, that we hardly come across a film like Sridhar's Kaadhalikka Neramillai or K.Balachander's Baamaa Vijayam. Kamal's comedy core could be called an exception particularly when it is accompanied by the dialogues of crazy Mohan and made by a vibrant film maker like K.S.Ravikumar. Similarly Sridhar's comedies had Chitralaya Gopu's golden humor brain, as their backbone. I am sure the Tamil film audience are eagerly looking forward to seeing more number of comedies like those of Mohan and Gopu, that create healthy laughter without bordering on the side of vulgarity or hurting one's self dignity in the name of humor.