Friday, July 22, 2016

The Superstar Reverberates.


    Pa. Ranjith  made us sit up and watch his unusual course of narration of events in his film Madras.It is perhaps  a matter of coincidence that,all the letters of his name spelt in English, form  a major part of the name of Rajinikanth too. The fifty fifty combination of their names gets into perfect fusion in the tremendously hyped film Kabali. For the fans of the superstar, there is enough display of his charismatic style and gusto.But the narrative format is characteristic of the budding director of distinct merit.From the beginning till the end, the action sequences move on, like a steam boat shuttling between a calm  sea and one of turbulent waves.
   Rajini's devotion to his wife [which already hit the victory mark in AVM's Nallavanukku Nallavan under his periodical director S.P.Muthuraman], carries deeper dimensions of the pang of presumed loss of his wife and its intensity of anguish.The scene where Kabali and his daughter meet on an unexpected twist in narration, marks the mind blowing intermission of the film.Really the interval screen falls upon the audience with high voltage thrilling effect.The second part of the film that takes the hero, on a search mission with his daughter to find his yet living wife in India, is a  grand mix of sentiment and appalling action shots.The superstar's meeting his wife is an effective emotional package poignantly unveiled,thanks to the spontaneous melting down of Radhika Apte who plays the role of Rajinikanth's wife.The dignified family reunion is an endearing treat  .
  Through out the film, the combined impact of  tempo, noise and niceties, makes one feel, if one is watching a usual Rajini film, or experiencing a refreshingly fulfilling Rajini film, after a long time, when films like Mullum Malarum and Bhuvana Oru Kelvikuri brought Rajini the actor,closer to our hearts.All said and done, can anyone get completely retrieved from the Baasha effect, when it comes to the presentation of a gangster story.That there is no place for the usually energizing comedy quotient of Rajinikanth, is certainly a matter of disappointment,though factually speaking comedy has no scope in a movie of this kind.
   Santhosh Narayanan's music was more appealing in Madras.The song 'Maya Nadhi' is of course a melting melody. Nassar and Sangili Murugan are compact in their brief appearances. Danshika, Rythvika, Kalaiarasan and Dinesh have substantial space for performance and they have made good use of their opportunity to be part of a Rajini film.Winston Chao and Kishore exhibit their sheen for villainy with style and brutality.John Vijay has more scope to share a lot of joint appearances with the superstar.Beyond all this ,what was surprising for me is how the film got a U certificate, in spite of being a gangster movie, with too many crude scenes of violence and profuse gunning down of one another in a mad spree. Rajini looks a bit exhausted in quite a few shots.Ageing has its impact.But his innate charm and style remain intact.His breaking down when he comes to know the fact that he has missed for long, his living wife, who he thought was dead and several other scenes, will live long to create a lasting impact on the minds of the audience.The invisible audio climax, with the bullet sound makes the audience leave the theater with each one's guess work about the fate of Kabali.
   Through out the film, there is a reverberating rhythm in the characterization and performance of Rajinikanth, the monumental actor, who is blessed with so much of fan adoration from children to grownups.No doubt, Ranjith has not failed to capitalize on this phenomenal factor.

Friday, July 15, 2016

T.R.Ramanna the Ritzy Film Maker.,


                                       T.R.Ramanna the Ritzy Film Maker.,                   .

     Like all other business activities,film making has its own ups and downs.However, during the last century film production houses were not many and the spirit of competition was always healthy. The absence of television until the mid seventies and the non existence of electronic governance and its resultant video piracy, made the film making industry exist without any sudden shocks of fall in business.Starting from the Gemini Pictures and the AVM mega production house, there were a sizable number of film making units like Jupiter Pictures,Vijaya Vauhini Production house, Vijayalakshmi Pictures,Padmini Pictures,Devar Films Circuit,the Modern Theatres, Sathya Movies,Kalakendra& Kavithalaya film houses of veteran director K.Balachander and K.Balaji's Sujatha Cine Arts.
    Among these was the R.R.Pictures, maintained by Thanjavur Renganayaki Ramanna,the most notable film maker and sibling of the most fascinating actress T.R.Rajakumari. In fact T.R.Ramanna was a forerunner in the field, along with the Gemini and AVM big banner houses.He has to his credit several dynamic film making credentials, that could afford him, a specially distinguished place in Tamil Cinema. Ramanna is pretty much known for his diversified narrative skills, in taking social and spiritual themes closer to the hearts of the audience.His unforgettable mythical and spiritual entries were, Kaathavaraayan,Sri Valli, Arunagirinadhar and Ilangeswaran..
      Unlike A.Bhimsingh and K.Balaji who never thought of making even a single movie with MGR as hero and unlike Chinnappa Devar who for reasons not known,deliberately excluded Sivaji Ganesan,among his heroes,T.R.Ramanna who has a slightly bigger number of MGR films in his film archives, did not fail to make a good number of Sivaji films.In fact, Ramanna could be proud of making the one and only film of the two heroes, starring together, for the first and last time and that film was Koondukkili. Even in that film Sivaji did only the role of an anti hero, as a womanizing, treacherous friend of the other hero MGR. T.R.Ramanna did five other films with Sivaji Ganesan as hero and they were Kaathavarayan, Sri Valli,Thanga Surangam.Sorgam and Ennai Pol Oruvan. Of these Kaathavarayan  and Sri Valli were based on Hindu mythology, Sorgam was a breezy family drama and the other two were action packed entertainers.
    Ramanna a stylish director of longstanding merit, made nearly eight films of MGR, with a variety in theme and story line. Besides Koondukkili,which was his first film with MGR,there were powerful family dramas like Periya Idaththu Penn ,Panakkaara Kudumbam and Panam Padaithavan,fabulous entertainers like Gulebakaavali,historical fiction like Pudhumai Pithan and thrillers like Parakkum Paavai. T.R.Ramanna also made an unusual MGR movie, that showed the conventionally positive spirited hero, caught in a web of tragic circumstances, culminating in his death and this special movie was Paasam.
    T.R.Ramanna and his sister T.R.Rajakumari, who was popularly known as the dream girl of Tamil Cinema,worked together in movies like Gulebakavali,Pudhumai Pithan,Periya Idathu Penn and Paasam. Rajakumari was first paired with MGR as his pair. Later,she acted as the elder sister of MGR in Periya Idathu Penn and finally also became the mother of the hero in Paasam. Whereas,MGR ever remained as a youthful hero, till the end of his career.As far as the narrative style of Ramanna is concerned,one could always feel it as a creative process, dipped in a galaxy of emotions with a proclaimed focus on entertainment and action sequences.
    Even during the days of slow motion films, Ramanna's Pudhumai Pithan and Gulebhakavali were found to be rich entertainers on a speedy track, with amazing action potential at all levels and enchanting musical value, thanks to the mind blowing sound track and musical composition of G.Ramanathan [films like Pudhumai Pithan, Kaathavarayan,Sri Valli and Arunagiri nadhar] Viswanathan& Ramamurthy and later M.S.Viswanathan{Several films},or T.K.Ramamurthy [Thanga Surangam and Moonrezhuthu}for the rest of his films.I think  the exceptions were Koondukkili for which music was left in the hands of K.V.Mahadevan and Vairam taking the tunes from T.R.Papa..
    Excepting Puthumai Pithan, Ramanna produced and directed, the other seven films of MGR. under his R.R.Pictures banner.Similarly Kathavarayan was the only Sivaji movie, produced and directed by him alike Manapandal starring S.S.Rajendran and B.Sarojadevi,which was an R.R.Pictures film but directed by V.N.Reddy.When the two new  heroes Jai Shankar and Ravichandran came to lime light, Ramanna's attention promptly shifted to them, leading to some great films like Nee,Naan,Kumari Penn,Moonrezhuthu,and Vairam. Of these,Naan, Kumari Penn and Vairam were popular hits.During the last spell of his film career, Ramanna also made a film starring Rajinikanth and this film Kuppathu Raja  also became a great success, among the B and C sections of the audience.
    As far as Ramanna's heroines were concerned, his early stars were B.S.Saroja,T.R.Rajakumari G.Varalakshmi  S.Varalakshmi,Raja Sulochana and E.V.Saroja.But his most frequent heroines were B.Sarojadevi and J.Jeyalalitha. The other notable heroines were Savithri, K.R.Vijaya, Bharathi, Usha Nandini and Radhika. Starting  from the first generation comedians of Tamil Cinema,like K.A.Thangavelu and J.P.Chandrababu and the later years' veteran comedians such as Nagesh,Suruli Rajan,Thengai Srinivasan and Ennathe Kannaiah,all have  contributed their humor in the films of Ramanna.
    But when it came to the role of villains Ramanna's most preferred villain actor was R.S.Manohar.This actor of theatrical excellence became a  must in Ramanna's films as he was in the movies of the Modern Theatres.The other favourite villain actor of Ramanna was S.A.Asokan. Strangely, M.N.Nambiyar who played the villain in a majority of M.G.R films, was seen only in Ramanna's Parakkum Paavai,that too in a less important role. P.S.Veerappa the other prominent villain actor of MGR films, was never inducted in the films of Ramanna. T.S.Balaiah was seen in Pudhumai Pithan and M.R.Radha in a couple of films [Paasam and Periya Idathu Penn}.
   Beyond all this statistics of Ramanna's films,the most undoubted fact is that Ramanna was a ritzy film maker proving  his commercial strength, by his periodical hits like Pudhumai Pithan.Guleba gaavali,Periya Idathu Penn,Panam Padaithavan [chiefly remembered for all hit songs],Sorgam Kumari  Penn,Naan and Kuppathu Raajaa.In addition to the distinctly powerful entertainment value of his films,the over all quality of narration deserves a passionate compliment.His heroes, heroines, villains and comedians were all reputed for, invaluable quality of performance.Music was another ecstatic factor of many Ramanna movies.It can be assertively stated, that as a ritzy film maker he has made the memories of his films percolate into the imagination and understanding of a majority of the audience,who will stand up and say, here was a film maker who made Tamil Cinema proud of its creative legacy.