Tuesday, August 9, 2016

A versatile Talent of Tamil Cinema.


    Apart from actors who have enriched Tamil Cinema,there have been very many talents on the creative front, pushing to glorious heights, the various components of film making.Tamil cinema certainly owes its qualitative survival, to its classic film making segments that include illustrious directors,story and script writers, besides the most important section of producers.Only a few days ago, Tamil film industry was deprived of a highly credited script writer,director and actor in the passing away of Vietnaam Veedu Sundaram and this blog carried a modest homage paid to that great film personality.Today Tamil Cinema lost another wonderful film producer and director who was also a lyricist and story writer.It is really a sad news that Mr.Panju Arunachalam a well known name in the Tamil film industry, passed away leaving an indescribable vacuum in the Tamil film field.
    Panju Arunachalam as a film producer,  made Tamil Cinema stand up to its meritorious recognition by adding up a number of highly talked about and commercially viable films to its archives.While he produced some of the rare Rajinikanth films like Bhuvana Oru KelviKuri, Aaarilirundhu Arubadhuvarai and Engeyo Ketta Kural he could also be complimented for giving great Rajini entertainers like Priya,Veera and Guru Sishyan. Similarly three of Kamalahasan's unforgettable films such as Kalyana Raman,Jappaanil Kalyana Raman and Michael Madana Kamarajan were from his P.A Arts' Production unit.Some of his other significant releases were Rasukutti, starring Baghyaraj, Poovellaam Kettupaar,the breezy romance with Suriya and Jyothika in the lead and Cheran's Solla Marandha Kadhai.
    A huge list of fabulous stories emanated from his extraordinary imaginative brain to become films of grandeur and successful realities.Some of his felicitous films in this regard are Mayangugiraal Oru Maadhu,Avanthaan Manidhan, Kavarimaan, Annakkili, Vaazhkai, Engeyo Ketta Kural,Bhuvana Oru Kelvikuri,Adutha Vaarisu, Murattu Kaalai, Manidhan,Thambikku Endha Ooru,Paayum Puli,Aboorva Sagodharargal Rajaadhi Raajaa,Meendum Kokilaa,Sagala Kalaa Vallavan, Uyarndha Ullam, Thoongaadhe Thambi Thoongaadhe and several other films produced by the AVM banner.Maximum number of his stories were for the films of Rajinikanth and Kamalahasan.It should also be mentioned here that Panju Arunachalam was significantly responsible for the emergence and indisputable popularity of Ilayaraja who composed music for a number of films produced by him.
    Arunachalam  has also directed films like Manamgale Vaa,Puthu Paatu,Kalikaalam and Thambi Pondaatti starring heroes like Prabu,Ramarajan and Rehaman.The eternal melodies and vigorous songs for which he wrote the lyrics were,"Ponnezhil Pooththadhu Pudhuvaanil"{Kalangarai Vilakkam}"Manamagale Marumagale Vaa vaa"{Saradha} "Machaana Paatheengalaa" and "Annakili Onna Thedudhe"{Annakili}"Vizhiyile Malarndhadhu" and "Raja Enbaar Mandhiri Enbaar"{Buvana Oru Kelvi Kuri}"Kanmaniye Kaadhal Enbadhu"{Aairilirundhu Arubadhuvarai}"Kaadhalin Deepamonru"{Thambikku Endha Ooru} and "Podhuvaaga Enmanasu Thangam"{Murattu Kaalai} A few important aspects that would call for specific notification are,his association with great actors like Sivaji Ganesan,Rajinikanth and Kamalahasan his long term link with the Rajini director, S.P.Muthuraman and his frequent lenience towards the AVM banner.
    Above all, the fact remains that late Panju Arunachalam never disappointed the audience in giving them, duly cherished family oriented and socially conscious stories, absolutely meant for a decent watch with all the relevant entertainment ingredients, keeping the audience drawn towards the theaters at various points of time, through out his creative and productive career.His concepts of film making were precisely business oriented; but in fixing his commercial targets he never compromised on quality of exhibition, or narration of his story lines.He knew what the audience wanted and gave it in the most acceptable form.His movies and his stories for his movies, were symbolic of a natural process of evolution ,with the singular objective of providing entertainment through the calculated yardsticks of social responsibility and creative compactness .Here lies the value of a versatile talent of Tamil Cinema, and it is in this respect, we should specially salute  the departed soul of Panju Arunachalam .

Saturday, August 6, 2016

A Vibrant Script Writer and Film Maker.

     It is a known fact that no film can hit the mark without a catchy script.Story and scrip writers could be called the soul of a film.However good a director is and how great the actors are,the ultimate success of a film solely depends upon the weight of its story and its script that form the backbone of any great movie.Language is just a medium.But how effectively that medium is used to take the story and its characters closer to the audience solely depends upon the sparkling impact made by the dialogues. The relevance of word power, to the depiction of a scene and  the characters rolling around the scenic sequences,strikes a potential balance in the process of film making.Tamil Cinema has come across renowned names ruling the script dynamism in film making.One such dynamic script writer is Vietnaam Veedu Sundaram who is no more today.
   Late Mr.Sundaram takes his magnificent prefix from the most successful Tamil drama Vietnaam Veedu splendidly staged by him in the Nineteen Sixties, with the grand participation of Sivaji Ganesan as its protagonist. In fact, this face lifting prefix,was bestowed upon him by none other than Sivaji Ganesan himself. Later in 1970 when the play was released as a movie under the eminent direction of P.Madhavan,it was Sundaram who wrote the script for the historic film, that became another milestone in Sivaji Ganesan's career,performing the most memorable role of prestige Padmanaban. The film is remembered as much for the vigorous role play of the Chevalier as for its most impressive dialogue segment. Sivaji Ganesan as Padmanaban and Padmini as Savithri simply lived as life-like husband and wife on the screen, thanks to the wonderful script of Sundaram and the qualitative direction of P.Madhavan.
   Like most other film personalities Sundaram was also a Sivaji devotee.His script for great Sivaji Ganesan's films like Gnaana Oli, [which went on for long, as another amazing stage drama, with the theatrical team spirit of Sivaji Ganesan and Sundaram]Annan Oru Koil,Grahapravesam,Pareetchaikku NeramaachuJustice Gopinath and Sathyam, created celebrated moments for the film audience.On top of it all, came the monumental film "Gowravam"letting Sivaj Ganesan play dual roles as barrister Rajinikanth and his devoted adopted son.This extraordinarily stylish movie which was yet another brilliant stage play of the duo, was directed by Vietnaam Veedu Sundaram himself and I still remember watching  the very first show of this film on its date of release,with one of my close friends, another ardent Sivaji fan. Sundaram casually moved a big step forward, on the track of Tamil Cinema, as a powerful film maker and script writer.
  The Two MGR films for which Sundaram wrote the script were Naan Yen Pirandhein [a rare MGR film with a solid family base] and Naalai Namadhe[the Tamil remake of the Hindi block buster Yadon ki Baaraat].Sundaram is also a specialist in delineating social mythologies in an exemplary manner,through his captivating stories and scripts.Some of his timeless films  in this respect are,Namma Veettu Dheivam, Navagrha Naayagi,Nambinaar Keduvadhillai, Aaiyiram Kannudaiyaal and,Velundu Vinaiyillai.Sundaram has also worked with his next generation actors like Kamalahasan,[Soora Samhaaram]Prabu [Anand] Sathyaraj [Jallikattu] and Karthik Muthuraman[Raja Mariyaadhai].His most favoured female star was K.R.Vijaya.
   In his later years, Sundaram also turned to acting in films [Appu,Kanna Moochi Yenada} and Television serials.He has acted in almost twenty serials so far, of which Metti Oli,Athi Pookkal, Marmadesam.,Krishna Dhasi,Rishimoolam,Raja Rajeswari,Pillai Nila and Valli will find a distinct place in the history of the Tamil small screen. Vietnaam Veedu Sundaram's voice modulation carries a calculated charm in dialogue delivery.His family- oriented values behind his writing the script,and his sharp psychological perception of characters and their vocal role play, with an organized understanding of the family and social realities, speak volumes of his concerted focus on the traditional core of life, through his imaginative presentation of dialogues,to be delivered by the respective characters on the screen.
     Sundaram's contextual grasp of the harmony between scenes and their semantic revelation is an excellent indicator of his stage and screen sense of creativity.In his passing away,the script component of Tamil Cinema and the thespian side of the small screen, seem to have lost immensely. The views expressed here, are the genuine outcome of the profound regard that this blog writer has cherished  for more than the past four decades, for this outstanding film face, of Tamil cinema.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

A Special, Rajini Film Maker.

                                                            ( Homage to J.Magendran)

          An assertive film maker always stamps his individuality, not only by his choice of themes,story line,weight of script and pattern of narration, but also by his ability to give a U turn to a typecast hero, in a totally different portrayal of looks and role play. Today's superstar Rajinikanth who literally owes his career to his mentor K.Balachander,and had his initial years branding him as a rugged villain or an actor in double hero films, with a captivating image,mannerism and style,was transformed into  a bulldozing hero of rugged charm, by a director with a distinct perception of an actor's flair for performance. It was of course  K.Balachander who identified the over all potential of Rajinikanth But he was caught in a major dilemma of choosing the right focus and thrust required for the evolution of the next generation's two top most heroes, Rajinikanth and Kamalahasan,who happened to succeed MGR and Sivaji Ganesan, as the two mega stars of Tamil Cinema.
    As Balachander  had to simultaneously engage both these talented men, with the scope and space they independently deserved and needed,he could not explore and bring out the best in Rajinikanth through a hero making film.His initial offers to Rajinikanth were for negative roles which this special actor sumptuously enjoyed in films like Moonru Mudichu and Avargal. It was C.V Sridhar who first gave him a positive role in his Ilamai Oonjalaadugiradhu,but that too was a double hero film with more scope for Kamal.There were other low profile Rajini films like Mangudi Minor,Vanakthirkuriya Kadhaliye,Adupuli Attam and Aaru Pushpangal. Two other earlier films of Rajini, made a mark and they were Bhairavi directed by M.Baskar and Ayiram Jenmangal made by Durai.
    But the first Rajini film that took him to new heights as an independent,well carved hero, was J.Mahendran's historic film Mullum Malarum. Apart from Rajinikanth, who appeared as a rough shod man, with a soft inner self, made of unrelenting love for his younger sister,the cast of the film included Sarath Babu as a police officer and two women, namely,the most talented Shobha and Fadafat Jeyalakshmi [ both committed suicide later].With its vigorous narration and melody of music from the musical prophet Ilayaraja,Mullum Malarum became a specially noticeable and gloriously trend setting Rajini film.In all fairness, it can be said that though K.Balachander was Rajini's mentor,it was J.Mahendran who made him rightly and firmly step on the ladder to super stardom.
    J.Mahendran seems to have drawn the attention of MGR,as a new creative talent, during his student days.Later he happened to gain a little space, in the making of MGR film Kanchi Thalaivan, This happened after a few MGR films like Ponniyin Selvan and Vaazhve Vaa in which Mahendran was to play a vital role,could not take shape or pass the production stage for various, less known reasons. But slowly, J.Mahendran set his foot into Tamil Cinema, as a story,screen play and dialogue writer for many films, of which Vaazndhu Kaattukiren, Vaazhvu En Pakkam and Sivaji Ganesan's grand show Thanga Padhakkam, find a memorable place.But Mullum Malarum was the first film, he directed and it was the first film for Rajini, to fix his growth trajectory as a hero, commanding a hysteric fan base. J.Mahendran's first film itself was a major hit, receiving accolades from the movie critics and reviewers.
    J.Mahendran went on to make award winning films like, Udhiri Pookkal and Nenjathai Killaadhe, He made excellent use of the talent of actors like Mohan,Vijayan,Suhasini and Aswini, in these two films.It was a period of the musical reign of Ilayaraja and he played wonders with his magical wand of making music.Starting from Mullum Malarum, it was the expertise of Mahendran's delicate handling of intricate themes, that evoked the emergence of new aesthetics in film making.The two other Rajini films Johnny and Kai Kodukkum Kai,directed by Mahendran,would definitely remain as the two specially memorable films, for Rajini himself.Unlike S.P.Muthuraman, who made the maximum number of Rajini films,Mahendran made only three films with the Superstar.But each film was different from the other, in the hero's character delineation.While robust masculine verve dominated in Mullum Malarum,Kai Kodukkum Kai showed the man of the film, as one endowed with utmost empathy and humaneness. Johnny in which Rajini played dual roles, projected the conflicting attributes of male waywardness and helplessness, in falling a victim of  negative circumstances.
     In presenting womanhood,Mahendran was always at his best, in showcasing the traditional profiles of feminine glory, through his women protagonists, in films like Mullum Malarum,Udhiri Pookkal,and Kai Kodukkum Kai.Even as a story writer he did not fail to top up, the dignity of submissive womanhood, in Thanga Padhakkam and the feminist in his women characters,in films like Vaazhvu En Pakkam and Vaazhndhu Kaattugiren. His film Johnny, put in contrast the power of considerate womanhood, as reflected in the character of Sridevi, with that of opportunism and betrayal, reflected in the character formation of Deepa.
   Mahendran's themes and story lines were also known for variety.While Nenjathai Killaadhe was an elegant love story,Johnny came out as a tale of love with its vagaries and waywardness.Love born of respect for womanhood formed the base for his Kai Kodukkum Kai. Betrayal of men and women formed part of his narration of the process of love in Johnny.His family dramas were like calm streams with occasional ripples,causing a kind of destabilizing note.He had the guts to portray nasty, mean minded and crude villainy, as the negative face of humanity, that was beautifully reflected in the characterization of Vijayan in Udhiri Pookkal. His villains were perverts [imagine Cinni Jeyanth performing the role of a pervert in Kai Kodukkum Kai} of the vulgar kind, disturbing the mind of the audience in films like, Udhiri Pookkal, Kai Kodukkum Kai and Poottaadha Poottukal. Mahendran's other notable films were Nandu,Metti,Azhagiya Kanne,Kannukku Mai Ezhudhu and Oor Panchayathu The last film made by him was Saagasam. Recently we would have been surprised to see him as an actor, donning the role of a bloody, inhuman villain, committing brutalities of an unacceptable kind, in the Vijay mega hit movie, Theri.
    J.Mahendran's creative ingredients are self made.His reach with the audience, has been significant as powerful waterfalls, reaching the ground from a mountainous range.He could entertain with sense and sensibility.His aesthetic norms of film making, were always of the higher order.Films like Nenjaththai Killaadhe, Mullum Malarum,Udhiri Pookkal and Johnny, would substantially vindicate Mahendran's capacity for capturing a world, of differently beautiful composition.Particularly when it comes to the three Rajini films he made,it could be categorically stated that it is Mahendran who,of all Tamil film makers, has discovered the varied dimensions of the same hero and qualitatively stuffed them, in celluloid form, to pave the way for the extraordinary march of an uncommon hero,to reach the top most slot in Tamil cinema.It is really unfortunate that J. Mahendran did not get the recognition that has always been due to him.But he continues to strike a mark as a special maker of Rajini films,of course with  the exception of  movies like Aarilurndhu Arubadhuvarai, Bhuvana Oru Kelvikuri and Nallavanukku Nallavan, directed by S.P.Muthuraman.