Thursday, February 8, 2018

S.A. Asokan,An Actor of Decibel and Dynamism.

    Among villains of early Tamil Cinema,no one would have been so loud as S.A. Asokan in articulating words of villainy. No doubt M.N.Nambiar also used to increase his decibel here and there. P.S.Veerappa felicitously performed his bad roles with his crude looks and serial serpentine laugh. S.A.Asokan with his hefty body and high profile appearance, came into Tamil Cinema during the early Nineteen Fifties and enjoyed the loudness in his voice as his potential trait of villainy, reflecting detestable fury on his face.May be he had to cleverly manipulate his voice vigor because he had a pair of eyes as obvious indicators of compassion and love.It was his soft looks that made him perform character roles in a much better way than the other two villain actors.
    The magnitude of Asokan's voice was a piece of challenge to the ears of audience in films like Veera Thirumagan, Kaaval kaaran Adimai Penn and Rickshakaaran. As a henchman of M.N.Nambiar,the irredeemable villain of the film Kavalkaran,I still remember how Asokan would angrily shout at his master who betrayed him.The way he loudly uttered the name 'Marudhachalam'{that was Nambiyar's name in Kavalkaran} is still echoing in my ears.The decibel that he created as a villain in Adimai Penn was exceedingly characteristic of his villainy.Perhaps it is the innate fury in his voice that enabled him to perform evil, mythological characters such as Dhuriyodhana and Soorapadman in the films Karnan and Kandan Karunai. Asokan's voice blasted in the theaters especially, while watching the film Kandan Karunai.
    But this guy could also perform villainy with an exemplary sense of humor in films like Naan, Moonrezhuthu,Namnaadu, Neelagiri Express and Vairom. Humor-prone villainy not only reduced the loudness of his voice but also changed the profile of the villain, that he played.He would deliver dialogues in a sweet coated way and crush his traitors and enemies.In most of his later movies Asokan demonstrated  the strength of his villainy through this fresh dimension. 
    Asokan became an inseparable part of quite a number of MGR films.He not only did the character of a baddie but also adorned roles such as MGR's father {Dheivathai&Thanipiravi} father-in-law {Panakkaara Kudumbam} and elder brother {Thaai Sollai Thattaadhe, Kudumba Thalaivan & Thaaiku Thalai Magan}.Even in these roles he usually stood on the wrong side,waiting to be corrected or at times even killed by the hero. Asokan also did subtle villain roles in films like Kannan En Kaadhalan, Sange Muzhangu and Thedivandha Mappillai. Besides acting with MGR, he also produced a couple of MGR films like Thalaivan and Netru, Inru, Naalai.
    But Asokan was not always a villain.In royal roles, he was always dynamic as the Chola King in Paarthiban Kanavu and as the Chalukya King Pulikesi in Kanchi Thalaivan.He was a chic police officer in perfect form, in films like Aanandha Jodhi,Naan Anaiyittaal and Kuzhaindhakkaaga.His mysterious role play in the most popular thriller movie Adhe Kangal from the AVM banner, was a different character assigned to him and he performed it as impressively, as he did the other roles.
   Who can forget his role as hero in Modern Theatres' Vallavanukku Vallavan' in which Gemini Ganesan starred as villain.He also came as hero in the film Idhu Sathiyam paired with Chandrakantha,an actress with expressive eyes and ability to deliver Tamil dialogues with force and clarity. Some of the character roles he performed were as the elder brother of S.S.Rajentan in Manapandal and as Gemini Ganesan's elder brother in Paadha Kaanikkai.In both the films he was taken to bad ways and then reformed.He was also seen singing songs in the voice of T.M.Soundarajan and P.B.Srinivas. Songs such as 'Oer Aayiram Paarvaiyile' Udalukku Uyir Kaaval,'Sathiyam Idhu Sathiyam'and 'Veeduvarai Uravu'are not only thoughtful, philosophical melodies, but also valuable musical treasures of Tamil Cinema. 
      One of the unforgettable roles he performed was as Dr. Gopal, the soulmate of the hero Sivaji Ganesan, in A.V.M's Uyarndha Manidhan. It was a film wherein both the friends would love the same girl;but once Asokan comes to know that his love is one sided, he gulps the disappointment at one stroke and remains as the steadfast friend of the hero till the end.At one point in a drunken mood he would say "the day I came to know that Paarvathi was not to be there in my life, my heart became void and started beating like an old unusable watch" and that was usually, one of the most meaningful dialogues to be heard, only from a hero's mouth, in Tamil Cinema.
   Asokan has acted in a vast number of films with MGR,Sivaji Ganesan,Gemini Ganesan Jai Shankar and Ravichandran. Later he also did a couple of films each with Rajinikanth {Billa&Thee} and Kamalahasan {Ram Lakshman&Savaal} I would have seen a lot of his films.It is not necessary to record all the films here, because surpassing the number of films,the fact remains that Asokan is not just an actor of loud voice but is made of very many layers of action, hitting the roots of a galaxy of characters and capable of alluring the audience with eternal charm, style and steam.