Tamil Cinema was once dominated by a small group of heroes staying strong for a longer period with lasting fame and fan base.The list could be easily bifurcated as first line and second line heroes.The first position was held by MGR and Sivaji Ganesan for a quarter century to be joined later by Jai Shankar and Ravichandran.While S.S.Rajendran and Gemini Ganesan held the second place during the period of the former,Sivakumar held the second position with Jaishankar and Ravichandran. Muthuraman was the second level hero,both during days of MGR/Sivaji Ganesan and Jai Shankar/ Ravichandran.
But these second level heroes also gave quite a lot of hit films as main heroes,with quality and richness in presentation.The only difference was in the fan base and the large scale audience support that went with the first level heroes.Otherwise, all these heroes had their unquestionable individual positions in the film industry and they also remained busy throughout their film career.However, most of these actors could not be said to have commanded the Tamil film industry, as MGR and Sivaji Ganesan did.
During those decades of restrictive scope for an acceptable hero,there came in the early Sixties a brand new hero of style, charm and appeal,as a refreshing breeze.In appearance,costume sense and presentation, he was a trend setting hero showing his dynamic skill in fencing,horse riding and sprightly portrayal of character.That was the most impressive C.L Anandan,who unfortunately had his brief stint as hero and was soon pushed to villain and character roles.
After doing supportive roles in films like 'Thandhai' and 'Senkottai Singam',C.L Anandan was born as a fascinating agile hero,in Citadel Films''Vijayapuri Veeran', directed by Joseph Thaliath Jr.The film became an instant hit,because of Anandan's new appeal in body language,hairstyle,costume fitness and the speed he exhibited in horse riding and fencing.For those who were watching all the while,the unique show of MGR in royal costumes and his nimble display of mounting on horses and sword swirling,Anandan dawned on the big screen,with a new wave of dynamism. 'Vijayapuri Veeran'became a box office blast and gave immense promise of a new arrival into Tamil Cinema.
Unfortunately, the next two films'Rathinapuri Ilavarasi'and'Kongu Naattu Thangam'did not continue the starting magic spell of the new hero,because both the films were moderate shows.Then came the most memorable 'Veera Thiruman' from the AVM banner. With this film A.C.Thirulokchander who wrote the story for 'Vijayapuri Veeran' became a director, to continue his journey in film making for a couple decades, giving us many great films with Sivaji Ganesan as his chosen hero.
Anandan regained momentum and the movie became a special treat, with the scintillating music of Viswanathan Ramamurthi. Songs like 'Roja Malare Rajakumari' and 'Padaatha Paatellaam Paadavandhal' in the voices of P.B. Srinivas,P. Suseela and S. Janaki are still making rounds, soothing our ears with their eternal musical richness.The song 'Vethalapotta Pathini Ponnu' rendered by TMS with a group of added voices,set a new trend in group song composition. Anandan paired with Kumari Chachu, took the film to its expected romantic heights with charm and grace.The film firmly got fixed in audience frenzy and found a lasting place in the archives of Tamil Cinema.
After this film there was another period of lull because the nearly half a dozen films of Anandan that followed 'Veera Thirumagan' did not do any miracle at the theaters. Films like 'Sengamala Theevu','Neeyaa Naanaa','Kubera Theevu','Kaattu Maina', 'Naanum Manidhan Thaan' and 'Magale Un Samathu' were mere additions of numbers into Tamil Cinema.Soon this small time hero of style and charm, was sidelined and was compelled to move to character or villain roles.As his stout body form was fitter for villain roles, he did more villain roles or that of a villain's henchman .He had acted in Jai Shankar's films 'Yaar Nee','Ponnu Maappile''Athai Magal','Manasaatchi' and 'CID Shankar'.
He also appeared in Ravichandran's'Edhirigal Jaakiradhai' 'Ninaivil Ninraval' ,'Naangu Killaadikal' and'Moonrezhuthu' Interestingly, Ananadan who initially appeared to be an alternative for MGR in royal roles, was found to play either villain or character roles in MGR films like'Thani Piravi' and 'Neerum Neruppum.' Later Anandan also appeared in Rajinikanth films such as 'Naan Potta Savaal' 'Thanikkaattu Raja' and 'Adutha Varisu'. He also appeared in a character role in Vijayakanth's 'Sendhoora Poove'.Action King Arjun's'Thaaimel Aanai' was the last film of this small time hero.
Be it a hero or villain or character actor,C.L Anandan hardly failed to stamp his image as an exclusive actor of style and charm.His sharp looks,alluring smile,awesome speed and lively delivery of roles, never failed to make indelible impressions.This exceptional actor would ever stay strong in the memories of those, who had a chance to see him as hero on the silver screen.