Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Two Actor Grandsons of the DMK Patriarch.



                                           {Revised on 8th July 2021}

   The Dravidian movement was as much dedicated to the stage and screen as it was to politics.Arignar Anna and Kalaignar Karunanidhi remained as the torchbearers of the Dravidian movement both in politics and cinema.While Mr.Karunanidhi was confined to writing script, the other members of his family such as Murasoli Maran and Murasoli Selvam  were actively involved in the production of Tamil films.
  Films released under Anjugam Pictures and Mekala Pictures'banner will throw substantial light on their contribution to Tamil cinema.Maaran was a script writer for famous Tamil films like Kuladheivam,Annaiyin Aanai and Sahodhari.Besides making the two films Marakka Mudiyuma and Pillaiyo Pillai, Maran also directed the former. Murasoli Selvam produced films like Paasamazhai and Paadaadha Theneekkal.
   In addition to these notable film activities,Kalignar's elder son Mu.Ka.Muthu was a hero of popular films like Pillaiyo Pillai,Pookaari,Samaiyalkaran and so on.The Dravidian patriarch's other son Stalin had also shown his acting skill in a couple of films {Ore Ratham and Makkal Aanaiyittaal}and T.V serials {Kurinji Malar and Suriya}.Now from this family tree, two new generation actors have succeeded in making footprints on the pathway to the silver screen.They are Uadhayanidhi Stalin and Arulnidhi,the sons of  Mr.M. K.Stalin,the proud Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu,and his brother Mr.M. K. Tamizharasu respectively.
  Both these new stars have started glittering their independent sparks of performing ignition.Between these two cousins,Mr.M.K.Stalin's ward is at least a decade older than Arulnidhi.Though Udhayanidhi first entry was in a minor role in his R'sed Giant movies'film Adhavan.
   Unlike his cousin Arulnidhi, Udhayanidhi is a producer of films too. Under his Red Giant Movies,there were half a dozen films portraying him as hero besides two films of Suriya {Aadhavan and 7aam Arivu}and one film each of Kamalahasan and Vijay {Manmadhan Ambu and Kuruvi respectively}.There were also other films like Neer Paravai and Vanakkam Chennai. But Arulnidhi who made his debut in Vamsam has not so far produced any film.
  Among Udhayanidhi's movies,Oru Kal Oru Kannaadi, Manidhan, Ippadai Vellum and Nimir were significantly worth watching, as entertainers and quality reflectors. Manidhan could be called an exceptional film of  this modest hero who carries an exemplary stamp of persuasive and resistant tags in his acting profile.The way he fights a prolonged legal battle with Prkash Raj projects him as silently invincible,in his mission for justice for the down trodden victims of a hit and run act of collective murder,committed by a wealthy guy.
   His other films like Nanbenda, Saravanan Irukka Bayam Yen,Podhuvaaga En Manasu Thangam and Idhu Kadhirvelan Kaadhal were very ordinary shows.To record it as a personal preference,Oru Kal Oru Kannaadi will be my most enjoyed film of this pleasing actor, because of the team spirit of vigorous banter exhibited by him in association with Santhaanam,generating spot humour and spontaneous laughter.
    Arulnidhi has to his credit some special films like Vamsam,his debut film,Mouna Guru,an action thriller, De Monte Colony a ghost thriller and Radha Mohan's Brindhavanam a breezy tale of romance.He has also come out with a few more action /mystery thrillers and considerable comedy entries,such as Udhayan,Thagaraaru, Aaraadhu Sinam,Oru Kanniyum Moonru Kalavaanikalum and Naalu Polisum Naalaa Irundha Oorum.Both Udhayanidhi and Arulnidhi have captivating smiles and sober dimensions in their profiles.
   But Udhayanidhi seems to be a little more genial and endearing in carrying himself closer to the film watchers.This might be due to the roles offered to Arulnidhi in films like Mouna Guru and De Monte Colony.In physical stature,the audience would be compelled to bring in a  little similarity, between Arulnidhi and Vishal, though their acting modes are totally different.
   Arulnidhi is a composed performer who has shouldered a few tough roles leaning on psychological intricacies as in Mouna Guru and De Monte Colony.But Udhayanidhi impresses by his clear dialogue delivery with apt intonations marking it as a progressive course of acting.His comedy flair is also precisely convincing to the extent of setting up a positive image for him. However, he has to try different themes and characters as he did in Manidhan.His casual acting style is a special asset to him, like the introspective acting calibre of Arulnidhi that puts him at an advantage.
   Udhayanadhi's 'Nimir' directed by Priyadharshan reaffirms his effortless acting ability,without any blow up and fixes him perfectly into the role of a photographer. With moderate inclusion of natural humor and realistic portrayal of events, it can be called a clean movie and the song Nenjil Maamazhai would stay in audience memory for quite sometime.His recent film Psycho showing him as a visually challenged person fighting evil,cleanly displayed his ability to climb up the thespian ladder with ease and comfort.
   Arul Nidhi's film 'Iravukku Aayiram Kangal'with a decent cast and thrilling narration, has definitely shown marked improvement in the hero's capacity for underplay.Here,the first time film maker Mu.Maran proves his promising credentials, by presenting a full time worthy thriller with great twists and turns, leading to a catchy,suggestive climax. Arulnidhi,Ajmal Anandraj,{with his fine comedy flashes} Mahima Nambiyar and Lakhsmi Ramakrishnan have contributed their best to make the film quite different from other thrillers.His latest film Kalathil Sandhippom with Jeeva, has been appealing,as a warm show of comedy and action,with a sharp focus on inseparable friendship
   The future goals of these two heroes,will  make them deserve a firm place in Tamil Cinema,by adding more mettle to the creative corpus of their grand father,who had been a splendid  power point of the Tamil literary foundation. In this particular aspect, it becomes the foremost responsibility of these two actor cousins, to stand up and salute their grand sire and tell him that they carry at least a little bit of his creative grandeur,that would ever last as the governing spirit of Tamil Cinema.

Monday, June 4, 2018

The Iron Curtain, Past and Present



     Almost sixty years ago{1960}Gemini Pictures released the film 'Irumbu Thirai' starring Sivaji Ganesan,Vaijayanthimala,B.Sarojadevi,S.V.Rengarao,S.V.Subbiah,Vasundara devi, T.S.Dorai Raj and K.A.Thangavelu. It was not only a black and white movie but was also a curtain drawn between the evil black and the innocent white.It was a clear curtain drawn in between a mill owner with a macabre mindset and the victims of his capitalistic agenda. As the curtain had its roots crudely laid to the rich-poor divide,it carried a diabolic effect.In addition to it,the curtain also hid the filth of betrayal and revenge,more to the advantage of the rich. 
    S.S.Vasan poignantly pictured the plight of a woman{Vasundradevi] wronged by the mill owner {effortlessly played by S.V.Renga Rao, with sweet coated venom} and  her illegitimate daughter {Vaijayanthimala},who was bent upon killing the devilish mill owner.The base of the story was of course, one man's avarice for amassing wealth,by exploiting the deserving stakeholders of the profit, made by their excessive sweat and labour. 
    It was Chevalier Sivaji Ganesan who became the vibrant,leading voice of the working class, who dramatically mobilized the entire labor force against the hostile mill owner to break into pieces his wall of capitalism.So turbulent was the spirit of unity that the whole lot of agitating workers under their relentless leader, would throng in front of the iron gates of the factory and crack it down, foreboding a do or die battle with the mill owner. 
    Six decades later, here comes another film bearing the same title 'Irumbu Thirai' from the production house of actor Vishal, who also plays the protagonist of the film.This film too is about the greed for others' money but with a contemporary setting, underscoring the undue risks involved in the electronic management of money, entangled in boundless probabilities and possibilities for hacking, by the criminal intelligence of the human brain.
    Here the curtain lies between the innocent public and a don of cyber crimes, paradoxically known as white devil and notoriously indulging in hacking others'accounts without qualms. Incidentally,'White Devil' is also the title of an English drama written by John Webster.Though it is uncomfortable to see the yesteryear action hero Arjun in a despicable negative role,it has to be firmly said here,that the action king has transformed into an awesome villain,full of controlled style and substance. 
    Vishal has significantly worked hard but his decibel in delivering dialogues at times crosses the limits of tolerance.Notwithstanding this,he has given us one of his best performances, by cutely interacting with the psychiatrist Samantha and by his chiding interaction with his father Delhi Ganesh who is irredeemably prone to a reckless borrowing routine.Besides Vishal and Arjun, Delhi Ganesh and Robo Shankar have made their performance invincible.Samantha is of course compact,in her responsible role play.
    The differentiating factor of the new film is its emphasis on the ongoing trends of the new generation and its ever growing access to the technology sweep.However,the new film under the expertise of the first time film maker P.S.Mithran,also tries to project the dangers of the same technology,that has helped mankind for a universal coming together on similar platforms, with an invisible curtain.The perils of the invisible curtain are worse than those of the iron curtain that existed between the blood sucking black devils and their vulnerable underdogs,during the years of suppression and ill treatment of the underprivileged workforce. 
    What we witnessed in Vasan's Irumbuthirai was similar to the dark world realities focussed by Charles Dickens, in most of his novels.In this respect Vasan could be called the torchbearer  of the brave new world,endowed with a guarantee for each one's right for freedom and dignity of labour.But what we see in Mithran's depiction of the curtain,is an inherent quest for abusing technology, towards causing a colossal damage to fellow human beings, by pulling both the rich and the middle class to the streets through a devious chain of cyber fraud, facilitated by snooping and hacking.It is really amazing that a debut director, demonstrates the strength of his job, with well  crafted nuances of film making,thereby giving an impression as if he has been in the field over the years.No doubt,he deserves a special applause for his freshness, zeal and strong credentials of film making.
    When it comes to music,as usual old is gold.Songs like"Enna Seidhaalum Endhan Thunai Neeye"{[Radha ]Jeyalakshmi}"Nenjil Kudiyirukkum"{TMS & P.Leela}and "Kaiyyila Vaanguna Paiyyila Podala'{Tiruchi Loganathan}from the old movie,are reverberating rhythms riveted to our memory, thanks to the wonderful composition of tunes by S.V. Venkatraman.The lyrics of Papanasam Sivan,Kothamangalam Subbu and Pattukottai Kalyana Sundaram contributed to the richness of the musical quotient of the film.Whereas,in the new movie,Yuvan Shankar Raja's songs beautifully settle down with in the four walls of the theatre, despite the fact that his background score has effectively served its purpose.
    The comedy element of both the films would deserve a distinct place on account of the flawless verbal felicity of K.A.Thangavelu in the former and the well timed verbal efficacy of Robo Shankar,in the latter.The way Robo Shankar mimicries Delhi Ganesh in his presence, is a great sample of his time sense, in cracking humour. Shankar has been provided ample scope to display his flair for generating laughter and he has made full use of it.The romantic element that was naturally experienced in the emotional intimacy between Sivaji Ganesan and Vaijayanthimala in Vasan's film and in the subtle, as well as aesthetic verbal intimacy of Vishal and Samantha in Mithran's piece,is a clear indicator of the changing creative imagination with regard to the concept of love and its presentation on screen. 
     The climax of both the versions of the Iron Curtain, could be said to be heart throbbing. While the former presented the workers'outburst as a natural fallout of their pent up emotions, the latter presents the public outburst against the white devil as a contrived one, preceded by cinematic challenges breezily thrown between the hero and the villain.All said and done,the first film showed the iron curtain as a direct, divisive wall between the vested interests and the helpless, forsaken working class.
   The new version on the other hand portrays an imaginative curtain, portending the tragedy awaiting humanity, as a result of an unseen enemy sitting somewhere on a solid cyber seat with layers and layers of schemes, that would escape anyone's notice and would ultimately become nothing like an onion.But the lurking dangers of this onion are so huge and detrimental to humanity,that before any one is alerted,the complete ruin is already done,at a terrible cost of one's portals of privacy of all sorts.To make matters worse,the climax of the film also implies that the risks are going to multiply,because the white devil carries his designs for his new avatar as dark angel.To conclude,both the iron curtains have done justice to their making, by sticking to the ground realities,that existed then and are found existing now.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Raadhika,the Actress Beyond the Heroine.



     Heroines are there in plenty to adorn the tinsel world.Some act.Some add to the glamour quotient of the films they form part of. Things were different during the last century especially  between Nineteen fifties and eighties,when there were great women who were more to acting than to being heroines of films.Those were days when the bills were filled by glamour segment separately,augmented by women artists, exclusively meant for exhibiting the glamour portion.Whereas, there were sterling women like P.Banumadhi,Anjalidevi, Padmini,Savitri,Devika,Sowcar Janaki,Vanisri,B.Sarojadevi, K.R.Vijaya,Jeyalalitha and Lakshmi who stuck to the ground realities and took the characters beyond their identities and were esteemed purely for the roles they played. 
    Here my memory will not forgive me, if I leave out actors known for subdued performance, such as Jeyanthi, Saritha,Sri Vidya, Sri Devi,Sujatha,Sumitra and the agressive Jeyachitra and Sripriya,among whom Sri Devi casually contributed her classic levels of performance in films like Moonram Pirai, Varumaiyin Niram Sigappu,Jaani and Naan Adimaiyillai with Kamalahasan and Rajinikanth, until she moved to Bollywood. The other actresses were busily occupying the Tamil big screen solidly,for nearly a decade or more and then turned to do mother roles.
      However,prior to the entry of these actresses there were two women who were doing more glamour rounds than heavy character roles.They were Manjula and Latha. Even here, Latha did her best in a couple of films like,Aayiram Jenmangal Urimai Kural and Azhage Unnai Aaraadhikkirein.
    From the early Nineteen Eighties, Director Bharathiraja began to introduce his R series heroines, of whom Raadhika, Radha and Revadhi topped the list.While Radha like her elder sister Ambika,did not leave out the glamour side from her schedule of acting, her role in Mudhal Mariyaadhai was commendable as that of Ambika in films like Engeyo Ketta Kural,Naan Paadum Paadal,Andha Ezhu Naatkal and Vaazhkai. 
   Radha's performance was equally radiating in films like Amman Koil Kizhakkaale and Mella Thirandhadhu Kadhavu. Some of Revadhi's best roles were in films like Man Vaasanai, Puthumai Penn,Mouna Raagam,Kizhakku Vaasal, Punnagai Mannan,Kai Kodukkum Kai, Anjali, Vaidhegi Kaathirundhaal, Priyanka, and Marubadiyum.
   But the first name from the school of Bharathi Raja has ruled the Tamil film Industry in the manner of her three outstanding predecessors Savithri,K.R.Vijaya and J.Jeyalalitha.Her peculiar way of  delivering Tamil dialogues was closer to the unusual Tamil accent put forth by Bhanumathi and Saroja devi,whose mother tongue was not Tamil.The alien charm in Radhika's dialogue delivery was a special attraction in her first film Kizhakke Pogum Rayil and the subsequent films like Niram Maaradha Pookal, Inru Poi Naalai Vaa,Poi Saatchi, Pokkiri Raja,Moonru Mugam and Thaavani Kanavugal. 
     Surprisingly, in a few years,this proud actor daughter of a colossal actor called M.R.Radha,began to grow by leaps and bounds in honing her histrionic skills in distinct dimensions with an inherent cry for attaining maturity in acting,with spontaneity, ease and ecstasy in the manner of  Chevalier Sivaji Ganesan and Savithri. Her earliest sample of impressive acting was visible in her transition from vigour to warmth and dignity, at one stroke,in the AVM's beautiful family drama and action movie Nallavanukku Nallavan. She  was a perfect foil for the superstar in that film.Her great grasp of the psychological intricacies of the role on hand,got dynamically reflected in her performance thereby taking the image of the character to the height it demanded.
     Raadhika's other remarkable entries were Naane Raja Naane Mandhiri,Dharma Dhevadhai, Oorkaavalan,Needhikku Thandanai,Poondhotta Kaavalkaaran, Ninaivu Chinnam and Rettai Vaal Kuruvi.The other fact is films like Needhikku Thandanai,Dharma Dhevadhai,Ninaivu Chinnam and Poondhotta Kaavalkaaran  fetched her the best actress award or the special award for best actress,from the government of Tamil Nadu.It is very difficult to forget the role of a virago she played, as the wife of Nasser in Shankar's Jeans. So crude and crooked were the dimensions of the character and so realistically she performed it,with utmost fire and felicity
     Raadhika continued to create indelible impressions through her underplay,as well as emotion-packed role performance, in films like  like Sippikul Muthu,Keladi Kanmani and Kizhakku Cheemaiyile.Then slowly she began to take up mother roles.The earliest hit in this line was Pasum Pon,another great show of Bharathi Raja.Then there were amazing mother roles in her kitty as shown in memorable films like Amarkalam,Uyirile Kalandhadhu,Rojaa Koottam,Thanga Magan of Danush, Naanum Rowdithaan, Dharmadhurai of Vijay Sethpadhi and Ippadai Vellum of Udhayanidhi Stalin.Among these Dharma Dhurai,reflected her peak of perfection, in role delivery.What has been special about Raadhika's maternal roles is her mature grasp of the deeper layers of motherhood, which she seems to infuse into her character, with absolute genuineness and flawless perception.
    To be a heroine is not a challenge,so long the role is of a decorative piece adding mere glamour segment of the film.But to be brought under scanner for a meaty participation and to form a vital part of  the film, to the extent of making the character one plays as an indispensable part of the film, is the real challenge for an actor.This is how most of the female actor participants of the last century made themselves greatly relevant and significant for the successful and memorable reach of the films with the audience.Here is another woman who could relate herself to the grand levels of aptitude and performance of those famous names referred to, at the start of this article.
      Beyond all this, the other notable point is Raadhika is the only woman of the Tamil film industry, who can doubtlessly be given the top slot position of an actor, beyond the position of the heroine because like Savithri, she could reasonably and effectively compete with Sivaji Ganesan,the ever greatest actor of Tamil Cinema.She has proved it time and again, that she could take up a feminist role in the manner of P.Bhanumathi and J.Jeyalalitha,the fascinating position of graceful and submissive womanhood in the line of Savithri,Devika,Vanisri and  K.R.Vijaya and proudly stand up to the dynamism of Sivaji Ganesan in films like Pasumpon and Veera Thaalaattu. 
      Besides her contemporaries Revathi and Radha,her successors like Meena, Kushbu,Simran and Jyothika have also substantially reached high levels in acting.But it is Raadhika who has surpassed the others,by her consistency in performance and captivating vigour in demonstration through a concerted identification of the actor with the character, in which the actor disappears, so as to make the character live long. Raadhika has been a wonderful stuff in this regard,both on the big and small screens.Some of her highly credited television serials are Chithi,Selvi,Arasi,Chellame and Vani Rani.To put it in a nutshell,as far as Raadhika is concerned,the heroine fades into the actor and the actor dissipates into the character, thereby making the actor move far ahead of the heroine.