Saturday, August 17, 2019

Tamil films of Malayalam Directors.





     It is a common factor among the film industries of South Indian languages to supplement one another through their mutual contribution and enrichment of creative fundamentals.This includes mutual shuffling of story lines,besides the symbiotic role play of film directors, cinematographers,music directors and actors.Of the South Indian languages the participation of Malayalam film industry in Tamil cinema stands first followed by Telugu and Kannada. During the nascent decades of Indian cinema,Telugu played a key role in augmenting and supporting Tamil cinema to a great extent with its rich resources such as studios,funding, technical know how,music and acting.It could be even said that Tamil cinema was almost patronized by the Telugu stalwarts.
   However in the succeeding decades Tamil film industry grew by leaps and bounds thanks to the prominence of great studio houses owned by biggies like S.S.Vasan{Gemini Studios}, A.V.Meyyappa Chettiyar{AVM Studios} and T.R.Sundaram{Modern Theatres' Studio}.Then came highly creative film makers like A.P.Nagarajan, K.Balachander, K.S.Gopalakrishnan, A.Bhimsingh,P.Madhavan,Krishnan Panju and several others.
    Now every South Indian language can be proud of its position in the world of cinema and people happily share their creative process without language prejudices.Tamil cinema in particular,has always welcomed persons of creative and acting potentials from its South Indian counterparts especially from the Malayalam film base.This blog already carries an article entitled "Malayalam Heroes in Tamil Cinema".The present article throws light on the substantial contribution of Malayalam film directors to Tamil cinema.
   The earliest contributors were K.S.Sedhumadhavan and I.V.Sasi.K.S.Sethumadhavan's foremost Tamil release{1968} was Pall Manam starring Jaishankar,K.R.Vijaya,Sivakumar and Sheela.It was during the same Year Malayalam film director A.Vincent came out with his Tamil version of the national award winning film Thulaabaaram.This was followed by Madhavan's other film Kalyana Oorvalam with K.R.Vijaya,Nagesh and others.But it was the mega hit MGR film Naalai Namadhe that powerfully introduced K.S.Sedhumadhavan to the Tamil audience. The film which was a remake of the Hindi blockbuster ''Yahdon ki Baaraat"carried all the captivating elements witnessed in the Hindi version with the additional charm of MGR playing double roles.The other two Tamil films of this ace Malayalam director were Sivakumar's Marupakkam and Kamalahasan's Nammavar.Both these films were received well though Nammavar was critically rated as a special film.
   I.V.Sasi the famous maker of the illustrious Malayalam film Yee Naadu,made three popular films with Rajinikanth and Kamalahasan.While Allavuddenum Arpudha Vilakkum had both the heroes enjoying equal screen space,the other two films Kali and Guru had Rajinikanth and Kamalahasan playing the hero,respectively.Guru was a remake of the Dharmendra starring Hindi hit Jugnu and it retained all the action ingredients of the original.The other Tamil film of IV Sasi "Pakalil oer Iravu"was a breezy tale portraying Vijayakumar,Ravikumar and Sridevi in in a love triangle.This film will be eternally remembered for the beautiful SPB song Ilamaiyenum Poongaatru composed by the musical prophet Ilayaraja.Though I.V.Sasi is no more today,his great films will perpetually recall his precious contribution to the world of cinema.
   Tamil audience owe a lot to the Malayalam film maker Bharadhan who unfortunately died in his early fifties and whose solo Tamil venture Thevar Magan will remain ever,as a proud possession in the archives of Tamil cinema,on account of the fantastic action show of Chevalier Sivaji Ganesan and the world class actor Kamalahasan as emotionally endearing father and son,dynamically supported by other veterans like Nasser,Revathi and Gowthami.Both Bharathan and Kamal took the film to its peerless heights with  gripping narration and role play,besides bringing back to the big screen the two forgotten actors Kallapart Natarajan and Kaakaa Radhakrishnan.This film in fact,gave a new lease to the unique acting credentials of the latter.
    The most popular Malayalam action movie makers Joshy and Shaji Kailas have also given us wonderful action films in Tamil. Joshy's Airport was one of the best films of Sathyaraj,showing him as a pilot in most beautiful dimensions.It was clearly a fast moving film,with actions taking off from the ground realities and flying high with emotions of love,sibling affection,family bonding and political master plans,taking the hero into unprecedented troubles and reaching a well carved climax.Soman,Naaser,Jaishankar,Sumitra and Gowtami all did their best to make it a worthy film of action,from a worthy director,well known for his stupendous credentials of speed and coherence in neat narration,of well set action events. Shaji Kailas,the other vastly popular director of action films in Malayalam, has given us greatly watchable films like Vaanchinathan starring Vijayakanth as a brilliant cop in amazing style,the Ajith starring action bonanza Janaa and Ellaam Avan Seyal which was a remake of his own popular Malayalam action thriller 'The Chinthamani Kola case'.The latest additions of this action film maker to Tamil cinema were,Envazhi Thani Vazhi and Vagai Express.
   Rafi Macartin's  single Tamil entry Thenkasi Pattanam was a great entertainer cum action film,on account of the unique comedy show of Vivek and Charlie and the action bonanza of Sharatkumar and Napoleon.The original Malayalam version also had the same title.Similarly the only film  Piriyadha Varam Vendum of Prashanth and Shalini directed by Kamal,was an exuberant romance with its inbuilt aesthetic ingredients.The Malayalam film industry has identified Kamal,as the true representative of classic creative credentials and unruffled narration.
  Like Kamal,A.K.Lohithadas who made his own Malayalam film Kasthuriman in Tamil, with the same title,has not so far come out with any other Tamil films. Lohithadas is yet another Malayalam film maker of merit and acclaim.His single Tamil film Kasthuriman starring Prasanna and Meera Jasmine,revolves around the trauma and tribulations experienced by the woman protagonist,living in a condition of personal and sexual insecurity,posed by her precarious and poor family environment.The film was beautifully made with an admirable support in acting, naturally rendered by Prasanna and Meera Jasmine. Though the film might not be a commercial hit,it brought out the elegance and fineness of Lohithadas as a remarkable film maker.Besides being a director Lohitadhas was a screen writer for his films and for quite a number of films of Sibi Malayil and Sathyan Anthikkad.It is a sad fact that such a film maker of very high creative spark,died at the age of 54,without spreading his wings further.
    Siddique whose Malayalam hits Friends,Chronic Bachelor and Body Guard were made into Tamil, as Friends,Enga Anna and Kavalan, has been one of the most entertaining film makers with a singular flair for generating spot humour as a spontaneous course of scenic event and inclusion of compact sentiment and action segment. This grand master of action,family drama and comedy in Malayalam cinema,did not fail to inspire the Tamil audience by his own remakes of his Malayalam victory shows.The other two Tamil films of Siddique are Arangetravelai {'Ramji Rao Speaking'in Malayalam} and Baskar Oru Rascal {Baskar the Rascal in Malayalam}.The magic wand of Siddique would create a wide range of comic situations,taking the audience to the zenith of laughter.
    Priyadharshan who gave several Malayalam hits with Mohanlal as hero,has directed about eight Tamil films like Chinna Manikuyile,Gopura Vaasalile{both Karthik Muthuraman films} Snehidhiye,{ a women centric film}Kaancheevaram,{starring Prkash Raj}Poisolla Porom[with Sivaji Ganesan}Lesa Lesa { based on the Malayalam film Summer in Bethlehem}Nimir {starring Udhayanidhi Stalin} and"Sometimes"{shortlisted for golden globe awards}.Most of the films of Priyadharshan are known for their natural humour,breezy romance and clean narration.Of the films cited Gopuravasalile was very popular with the Tamil audience,for its comedy segment and melodious songs tuned by Ilayaraja.Especially the song Thaalaattum Poongaatru Naanallavaa,from the mesmerizing voice of S.Janaki and the reverberating group song''Oru devadhaipoloru penninru vandhadhu ingu"can never leave the memory of  music lovers of Tamil Cinema. 
   Fazil an outstanding film maker of Malayalam films,has lent his Midas' touch to Tamil cinema on a frequent basis,giving us most memorable films like Poove Poochoodavaa,Poovizhi Vaasalile,En Bommukutti Ammavukku,Varusham Padhinaaru,Kaadhalukku Mariyaadhai and Kannukkul Nilavu. Enchanting music,endearing family emotions,delicate touches of romance and feather touch comedies,have been the special traits of a Fazil film.Even his moderate shows like Karpoora Mullai,Kilipechu Ketkavaa and Oru Naal Oru Kanavu never touched the borders of boredom.Most of Fazil's Tamil films were remakes of his Malayalam originals.His contribution to Tamil cinema has been both prolific and productive,in terms of quality and commercial viability.
   Pratap K.Pothen who is first known as an actor of specially identifiable acting credentials, displayed with the extraordinary charm of his egg like eyes and enchanting role delivery in films like Moodu Pani,Azhiyaadha Kolangal,Varumaiyin Niram Sigappu,Meendum Oru Kadhal Kadhai,Kudumbam Oru Kadhambam,Nenjathai Killaadhe and several other Tamil films,has also cast his indelible impressions as a highly creative director of many popular Tamil films.Besides directing the felicitous romance Meendum Oru Kadhal Kadhai in which he and Raadhika played the lead roles,he has also come out with outstanding hits like Vetri Vizha,Jeeva,My Dear Maarthaandan,Seevalaperi Pandi,Makudam,Lucky Man and Atma.He has dealt with great heroes like Kamalahasan,Prabhu,Sathyaraj,Karthik and Napoleon.Tamil film industry owes him a lot for his great action films like Vetri Vizha and Jeeva and the comedy uproar he created in My Dear Maarthaandan and Lucky Man.His Seevalaperi Paandi is a uniquely melodramatic celebration of raw emotions and rugged villainy. Pothen is still an important name in Tamil Cinema by doing paternal and supportive roles.
   During the post independent era,there were quite a few Telugu film makers who devoutly enhanced the reach of Tamil films by their dedicated contribution.Telugu film directors like T.Prakash Rao,{Paadhaala Bhairavi,Amara Dheepam,Uthama Puthiran and Padahotti} L.V.Prasad {Manohara,Mangaiyar Thilakam,Missiamma,Iruvar Ullam and Thaayillaa Pillai} D.Yoganand {Kaveri,Madurai Veeran, Parisu,Thangaikkaaga,Thaai.Justice Gopinath, and a few other Sivaji Ganesan films} Singeetham Srinivasa Rao {Dhikkatra Paarvadhi,Raaja Paarvai,Abhoorva Sagodhararkal,Michael Madhana Kaamaraajan,Kaadhalaa Kaadhalaa, Little John and Mumbai Express} Vedhaantam Raagavaiah{ Devadas,Prema Paasam,and Adutha Veetu Penn} significantly lifted the face of Tamil cinema,during the years that followed the dawn of Independent India and its post independence decades .Kannada movie stalwart B.R.Panthulu is a home name for the Tamil audience,on account of his Padmini Pictures'films like Sabash Meena,Thangamalai Ragasiyam,Veerapandia Kattabomman, Karnan,Kappalottiya Thamizhan,Aayirathil Oruvan and so on.
    However,comparatively,during the past two or three decades Malayalam cinema has sufficiently made Tamil big screen precious and proud,by its film makers of distinct genres of narration.We are not yet sure how much of patronage and support is available for Tamil film makers,from other South Indian languages.Even in terms of acting,the chances given to Tamil actors to play hero roles in other languages,might not be that much encouraging when compared to the opportunities given by Tamil film industry to Malayalam,Telugu and Kannada actors. Mutuality is always a deserving concept for triggering the ever needed impetus to the uniform growth of every film industry,through inter lingual participation and cooperation. 

Thursday, August 1, 2019

A Gory Villain Turns a Great Character Actor


    It is quite a common phenomenon in the cinema industry to shuffle roles of actors depending upon their popularity and performance potential.This is how yesterday's villains turn heroes and vice versa.This is how Rajinikanth, Sathyaraj, and Sarathkumar became dominant heroes after doing commendable villain roles.Vijayakumar who came as hero was later identified as an actor capable of donning villain and character roles effectively.In fact,M.N.Nambiyar,the most historic villain of Tamil cinema was also simultaneously taking up memorable character roles in films like Dhigambara Saamiyaar,Mandhiri kumari,Bhoologa Rambai,Makkalai Petra Magaraasi,Bhaga Pirivinai and Ninaithathai Mudippavan {as an honest cop}and several other films during his hey days of screen villainy.Ashokan also tried his hand as hero in a couple of films{especially Vallavanukku Vallavan and Idhu Sathiyam}and then began to shuttle between villain and character roles.In this regard the new millennium came upon a brutish villainous actor called Pasupathy who was identified with crudest form of villainy in films like Dhool, Sullaan, Mudhurey,Arul, Thiruppaachi and Virumaandi.
   Pasupathy Maasilaamani was first booked for the Kamal film Marudha nayagam which has not yet seen its release.Hailing from Chennai Koothuppattarai and being close to Nasser,though Pasupathy's dream of working with Kamalahasan in Marudhanayagam did not become a reality, he later on shared screen space with the outstanding hero, in films like Aalavandhaan and Virumandi.After acting in Housefull and Aalavandhaan, Pasupathy acted with Nasser in his Mayan.From villainy to comedy roles and character performance became an easy transition for Pasupathy.Initially Pasupathy appeared as a murderous villain,bearing names such as Aadhi{Dhool},Gajapadhi{Arul} Soori{Sullaan}KTR {Madhurey}Pattasu Balu {Thiruppachy} as Kothalathevar {Virumaandi} and as Nellai Mani { the film was titled E and Pasupathy got the best actor award from the government of Tamil Nadu}.It was quite interesting to see him  turn the table topsy turvy and perform wonderful comic roles in films like Majaa,Mumbai Express and Vedi Gundu Murugesan.His role in Idharku Thaan Aasai Pattaayaa Balakumara also needs a special mention.
    But more than the comedy characters it was the pathetic role that he played in the national award winning film Veyil that drew everybody's attention to this actor's poignant absorption of roles, requiring succinct voice modulation and sharp facial reflection of mood fluctuations. Pasupathy's character in Veyil spontaneously evoked audience sympathy on account of its tragic undertones and the way he naturally brought out the agony and anguish of paternal isolation despite the fraternal warmth he could enjoy with his younger brother{performed equally well by Bharath}.It was a character left alone and crying for love and family bonding and Pasupathy breathed the heart and soul of the character to make it a memorable film,purely on account of his unique performance.
   Then Pasupathy gave a convincing portrayal of a visually challenged person working as an RJ and sharing a lot of positive energy with the radio audience passing on hope to everybody despite his own personal predicament.This character {Nedumaran} he performed in Cheran's Raman Thedia Seethai,was a deliberate addition to deliver a clear message to the hero{Cheran himself} that life was worth living,despite so many setbacks that crowd one's life.That the hero came to surpass his inferiority complex caused by his speech impediment,on listening to the vibrating words of Pasupathy,was the crux of the thematic content of the film.It was a powerful role for Pasupathy and he performed it very powerfully.
    The next excellent character delineation of Pasupathy was for the Rajini starring Kuselan in which as a barber and one time schoolmate and chum of the superstar, Pasupathy naturally exhibited his inhibitions,hiding his love for his long time friend.It was this inhibition that prevented him from moving physically closer to his celebrity friend,in spite of opportune moments coming on the way.What makes Pasupathy a special actor of fascinating ability is his underplay of characters to make them all refreshingly breezy and endearing.The fact here is that he could perform such roles after a period of foul mouthed shouting as an uncouth villain of top most thuggery.
    His most recent,profoundly inspiring depiction of a character of indescribable fraternal bonding towards his younger sister in the film Karuppan made him cross another milestone in his involved performance of roles.As Maayi he showed enormous love and affection for his younger sister Anbuselvi{gracefully performed by Tanya}and would show controlled anger if any wrong information reached him about his brother in law{Vijay Sethupathi}not keeping his sister comfortable and happy.
  It was a rustic role stuffed with anger and love in uniform proportions and Pasupathy amazingly maintained the balance of mood,prioritized by the base of his character formation. With the wolfish younger brother of Pasupathy's wife{worthily performed by Bobby Simha} scheming the negative course of events,to build an animus between Pasupathy and Vijay Sethupathi,how differently Pasupathi handled each situation with his inimitable mood fluctuation was really beautiful to watch. Pasupathy's reactions would be on a pattern of instant anger ending up with delayed access to right thinking.'Karuppan' in fact,wonderfully presented a series of events involving a kind of vicious circle of suspicion and trust,created by the malicious manipulations of Bobby Simha,with his hidden agenda of marrying Tanya,whom he madly loved and whose marriage he wanted to break,so that he could marry her after the break up.
  Unlike other villain actors who became heroes and character actors,Pasupathy's transition from villainy to supporting roles was made up of firmness and grit in role play,neatly displayed with depth,poise and dignity. As a villain he roared like a hard core,detestable ruffian.But as an actor doing comic and character roles,he began to travel on a terrain of softness blended with a tinge of longing and suppressed sentiments,towards creating a niche for himself as a performance oriented actor.His opportunities were less.But within the given scope for talent exposition, he has been found never wanting to reach the peak of excellence in performance.He deserves more recognition by way of more opportunities and the fact that the Malayalam film industry has also sufficiently inducted him for performing challenging roles,is a fair revelation of this one time gory villain rising up to the distinct level of a great character actor.