Wednesday, September 25, 2019

A Film that deserves a worthier review

     Film reviews are easier to make than making a film.One cannot imagine the enormous difficulties and hurdles faced by a production unit in making a big budget film that is given poor reviews to the extent of spoiling the audience support at the theaters and thereby reducing its profit levels. K.V.Anand is one of the most earnest film makers with well set plans and objectives to reach his creative goals.From his Kana Kandein,one could very well understand his socio political concerns and his criticism of self aggrandizement practised by a section of humanity against its fellow human beings. Anand's cry of anguish has always been against the ruthless selfishness of some people in the higher strata of society exploiting the weaker sections and killing their aims and aspirations to come up in life.To start with,it was the character of Prithviraj in Kana Kandein,who donned the role of a merciless money lender like Shylock of Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice, claiming others'pound of flesh for his self expansion programmes. 
   Anand relentlessly continued this theme in films like Ayyan,Ko,Maatraan and now in Kaappaan. The  underlying vital factor of most of his celluloid narrations has relied on the supremacy of big business houses,scheming to destroy the smaller ones like crocodiles swallowing most other oceanic living beings.In spinning his tales,he has gone a step further to focus on the abuse of science by a group of industrialists and scientists,bent upon destroying nature and human beings for their survival.In Maatraan,Anand even went to the extent of exposing the paternal brutality of a scientist, who valued chromosomes as superior realities meant for his ugly expansion of research for profiteering at the cost of his own sons,whom he treated as mere offshoots of his scientific invention.Though Anegan was a love story,that too reflected the barbarous self interest of a wealthy devil[wonderfully performed by Karthik Muthuraman} as antagonist.
  Setting aside for a while,Anand's themes and story lines,he could be proud of his distinct narrative style that has carried a unique pattern of elegance,from Kana Kandein to Kaappaan.I too agree that there is nothing new in the story base of Kaappaan.In fact,these days most films of popular heroes including those of the Superstar, rely only on winning the goodwill of the audience,through mega revolutionary ideas such as revamping the educational scenario to make it accessible to the poor,drawing the attention to the ills prevailing in medical education, throwing light on the plight of farmers at times leading to suicide levels,exposing the all known corruption demon,controlling every system of society,from top to bottom and so on.Today's cinema is generally about stories of exploitation and exploitation has been the theme ever since the days of MGR.Does not cinema too exploit the people by stealthily opening the door for politics to topnotch actors,by playing with the emotions of the people.Fortunately Anand's films do not provide a base for political ambitions and his narration has categorically proved to be far beyond this line.
   Coming to Kappaan,as a brief side show of this article,it is a film where every unit seems to have dedicated its body and mind towards clinching a product that would prove to be a block buster.It is too early to say if the film is a blockbuster or not.But certainly it is not a failure. Suriya has worked terribly hard,to put in his massive efforts in every scene,from Thanjavur to London via New Delhi. He is really smart in every frame and has exerted excellently in stunt scenes. Mohanlal has maintained the composure and dignity of the PM's role assigned to him and one need not teach a veteran and an ever commendable actor like Mohanlal how to perform any role. Samuthrakani has smartly essayed his role and Arya is his natural and casual self.It looked as though the interval came so soon,because the first half went off at a break neck speed.There were a few duller moments in the second half but speed picked up soon ending up with a very impressive climax show.Though Harris Jeyaraj did not make all his songs reverberate "Sirikki Seenikatti"was a heart throbbing number.The film could have got rid of the Pub song[shown to be in London}.Harris Jeyaraj deserves a special pat for his contextually befitting background scores.
   Each genre of film is narrated by film makers in their own unique style.Some film makers do the job keeping the priorities of mass heroes as their own and take the narration at every stage to further the image of the hero.Though Anand and Suriya have been team mates for three times,the director's intention does not seem to promote the image of his hero.Nor has Suriya  ever claimed to be a crowd puller.He is a worthy actor with worthy stuff.From Nerukku Ner to Kaappaan he has grown as an actor in different dimensions and in Kappaan he has striven to the core,to retain his involvement and love for acting.In these aspects,I am sure the film has saved the image of both K.V.Anand and Suriya.In my view Kaappaan deserves worthier reviews.

Monday, September 16, 2019

From Music to Grease


    It is not new for singers and music directors to do acting.Tamil Cinema is well known for its singer cum actors like M.S.Subbulakshmi,T.M.Soundarajan,Sirkazhi Govindarajan,Bala Muralikrishna,S.P.Balasubramaniyan and Mano who have played either leading or supporting roles on the big screen.Whereas M.K. Thiagaraja Badhavadhar,P.U Chinnappa,T.R.Maha lingam,S.Varalakshmi,and J.B.Chandrababu were actor cum singers.
   Among music composers it was M.S.Viswanathan who did some memorable characters  in movies like Kadhal Mannan and Kaadhala Kaadhalaa.These roles did not fail to evoke spontaneous laughter among the audience on account of the humour content.If we take the younger generation music directors, it is G.V.Prakash Kumar and Vijay Antony who have been making serious and responsible attempts to do acting on a larger scale,as heroes of films of which some of them have attracted audience base and gone for creditable reviews.
  Of the two,G.V. Prakshkumar resembles a boy next door,bearing little of the hero material on his face.But the fact that he is the nephew of Oscar winning A.R.Reheman,is an indicator of the stream of music running through his veins as a genetic phenomenon.G.V.P has composed music for quite a number of popular films like Vijay's Thalaiva&Theri,Ajith's Kreedom{Akkam Pakkam Yaarumillaa Boologam Vendum is a scintillating melody},Danush's Pollaadhavan {three songs}&Aadukalam{known for the most popular lungi dance song ''oru ponnu pinnaala''},Vikram's Dheiva Thirumagal&Thandavam,Karthik Sivakumar's Aayirathil Oruvan,Saguni & Komban{Who can forget the energizing numbers Kambikarai Vetti and Karuppu Nirathazhaki}and a few other hits like Angadi Theru,Veyil,{Veyilodu Uravaadi is a soothing song}Seval,and Rajini's Kuselan.I am sure my list is not complete. 
   As an actor,Prakash is small but with full of strength.His debut film Darling,a critically reviewed thriller showed him as a hero of considerable merit.His other two highly cherished films are the children thriller Pencil and Bala's beautiful film Nachiyaar,with Jyothika playing the leading lady and a powerful woman cop.G.V.P's other moderate entries like Trishaa Illaatti Nayanthaaraa,Kadavul Irukkaan Kumaaru,Enakku Innoru Per Irukku,Sarvam Thala Mayam carry immense title value and will be remembered for the very same titles reminding the audience that they are GVP films.His other four notable films are Bruce lee,Watchman, Kuppathu Raja and Semma. Prakashkumar has to go a long way from the music station to the thespian destination.
   The other outstanding representative of music and drama is Vijay Antony.Unlike G.V.Prakash Kumar,Vijay Antony is not a prolific music composer for Tamil films.Besides composing music for films starring himself as hero,his great musical shows were for Vijay's Vettaikkaran{all songs of the film were hits;Puli Urmumudhu and Oru Chinna Thhamarai were invigorating and enchanting numbers respectively} &Velayudham{Molachu Moonu Elayavidala was a melodious song in the voice of Vijay Antony himself},Uthamaputhiran of Danush and a few other well known films like Vedi, Rasikkum Seemaane,Naan Avanillai, Sattapadi Kutram,Iruvar Mattum and so on. Interestingly,he has composed music for the Telugu version of the Tamil film Angadi Theru for which G.V.P made the tunes.
    Vijay Antony,the actor, has certainly been more promising than GVP on account of the most watchable traits of his films like freshness in handling of themes and the thrust of negative ingredients unfailingly accompanied by a tickling touch of spontaneous humour as we frequently witnessed in his films like India Pakistan,Pichaikaaran and Thimiru Pidichavan. One could witness a variety of themes such as accidental impersonation{Naan},excessive modesty and softness {Salim}conflicting interests in man woman relationship{India Pakistan}, exemplary filial devotion,{Pichaikaran} super naturalism blended with psychic complexities {Most of his films especially Salim and Saithaan}Machiavellian political machinations,   {Yaman} a dedicated march towards correcting social evils{Thimiru Pidichavan}and the inherent complexities of murder mysteries{Kolaigaran}
   The one vital factor that permeates through the narration of most of Vijay Anotony's films,is an underlying psychological predicament like insomnia,obsession with the past,mental anguish over aberrations and an inexplicable sense of agony of the psyche. Vijay Antony's morose looks,morbid facial mode,exclusive smiles,calm demeanour,sudden uproars,are the factors that aptly appropriate the psychological journey ending up in cathartic destinations,and fine tune the final product,with an adequate mixing of action,sentiment and sly comedy.The horror element shows its head,only when it is basically required.When one goes for an ultimate assessment of a Vijay Antony film,one can be sure of the hidden psyche coming to the forefront to deliver a rare stuff of audio visual melodrama.
   To me most of his films look like sweet cakes fresh from the oven,with different flavours,but never losing the trade mark of a set pattern of the psychic interior governing the whole exterior.I would rate his India Pakistan as one of his finest and breeziest films not disturbing the mind of the audience,with any undue negative thrust.All his other films hit the mind and caused a psychological hurt somewhere in their narration.His Pichaikaaran was a special tale commendably told through the inner layers of anguish,satire and surrender to destiny .The other interesting fact is that,barring his Salim and Annadurai,all his other films Naan,India Pakistan, Yaman, Saithan, Pichaikaran, Thimiru Pidichavan,Kolaigaran carry letter N as the concluding part of the film titles besides denoting a negative stench in their wield.
     During these days,when even popular and seasoned heroes find it difficult to sustain their grease and crease in performance,Vijay Antony is someone who has the grit to travel far beyond his musical zone,to invent and reinvent himself as an actor.He has shown more than once,that he is capable of depicting the multi negative shades of the human mind,with a predominant blending of positive values.This approach is in fact an indirect revelation of life, ever being  an equitable mix up of the good and bad.Between the two music directors mentioned here,one could categorically say that while G.V.Prakash has sustained his musical zest with an endearing quest,Vijay Antony has exhibited more emphatically than his counterpart that,both music and grease can synthesize a louder perception of the creative formula.It is this combined creative formula of music and grease,that can deliver at its best,the thematic content, story value,succinct and substantial narration of scenic events and a befitting role play,justifying the significance of characters. Vijay Antony seems to be a docile spark developing into dynamic flames of cinematic shows.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

The Less Fortunate Tamil Heroes


    "Fortune favours fools"is an unfortunate maxim.All those who are fortunate cannot be called accidental beneficiaries of the fall of fortune.Many attain fame and name through effort,skill and dedication to routine.However contrary to this fact there are also victims of fortune's foul game. Could any Tamilian have ever thought that a topnotch hero like Sivaji Ganesan would pass away without any national recognition like a Bharat Ratna award,leave alone the blow that the people gave him at the hustings.Even the most fortunate Sivaji Ganesan could be called a less fortunate hero in terms of national recognition for what he deserved.
   Now coming to Tamil Cinema, it is true that many renowned heroes are fortunate enough in establishing a long standing position for themselves, by their looks and laudable career credentials. But it is equally true that not all those who have looks and laudable skills could succeed in this process.I would not dare to call them unfortunate heroes.Whereas they are certainly the less fortunate heroes,because despite their latent potentials they were pushed by unprecedented failures to a state of oblivion.I am sure with the way they started and carried on the show,no one would have ever thought that they would remain in a plight that they are now.
      Take for instance an ebullient hero like Prashanth who from the days of his debut film Vaikaasi Porandhaachu continued to create waves by being in the list of prestigious film makers like Mani Ratnam and Shankar and gave us memorable films like Anazhakan, Thirudaa Thirudaa,Jeans, Kannedhire Thonrinaal,Piriyaadha Varam Vendum,Winner and London.His other films like Star,Jodi,Poomakal Oorvalam and Thamizh were also fairly wachable films.But lack of variety in characterization and a couple of failures in his releases have now made him a hero not in the wish list of producers and directors. Notwithstanding the fact that he happens to hold a comfortable position as the son of yesteryear actor Thiagarajan, Prashanth failed to sustain his position as a top level hero.He is for sure a less fortunate hero than his contemporaries like Vijay,Ajit and Suriya.     
    Why should a near perfect actor like Arun Vijay fail to find a firm footing in spite of his beautiful performance in films like Thulli Thirindha Kaalam,Iyarkai,Malai Malai,Ennai Arindhaal,Kutram 23,Chekka Chivandha Vaanam and the latest film Thadam which has received positive reviews.While Prsahant's dialogue delivery is mostly confined to a breezy mode lacking in gusto for an action hero,Arun Vijay has rightly imbibed the voice vibration of his thespian father Vijayakumar. Incidentally even Vijayakumar with his handsome looks and commendable acting skills, failed to establish his position as single hero and slowly passed on to become a fiery villain and an extraordinarily dynamic character actor.I still could not understand why an actor like Arun Vijay with absolute hero stuff could not find a solid base to build his future.He is another less fortunate hero in the line of Prashanth.
   Simbu the son of a versatile film celebrity like T.Rajendar,stole the hearts of film viewers as a child artist and later began to make impressive shows in films like Manmadhan,Vallavan, Saravana, Kovil and a couple of other films.Then Gautam Menon took him to new heights by his meritorious performance in Vinnai Thaandi Varuvaayaa. But  the director could not continue his magic with Simbu in the other film Acham Enbadhu Madamaiyadaa. Simbu's films failed one after the other like those of several other less fortunate heroes.Now Mani Ratnam's Chekka  Chivandha Vaanam has lent a reinforced credibility to his role performance. Simbu's bold and clear dialogue delivery has always been his distinct asset.However,he has not reached the place in Tamil Cinema that he should have achieved. 
     A more disappointing fall it was for Srikanth who was expected to travel on the track of a mass hero after his successful shows in April Madhathil,Roja Koottam,Kana Kandein,Varna Jaalam, Kutra Pathirikkai and Paarthiban Kanavu.His romantic appeal coupled with his dancing skills saw him climbing the ladder to stardom in the line of Ajit and Vijay. Even in stunts and action segments, his participation was greatly convincing.When films like Bambara kannaale and Bose failed at the box office,his decline started.Depressingly his much desired role play in Shankar's Nanban also did not revive his lost hold.It is still a riddle how Srikanth's high scale hero material,lulls him in a less fortunate cradle.
     Bharat who got noticed in Shankar's Boys,got into the hero's garb in form and style after playing a negative role in Chellame. While his Kaadhal was an award winner,his Nepali was critically reviewed.His films like Chennai Kaadhal,Thambikku Indha Ooru,E[mta]n Magan, Pazhani,Veyil,Pattiyal and Kandein Kaadhalai, were all watchable and enjoyable.Bharat is an excellent dancer and has a categorical tone delivery to meet the requirements of challenging roles.What drawback has so far held him from moving to the front,still remains queer.He is a clear case of the less fortunate hero.
     Prasanna is the other hero who has been languishing for a lime light.His initial films like Five Star,Azgagiya Theeye, Kasturiman and Saadhu Miranda,were full of promise for the dawn of a refreshingly soft hero material.He also made a mark as supporting actor in films like Thupparivalan and Thiruttu Payale 2.He has been a frequent addition in the films of Mysskin. Prasanna's preference for natural acting could be seen as the stumbling block against his progress.Tamil Cinema significantly relies on the bloating image of the hero through a confirmed, zooming process of one's hero image, much more beyond its natural frame.Even Malayalam cinema reputed for its realistic exhibition of human emotions, began to bank upon a high flown hero image ever since the image of Mammootty and Mohanlal started growing into astronomical proportions.Perhaps,the less fortunate Prasanna should look for image boosting dynamics, towards magnifying and stabilizing his position as hero.
    Shaam is another soft and natural actor in the line of Prasanna.His roles in 12 B,Iyarkai,Yei Nee Romba Azhaka Irukke,Anbe Anbe,Lesa Lesa,Ullam Ketkume,Thoondil and Thilla Langadi as main and second hero have left the robust image of an exquisite romantic hero which  seems to have not effectively capitalized on the big screen.
   These seven heroes have not missed the bus.Their journey is stranded for reasons known more to them for introspection, than for others' assessment. Gowtham Menon tried to utilize the talent of Arun Vijay and Simbu differently and it worked out.But Mysskin did not succeed the same magic with Prasanna in Anjaadhe.This blog would reaffirm its faith in human talents and on the base of this faith,it could be said categorically,that the less fortunate heroes are as much  talented as any other prominent mass hero of the day.