Sunday, March 22, 2020

An Actor with a clarion voice



      Not all Tamil film personalities have sternly fixed their voices,through their clear and vigorous dialogue delivery.Not all such voices have been film makers too. Sivaji Ganesan in particular, is always cherished in memory, not only for all his majestic and stylish ingredients in acting,but also for asserting  his stentorian voice impact,with the audience. V.K.Ramasamy and Major Sundarajan were the other actors,extolled for their voice grandeur.But these men were more into acting than writing scripts and dialogues.It was Visu who had stoutly claimed his position as the grand master of cheeky sense of humour,clarity of script and dialogues,with force and vigour in acting.
     Visu's initial days were confined to writing the script for the films of his mentor, K.Balachander.Two of the great films in this regard were,Thillumullu and Netrikan,both Rajinikant films.It was S.P.Muthuraman who first directed him as the central character for his film Kudumbam Oru Kadhambam,in the role of Srinivasa Ragavan.Incidentally this was also Visu's story, successfully enacted as a stage play.Visu's tongue twisting question raised in this film,about a mental hospital,a mad man and a psychiatrist threw his fellow actor Omakuchi  Narasimhan into the height and depth of perplexity,besides leaving its indelible mark of hilarity,to become the talk of the town.
  Some of the other notable films for which he wrote the story were,Avan Aval Adhu,Simla Special, Keezh Vaanam Sivakkum, Nallavanukku Nallavan and Mr.Bharath.Of these the last two were released from the AVM banner and Keezh Vaanam Sivakkum was one of the grand movies of Sivaji Ganesan celebrated in audience memory,for its precision,poise and perfection in narration.
   Kanmani Poonga was the first film for which Visu took up the multiple responsibility of writing the script and direction,in addition to playing a vital role.This was followed by Manal Kayiru,enrolling S.V.Sekar as the hero and this film was greatly received and admired. In Manal Kayiru,Visu as Uthiramerur Naradhar Naidu, kept the audience happily engaged for a laughter show.
   Following this,Visu became the vibrant spirit of family dramas,making around twenty five films on the whole.Some of his special films were,Dowri Kalyaanam,Varavu Nalla Uravu, Chidhambara Ragasiyam,Samsaaram Adhu Minsaram, Thirumathi Oru Vegumadhi,Kavalan Avan Kovalan,and Penamani  Aval Kanmani.
   The last two films found in the list  above, were State and National award winners respectively,on the basis of their projecting precious story lines and social values.The final innings of Visu as film maker, were for his fairly popular Pattukottai Periyappa,Meendum Savithri and Sigamani 
  The interesting phenomenon of Visu's films,was the unique composition of his titles,in three or two words with similarity in phrase formation.The other prominent feature of Visu's films was the notable inclusion of stage artists like Kamala Kamesh and the frequent addition of veteran actors like Manorama, Vadivukkarasi and Delhi Ganesh.Actors like S.V.Sekar,Prathap Pothan, Dileep,Chandrasekar,Ilavarasi,Madhuri and Seetha joined Visu's team quite often. 
  Visu's choice of actors for playing roles as per the character evolution and depth of emotion was yet another unique trait of his process of film making.One such effective choice was that of M.N.Rajam a long standing actor of extraordinary mettle,to play the most cruel mother in law in Penmani Aval Kanmani.
     Samsaaram Adhu Minsaaram,the most commendable of all his films,produced under the AVM banner,won the National award for its rich entertainment ingredients.As Ammaiyappa Mudaliyaar and as family head,Visu was seen as the crux and outstanding character of the film,with a highly qualitative  and talented team of actors, consisting of Raguvaran,Lakshmi, Ilavarasi, Kamala Kamesh,Vaagai Chandrasekar,Madhuri, Manorama Kishmu,Dilip and Kaja Mohamed.
    Each character carried a distinctly memorable identity formed of a strong base, making the family contexts very much real and relevant to life.No one can forget the previously stage managed scene,presenting a very lively conversation between servant Manorama and Kishmu{Albert Fernandez},as the father-in-law of Ilavarasi,over a proposed divorce issue.The film on the whole, was one of the excellent shows of Visu on the big screen.
    It was a perfect display of an intricate joint family,composed of a calculative and frugal,eldest son,{Raguvaran},his passively pragmatic wife{Laksmi},talkative father {Visu},submissive mother{Kamala Kamesh},two younger brothers,one with a volatile frame of mind{Chandrasekar}and the other with the vagaries of teenage {Kaja Mohamed} and a whimsical younger sister {Ilavarasi}.
   The entire film beautifully reflected the various positive and negative undercurrents of a joint family,in perfect form.With Visu's carefully written and remarkably delivered dialogues, the film became a major hit for the director, besides adding another feather to the victory march of the AVM production house. There is a saying in Tamil that a bit of boiled rice is an effective indicator of the quality of the pot full of rice.Similarly, this one movie powerfully pinpoints the multi dimensional creative merits of Visu.
   Apart from being a distinguished film maker,Visu as an actor is a class by himself,in emphatic dialogue delivery, with clarity and force.By every measure of his acting style,one could see the categorical impact of the stage on the screen, as in the case of his great mentor-cum-director Balachander and actors like, T.K.Bagavadhi,S.V.Sahasranamam V.S.Raghavan,Major Sundarajan,R.S.Manohar and a few others who have by and large added value to Tamil cinema,by their theatre experience that came in handy for them,in precisely fixing themselves for screen performance,as compactly as possible. 
    Visu has brought out the dynamics in acting, mostly by his characteristic voice modulation and impressive grasp of accent and intonation yardsticks,towards getting closer to the audience as naturally as possible. Visu has done quite a few character roles with the superstar in films like Nallavanukku Nallavan, Mr.Barath,Uzhaippali, Mannan and Arunachalam.
     No one can forget Visu's sparkling performance as Kumaresa Gounder in Mr.Bharath.The two Kamal films he was associated with were,Simla Special and Sathya one as a story writer and the other as an actor. Visu has always been a perfect choice for doing roles such as a care taker,an advocate {Ellaam Avan Seyal and a few other films}a sitting Judge,an investigating officer and above all as the governor of as the chief minister of a state.These are characters that Visu has essayed with his innate poise,ease,dignity and thrust in dialogue delivery.
     As the responsible father of a self-conscious and arrogant feminist daughter,he delivered a wonderful performance in Mannan. His performance was equally noteworthy in Vanaja Girija,a film portraying the diagonally contradictory attitudes of two women.Besides these, it would be a proud factor for Visu to have shared screen space with the Chevalier, Sivaji Ganesan in the film Thaikoru Thaalaattu directed by Balachandra Menon.
    The AVM banner which utilised Visu's versatile talent by letting him  make one of its best films,Samsaram Adhu Minsaram also inducted him for playing great roles in films like Mr.Bharath,Nallavanukku Nallavan and Mella Thirandhadhu Kadhavu.Visu raised his powerful paternal voice in the Arjun starring film Adimai Changili,directed by R,K.Selvamani.In the same manner,he created vibrating moments despite his limited appearance in Lingusamy's Ji,as a printing press owner with a determination to oust from post, a sitting corrupt MLA of his constituency.He has always been in full form,in doing roles that could reflect the force of reasoning and pragmatic intelligence.
   For some time Visu's clarion voice was heard on the small screen with his reputed spark of ideas and flair for emphatic tone delivery,focused on socially useful interactions,with the youth and children.It is a known fact that Visu,by his distinct mind frame and significant thrust on clear performance,stands out as the specially identifiable,celebrity of Tamil Cinema, through his categorical traits of creativity,as a special brand of film maker and an authoritatively self confident actor,with a clarion voice.

Friday, March 20, 2020

தமிழ்த்திரை வரிகளில் மனிதன்

   மண்ணில் காணும் நன்மையையும் தீமையும் மனிதன் மாட்டே! மனிதன் இல்லையேல்,இன்பம் இல்லை; துன்பம் இல்லை;அறிவியல் இல்லை; இலக்கியம் இல்லை;மதம் இல்லை;மொழி இல்லை; சாதி இல்லை; சான்றுகள் இல்லை.நோய் இல்லை; மருத்துவம்  ல்லை. வறுமை இல்லை;சுரண்டல் இல்லை.பெருமை இல்லை;தாழ்மை இல்லை. இன்னும் எத்தனையோ, இல்லை, இல்லை!  
  மனிதனின் அருமை பெருமைகளையும் அழுக்குச் சுமைகளையும்,  மனிதனே அறிவான்.அதனால் தானோ என்னவோ,கிட்டத்தட்ட அறுபத் தைந்து ஆண்டுகளுக்கு முன்னால் எம் ஜி ஆர் நடித்து 1956- இல் வெளியான 'தாய்க்குப்பின் தாரம்' திரைப் படத்தில் கீழ்காணும் வரிகளில் கவிஞர் A.மருதகாசி மனிதனைப்பற்றி எழுதி வைத்தார்.

"மனுசன மனுஷன்
சாப்பிடுறான்டா,தம்பி பயலே;
இது மாறுவதெப்போ தீருவதெப்போ,
நம்ம கவலை."

  பின்னர் அதே சாண்டோ சின்னப்பா தேவரின் தயாரிப்பில்,எம் ஜி ஆர் நடித்து 1961 இல் வெளியான 'தாய் சொல்லை தட்டாதே' திரைப் படத்தில், அதே டி.எம் சௌந்தராஜனின் கம்பீரக்குரலில், கண்ண தாசன் வடித்த,

"போயும் போயும் மனிதனுக்கிந்த,
புத்தியைக் கொடுத்தானே,இறைவன்
புத்தியைக் கொடுத்தானே!..
அதில் பொய்யும் புரட்டும்
திருட்டும் கலந்து,
பூமியைக் கெடுத்தானே, மனிதன்
பூமியைக் கெடுத்தானே!".

     எனும் பாடல் மூலம்,மனிதனோடு ஊறிப்போனது,அவனது மலிவான புத்தி மட்டுமே என்பதை,நம்மால் உணரமுடிந்தது. 
     இதே நிலைபாட்டுச் சிந்தனையுடன்தான் 1961-இல்,A. பீம்சிங் இயக்கத்தில் உருவான 'பாவ மன்னிப்பு' திரைப்படத்தில்,கவியரசு கண்ணதாசன் மனிதனைப்பற்றி,தன் மனக்குமுறலை  சிவாஜிகணேச னின் அற்புதமான நடிப்பின் முலம்,பின்வரும் வரிகளில் எடுத்துரைத்தார். 

"நிலை மாறினால்,
குணம் மாறுவான்;பொய்
நீதியும் நேர்மையும் பேசுவான்;
தினம் ஜாதியும் பேதமும்
கூறுவான்;அது வேதன்
விதி என்றோதுவான்.
மனிதன் மாறிவிட்டான்;
மதத்தில் ஏறிவிட்டான்."

  மீண்டும் அதே ஆண்டில் முக்தா ஸ்ரீனிவாசனின் படைப்பில் உருவான 'பனித்திரை' எனும் திரைப்படத்தில்,ஜெமினி கணேச னுக்காக பி.பி ஸ்ரீனிவாஸ் குரல் கொடுக்க,கவியரசின் ஒப்பற்ற வரிகளில்,மனித மனதின் நிலையற்ற தன்மையும் பலவீனமும், பாமரனுக்கும் புரியும் படியாக எழுதப்பட்டு,நம் செவிகளில் நாமே வெட்கப்படும் வண்ணம், நமட்டலாக ஒலித்தன! 

"ஏதோ மனிதன் பிறந்துவிட்டான்,  
அவன் எனோ மரம்போல் வளர்ந்துவிட்டான். 
எதிலும் அச்சம்,எதிலும் ஐயம், 
எடுத்ததற்கெல்லாம் வாடுகிறான், 
தன இயற்கை அறிவை மடமை என்னும், 
பணித்திரையாலே மூடுகிறான். 
பெண்ணே தெய்வம் அன்னை கடவுள், 
பெருமை என்று பேசுகிறான். 
பெண் பேதைகள் என்றும்,பேடிகள் என்றும், 
மறுநாள் அவனே ஏசுகிறான்; 
நாயாய் மனிதன் பிறந்திருந்தாலும்,
நன்றியெனும் குணம் நிறைந்திருக்கும். 
நரியாய் அவனே உருவெடுத்தாலும், 
தந்திராமாவது தெரிந்திருக்கும். 
காக்காய் குலமாய் அவதரித்தாலும், 
ஒற்றுமையாவது வளர்ந்திருக்கும். 
காற்றாய் நெருப்பாய்,நீராய் இருந்தால், 
கடுகளவாவது பயனிருக்கம். 
ஆறறிவுடனே பேச்சும் பாட்டும், 
அறிந்தே மனிதன் பிறந்துவிட்டான்; 
அந்த ஆறாம் அறிவை தேரா அறிவாய், 
அவனே வெளியில் விட்டுவிட்டான். 
ஏதோ மனிதன் பிறந்துவிட்டான் 
அவன் எனோ மரம்போல் வளர்ந்துவிட்டான்" 

    அடுத்த ஆண்டு{1962}சிம்மக்குரலோன் சிவாஜி கணேசனின் நெஞ்சைவிட்டகலா நடிப்பில்,A.பீம்சிங் படைத்த'படித்தால் மட்டும் போதுமா'திரைப்படத்தில்,கண்ணதாசனின் கிண்டலான,

"ஓஹோ  ஹோஹோ மனிதர்களே,
ஓடுவதெங்கே சொல்லுங்கள் 
உண்மையை வாங்கி 
பொய்களை விற்று, 
உருப்பட வாருங்கள்." 

    எனும் வரிகள்,மனிதனுக்கு திருந்துவதற்கான ஒரு வாய்ப்பினை அளிப்பது போன்று,அறைகூவல் விடுத்தன.
    1962 ஆம் ஆண்டு திரையிடப்பட்ட 'அழகு நிலா' எனும் திரைப் படத்தில் கவிஞர் A.மருதகாசி புனைந்த கருத்தாழமிக்க பின்வரும் பாடலில், வேண்டாத கெடுவினைகள் அனைத்தும் கற்றுக்கொண்ட மனிதன் மனிதனாக  மட்டும் வாழ கற்றுக்கொள்ளவில்லை எனும் கசப்பான உண்மையை,கே.வி மகாதேவனின் தேனிசையில் சீர்காழி கோவிந்த ராஜனின் கனத்த,ஈட்டியெனப் பாயும் குரலில், நாம் கேட்க நேர்ந்தது. 

"மனிதன் எல்லாம் தெரிந்துகொண்டான் 
வாழும் வகை புரிந்துகொண்டான்; 
மனிதனாக வாழமட்டும் 
மனிதனுக்கே தெரியவில்லைஹோ! 
கொல்லும் பாம்பின் கொடும் விஷத்தை, 
சொல்லில் கொடுக்க தெரிந்துகொண்டான்;  
குள்ளநரிபோல் தந்திரத்தால், 
குடியை கெடுக்க தெரிந்து கொண்டான்;
வெள்ளிப் பணத்தால் மற்றவரை, 
விலைக்கு வாங்க தெரிந்துகொண்டான்;  
மனிதனாக வாழ மட்டும், 
மனிதனுக்கே தெரியவில்லை ஹோ!" 

   கவியரசு கண்ணதாசன்,வெண்திரையில் தனது கற்பனை ஊற்றின் வலுவோடு,தன் கவிதை வரிகளை மயில் பீலிகளாகவும்,மனம் மிரளும் மத்தள ஓசையாகவும்,மரண பயத்தை தோற்றுவிக்கும் எமனின் சாட்டை யாகவும்,படியாத மாடுகளாய் வாழும் மனிதரை,படியச்செய்யும் பிரம் பாகவும் கொண்டு,மனிதனை மனிதனாக மாற்ற,அரும்பாடு பட்டார் என்றே சொல்ல வேண்டும். 
   மனித இனத்தின் மீது தனக்குள் இருந்த ஆதங்கத்தையும் வேதனை யையும்,அவர் A.L நாராயனோடு தானும் எழுதி உருவாக் கிய'லட்சமி  கல்யாணம்'{1968} திரைப்படத்தில்,டி.எம்.எஸ் குரலில் தனது உரத்த வரிகளால் வெளிப்படுத்திய பின் வரும் பாடல்,நம் நினைவுகளில்  அழுத்தமாக பதிந்தது என்றே சொல்லலாம்.

"யாரடா மனிதன் இங்கே,
கூட்டிவா அவனை இங்கே;
இறைவன் படைப்பில்,
குரங்குதான் மீதி இங்கே!
மனிதரில் நாய்கள் உண்டு
மனதினில் நரிகள் உண்டு;
பார்வையில் புலிகள் உண்டு;
பழக்கத்தில் பாம்பும் உண்டு;
நாயும் நரியும் புலியும் 
பாம்பும்வாழும் பூமியிலே,
மானம் பண்பு ஞானம் கொண்ட,
மனிதனை காணவில்லை.
சிரிப்பினில் மனிதன் இல்லை;
அழுகையில் மனிதன் இல்லை;
உள்ளத்தில் மனிதனில்லை;
உறக்கத்தில் மனிதனுண்டு. 
வாழும் மிருகம்,தூங்கும் தெய்வம்,
நடுவே மனிதனடா!
எங்கோ ஒருவன்,இருந்தால் அவனை,
உலகம் வணங்குதடா!"

   'வனவாசம்' 'அர்த்தமுள்ள இந்துமதம்' போன்ற இணையற்ற புத்தகங் களை எழுதிய கண்ணதாசன்,தன வாழ்நாளில்,தத்துவக்  கடலில் மூழ்கி முத்தெடுக்கும் வேளைகளில்,மனிதம் மாண்புற வேண்டும் எனும் வேட்கை கொண்டிருந்தார்.நற்குணங்கள் மட்டுமே நிறைந்த மனிதன், தெய்வத் திற்கு இணையாவான் எனும் அவரது ஆழ்ந்த புரிதலே,கீழ்க் காணும் பாடல் வரிகளில்,ஸ்ரீதரின் 'சுமைதாங்கி' திரைப்படத்தில்,பி பி ஸ்ரீனி வாசின் மெல்லிய குரல் அதிர்வுகளாய் அரங்கேறியது. 

"மனிதன் என்பவன் தெய்வமாகலாம் 
வாரி வாரி வழங்கும்போது வள்ளாகளாம் 
வாழைபோல தன்னை தந்து தியாகியாகலாம்" 

    மனிதரில் மனிதராய்,'உள்ளத்தின் உள்ளூரும்' கவிதையுடன் வலம்வந்த கவியரசு,மனிதக் குறைகளை முழுமையாய் சுவாசித்து, மனிதன் மேன்மையுற,ஏக்கங்களில் மனம் பதித்து,மனிதனை தெய்வமாய் ஒருங்கிணைத்து,மனம் காட்டும் வழிதனிலே,மனிதனின் நினைவிற்கு மரணத்தின் உண்மை எட்டுவதில்லையே,எனும் வேத னையை,எவ்வளவு இயல்பாக 'அவன்தான் மனிதன்'{1975} திரைப் படத்தில் வெளிப்படுத்தினார்.
  எடுத்துக்காட்டான ஒருமனிதனை,பெருந்திரையில் போற்றிய த் தமிழ்த் திரைப்படத்தில்,உன்னதமான கோட்பாடுகளின் உருவமாக, மனிதனை நடிப்பில் வெளிப்படுத்த, சிவாஜி கணேசனைத் தவிர  வேறு எவரால் முடிந்திருக்கும்? கதையாலும் நடிப்பாலும், A.Cதிருலோக்சந்தரின் உணர்வு பூர்வமான இயக்கத்தாலும், கவியரசின் வரிகளாலும்,மெல்லிசை மன்னரின் இசையாலும்,' அவன்தான் மனிதன்',என்றும்  ம் உறங்கும் உணர்வுகளை தட்டி எழுப்பக்கூடிய திரைப்படமாக அமைந்தது. இதோ, கவியரசின் எழுத்தில்,எம்.எஸ். வி இசையில், டி.எம்.எஸ் சிவாஜி கணேசனுக் காகப் பாடிய வரிகள். 

"மனிதன் நினைப்பதுண்டு 
வாழ்வு நிலைக்குமென்று
இறைவன் நினைப்பதுண்டு 
பாவம் மனிதனென்று"

    தான் நடிக்கும் திரைப்படங்களில் புகைபிடித்தல் மற்றும் மது அருந் துதல் போன்ற காட்சிகளுக்கு அரிதாக இடமளித்த எம் ஜி ஆர்,தனது'ஒளி விளக்கு'திரைப்படத்தில்,தீய பழக்கங்களுக்கு தன் மனதில் ஒரு போதும் இடமில்லை எனும் உறுதியான மனநிலையினை,தனக் கென டி.எம். எஸ் பாடிய "தைரியமாகச் சொல் நீ மனிதன்தானா? இல்லை.நீ மிருகம்.நீ மதுவில் விழும் நேரம்" எனும் வாலியின் வலுவான பாடல் மூலம் வெளிப்படுத்தினார். 
   மனிதனைப்பற்றி,மனிதனின் கவிதைக்கரங்களால் எழுதப்படும் விமர்சனங்கள் அனைத்தும்,மனித இனத்தின் சுய விமர்சனமாகவே எடுத்துக்கொள்ளப்பட வேண்டும்.'மனிதன்' எனும் சொல்லை பல் வேறு  கோணங்களில் திரைப்படங்களில் புகுத்தி,மனிதனின் நிறை குறை களை தலைப்புகளாகவும் கவிதை வரிகளாகவும் மனித இனத்தின் பார்வைக்கு தமிழ்த் திரைப்படங்கள் கொண்டுவந்துள்ள.ரஜினிகாந்த் நடித்து A.V.M தயாரிப்பில் வெள்ளித்திரையை அலங்கரித்த 'மனிதன்' திரைப்படப்பாடல்,எவன் மனிதன்,எவன் மனிதனில்லை,என்று வரை யறுத்துச் சொன்னது.கவிப்பேரசு வைரமுத்து கவிதை வரிகளை வேட்டையாட,சந்திரபோஸின் இசை ஓட்டத்தில்,மலேஷியா வாசு தேவன் தனது வீரியக் குரலில் வெடித்த சொற்கள் இதோ!  

மனிதன் மனிதன்,
எவன்தான் மனிதன்?
வாழும்போது செத்துசெத்து 
வாழ்ந்தபின்னும்பேரை நாட்டி 
நிலைப்பவன் மனிதனா? 
பிறருக்காக செந்நீரும், 
சிந்தும் மனிதன்எவனோ, 
அவனே மனிதன்.
அடுத்தவீட்டில் தீப்பிடிக்க 
அந்தநேரம் ஓடிவந்து, 
அணைப்பவன் மனிதனா? 
கோபம்கொண்டு நியாயம்கேட்டு, 
காதல் என்றபேரைச்சொல்லி
நடிப்பவன் மனிதனா?
நட்பைமட்டும் கரண்சிநோட்டில், 
துடிப்பவன் எவனோ,அவனே மனிதன்!

."கடவுள் பாதி மிருகம் பாதி கலந்து செய்த கலவை நான்" என்று  ஒரு கதாபாத்திரத்தில் கமல் தன்னை புகுத்திக் கொண்டது போல,                                                                  அல்லது,    
 "பாதி மனதில் தெய்வம் இருந்து பார்த்துக் கொண்டதடா மீதி மனதில் மிருகம் இருந்து ஆட்டிவைத்ததடா"என்று  டி.எம்.எஸ் குரலோசையில், கவியரசின் வரிகளை,ஆலயமணி திரைப் படத்தில் நடிகர் திலகம் தன உயரிய நடிப்பால் பிரகடனப்படுத் தியது போல,மனிதன் முழுமையாக மனிதனாக இல்லை.அவன் மனிதனாக இருக்கையில்,இறைவனில் கரங்களால் ஆசிர்வதிக் கப்படுகிறான். மாறாக,மிருகமாக இருக்கும் மன நிலையில்,வினையின் விளைவுகளால் தண்டிக்கப்படுகிறான். எனவே,திரைப் பட பாடல்கள் மூலம் கவிஞர்கள் நிலை நிறுத்த விரும்புவது,சொல் புத்தி செயல் புத்தியுடன்,மனிதன் மனிதனாக வாழவேண்டும் என்பதேயாகும். 

Sunday, March 15, 2020

The invincible actor sisters of Tamil Cinema


   Tamil cinema may have in its archives famous films of actresses doing sister roles,such as Naan Valartha Thangai,Kalyana Parisu,Bhagya Lakshmi,Kulavilakku,Arangetram and Aval Oru Thodarkadhai.More importantly,Tamil Cinema is also known for its great list of actor sisters who have made the Tamil film industry flourish and reach new heights of glory and excellence.
   During the inception decade of Tamil cinema,there came three sisters on the Tamil silver screen,as sterling classical dancers and brilliant performers of characters of different kinds.They were originally called the Travancore sisters,because they hailed from the Trivandrum soil with their ancestral links well knit to the royal family.They were famously acknowledged as Lalitha,Padmini and Ragini.
  Initially,they were shown on the screen,only as dancers,because the earliest Tamil films were reputed more for songs and dances,than for action or continued delivery of dialogues.While all the three sisters were dancing together in a few movies,{Mandhiri Kumari,Devaki,Vanasundari and Ponni},it was Padmini who had significantly occupied the centre stage,both as a stunning dancer and amazing actor.Apart from her scintillating solo dance hits{for "Madhavi Pon Mayilaal" in Iru Malarkal ,for"Maraindhirundhu Paarkum" and "Nalandhaanaa" in Thillaanaa Mohanaambaal and for "Mannavan Vandhaanadi" in Thirumaal Perumai}Padmini had dynamically shown her extraordinary competitive spirit for dancing,not only with her elder sister Lalitha in many films but also with the other commendable dancer actor Vijayanthimala {Vanjikottai Valiban is ever a dance treasure staying indelible in our memory}and with MG.R in Mannadhi Mannan.Of the three, the youngest Ragini who died young, could make only lesser number of entries as a dancer,when compared to her two elder sisters.But as an actor,her contribution was as much considerable,as that of the eldest Lalitha.
  Of the more than sixty Tamil films in which Lalitha had appeared,a majority were those in which she did dancing with her younger sister Padmini or with Ragini .But she did a few solid roles of acting in films like Ezhai Padum Paadu,Ore Iravu,Kanchana,Ponni,Anbu,Ulagam Palavidham,Kaveri and Thookku Thhooki.The last four in the list were films of Sivaji Ganesan of which,Thooku Thooki would have got stuck in audience memory,on account of the role of a hateful,adulterous wife  that Lalitha boldly played.
   Like Lalitha,her youngest sister Ragini who was equally watched for her dance display in quite a number of films,did some memorable films like Thooku Thooki,Kalyanam Panniyum Brmmachari, Ellaam Inba Mayam,Uthama Puthiran,Bhagyavadhi,Punar Jenmam,Parthiban Kanavu,Parisu,Veera Pandiya Kattabomman,Navagraham{as gossip monger Akilandam}and Ezhai Pangalan{as the main heroine paired with Gemini Ganesan}.If Lalitha had a melting and mesmerising voice,Ragini had a stronger and sober tone.But it was the majestic and governing tone of Padmini which surpassed that of her sisters,by the power of which she could establish an immortal place in Tamil cinema,as the most dynamic pair of Sivaji Ganesan.
   Voice, dance and dauntless delivery of roles put Padmini,on the highest pedestal of the Tamil big screen,not only between her two sisters but also among her contemporary actors.She could rightly be called the darling among the three Travancore sisters.As her stellar position in Tamil cinema has already been discussed in other two articles in the blog, with this tribute to her, the article will move on to the other actor sisters of Tamil cinema.
   Almost during the same period of the Travancore sisters, there were other two actor sisters called P. Pandarbhai and P. Mainavadhi. Like the Travancore sisters these two were also inseparable in many movies.They were not celebrated dancers like the earlier trio,but were actors of a graceful and meek category,capable of casting the glory of womanhood, known for its submission,modesty and charm. Unlike the trio sisters who were from the Kerala soil,these two sisters were rooted to Karnataka.
    Pandaribhai takes the pride of being the first heroine of Sivaji Ganesan in Parasakthi, followed by films like Aval Yaar,Thirumbi Paar and Andha Naal with him.The Chevalier played negative roles as the Casanova and as the younger brother of Pandaibhai in Thirumbi paar and a traitor in Andha Naal and in both the films he invited the wrath of  the ever docile Pandarbhai.In Annaiyin Aanai,Pandaribhai was seen both as the wife  and mother of Sivaji Ganesan in dual roles,as father and son.
  Later this subdued actress adorned the throne of motherhood in celluloid form,showing profound love and compassion in films like Dheiva Thai, Thaayin Madiyil,Kaavalkaaran,Pudhiya Bhoomi,Raja,OruThai Makkal,Thava Pudhalvan,Dheiva Magan,Gowravam and many other films, besides taking the role of a paralysed mother in Rajinikanth's Mannan.In maternal roles, Pandarbhai formed a distinct place for herself as a venerable mother of Tamil cinema.
     Her sister Mynavadhi who shared screen space with heroes like Sivaji Ganesan{Kuravanji &Bommai Kalyanam}T.R.Ramachandran,{Anbu Yenge} S.R.Eshwar {Aaravalli,in the role of Alangaravalli}T.R.Mahalingam{ Maalaiyitta Mangai}and Prem Nazir {Vannakkili,Anbukkor Anni Naan Valartha Thangai}K.Balaji {Engal Kula dhevi}and Kuladheivam,was an incarnation of the grace and warmth of womanhood,represented by her next generation actress Sri Vidya. Tamil cinema pulled the audience into an exalting family experience,through the dignified presence of these two actor sisters Pandaribhai and Mynavadhi.
    During the late Nineteen Seventies and early Nineteen eighties Tamil cinema witnessed the emergence of three pairs of sisters,one pair from the tree of veteran actor M.R.Radha and the other pair once again from the Trivandrum region and the third team of siblings also from Kerala.They are Radhika and Nirosha,Ambika and Radha and Oorvasi and Kalpana. Among the three pairs,Radhika and Radha were introduced to the Tamil silver screen,by the eminent director of rural stories, P.Bharathiraja in Kizhakke Pogum Rayil and Alaigal Oivadhillai respectively.
   Oorvasi and Kalapna were the thespian products of K.Bagyaraj.Though Ambika was introduced by the director duo Deveraj Mohan,in their film Chakkalathi it was K.Bagyaraj who made her famous through his great film Andha Ezhu Naatkal.Whereas Nirosha had her first innings as Karthik's love interest in Manirathnam's Agni Natchatram and then moved on to act with Kamalahasan in Soora Samharam. and with Karthik Muthuraman in Pandi Naattu Thangam After her successful films Sendhoora Poove and Inaindha Kaikal with Ramki,she became his life partner.
    While Radhika became the very powerful female voice of Tamil cinema in the line of  Savithri, Oorvasi who got an award for her performance in her very first film Mundhaanai Mudichu,did a film with Kamalahasan{Andha Oru Nimidam}as his pair and a couple of films with Napoleon {Vanaja Girija and Ettu Patti Raajaa}and in V.Sekar's most known film Naan Petha Mahane with Sivakumar. After donning a few sober roles she turned to the comedy side by working with Kamal for his films Michael Madhana Kamarajan,Pancha Thandhiram and also as the wife of Nasser in Thennavan.She continues to don mother roles in many films.
   Incidentally,Kalapana who performed as the disliked wife of Bagyaraj in Chinnaveedu,did a similar role in Kamalahasan's Sathi Leelavadhi,as the unwanted wife of Ramesh Arvind. In both the films her fatness became a point of contention to be spurned as a wife. Oorvasi has been dividing her time between Tamil and Malayalam cinema.But Kalapana who contributed more to Malayalam cinema died an untimely death.
    From the list of actor sisters every one would accept the fact that Padmini,Pandarbhai,Radhika and Oorvasi made a substantial contribution to the Tamil film industry,when compared to their sister siblings.Padmini excelled her two sisters,both in the dynamics of dancing and magnificent delivery of roles. Pandaribhai became a longstanding character actor and inimitable screen mother. Radhika continues to make herself predominantly irreplaceable.Comparatively, from among the actor sisters listed here,it is Ambika and Radha who have made themselves equally invincible.Like Radhika ,both Ambika and Radha have acted one classic movie each,with Sivaji Ganesan.Both Vaazhkai and Mudhal Mariyaadhai were grand shows of conjugal supremacy and the peerless power of Platonic love, in their respective thematic content and manner of presentation.
    Like the Travancore sisters and like Pandari Bhai and Mynavathi,the two sisters Ambika and Radha have acted as sisters on screen too{Engeyo Ketta Kural and Kadhal Parisu}.They have also acted together in films like Vellai Roja,Idhayakoil and Anna Nagar Mudhal Theru. Both were successful pairs of Rajinikanth and Kamalahasan and both have acted with other heroes like Sathyaraj,Vijayakanth,Prabu,Karthik {Muthuraman},Sivakumar, and Mohan.
    If Ambika has in her kitty,most impressive films like Andha Ezhu Naatkal,Engeyo Ketta Kural Theerpukal Thiruthappalaam,Naan Paadum Paadal,Vaazhkai,Makkal En Pakkam,Sakala Kalaa Vallavan, Kaakki Sattai,Sakala Kala Vallavan,Uyarndha Ullam,Naan Sigappu Manidhan,Mr.Bharat and Padikkaadhavan,Radha too has an equal number of films like Alaikal Oivadhillai,Amman Koil Kizhakkaale,Oru Kaidhiyin Diary,Naan Mahaan Alla,Paayum Puli,Rajaadhi Raajaa Mella Thirandhadhu Kadhavu, Engal Chinna Raasaa and Muthal Mariyaadhai,all treasured in audience memory.The films listed here are not exhaustive with regard to both the sisters.
    But the list definitely contains their most important films.No doubt there was always a significant glamour component in Radha's portrayal of characters.However, she proved her excellent acting calibre,throwing tough challenges to her elder sister through her mighty roles,in Amman Koil Kizhakkaale,Mella Thirandhadhu Kadhavu and Mudhal Mariyaadhai.Among the actor sisters of Tamil cinema of different decades, one would instantly agree to the fact,that it it is Ambika and Radha who have always maintained a competitive edge between them, throughout their acting career. Between the two,Radha could easily take up tomb boy roles as she did in films like Pick Pocket, Chinnapadas and Anna Nagar Mudhal Theru.But Ambika too made the audience raise their eyebrows by indulging in boot legging and transporting bottles of spurious liquor,under the pretext of bogus pregnancy in Padikkadhavan.
   To sum up, all the actor sisters have contributed their individual might,through each one's level and capacity for performance.No one can be a match for Padmini,the paragon of  dancing and the delightful performer of roles,to become the characteristic protocol of womanhood,on the big screen.On the other hand, Pandaribhai will be remembered more as a mother than a heroine. Oorvasi and Kalpana set up a unique place for themselves,with a perfect grasp of  situational and farcical comedy contexts.Nirosha's contribution has been as much minimal as that of Mynavadhi. But Mynavadhi's enchanting looks and portrayal of roles could very well match those of Ambika,the embodiment of exquisite feminine grace. Radha could race with Radhika not only for being a product from the same school of Bharathiraja,but also by putting up a brave face against selective male arrogance.{One could trace the verity of this observation from their character delineation in Naane Raja Naane Mandhiri of Radhika and Amman Koil Kizhakkaale of Radha. Interestingly, both were Vijayakanth films}
    Nevertheless,Radhika is certainly one of the insuperable women of Tamil cinema for reflecting variety in performance through her roles in films like Ninaivu Chinnam,Oorkaavalan, Nallavanukku Nallavan,Kizhakku Cheemaiyile,Sigaram,Salangai Oli,Veera Thaalaattu and Jeans[as the virago wife of Nasser}.If Radhika is admired for her regular contribution to the small screen through her popular serials,Ambika has recently joined the bandwagon of renowned silver screen heroines,making their prominent presence in television serials. Naayaki is presently one of the highly received serials in which Ambika plays an important role.
    Beyond all this, if one has to confine to one pair of actor sisters and make an assessment,one could clearly and assertively declare that Ambika and Radha are the two invincible actor sisters of Tamil Cinema,in vying with each other to carve a niche for themselves ,with equal vigour and demonstration of strength,in their screen portrayal of characters.
{Note:- This article has excluded half sisters among actors.}

Sunday, March 1, 2020

P. Bhanumathi the powerful Woman


     The early decades of Tamil Cinema mostly witnessed docile women on the screen.Cinema in general was dominated by men and Tamil films were no exception to this.However,during those years too,there were a couple of women who would time and again raise their feminist voice to vindicate the power of womanhood. Vijayanthimala and P.Bhanumathi were the two actors who through their exceptional force of performance would frequently try to surpass the role of men on the screen.It was a known fact that Vijayanthimala was a colossal classical dancer with invincible charm and performance potential,reflected in her nimble bodily movements.
    P.Bhanumathi on the other hand was not a good dancer but a prime performer of characters with a unique voice mould and sweet singing forte. In fact,Bhanumathi was a greater feminist than Vijayanthimala herself,because quite often one could see her raise her voice and try to rule over men.Though Telugu based Bhanumathi focussed more on Telugu films her Tamil entries were equally powerful to demonstrate her exemplary calibre of screen portrayal,singing attributes and capacity to compose tunes.
   Bhanumadhi stepped into Tamil Cinema as early as in 1939 during the pre independence period in the film Sandana Devan produced by Modern Theatres.Quite a few of her Tamil movies were either dubbed into Tamil or were Tamil remakes of Telugu films.Her first popular Tamil film was Rajamukthi with M.K.Thiagaraja Bhagavadhar.During the same period she acted one film each with N.S.Krishnan {Nalla Thambi}M.K.Radha{Aboorva Sagodhararkal} and P.U.Chinnappa{Rathnakumar}.Later she acted with the two  most popular heroes MGR and Sivaji Ganesan. Incidentally it should be mentioned here that while MGR in his later years of film career,took several women much younger to him as his screen pairs,it was P.Bhanumathi who was three years older than Sivaj Ganesan,joined him as his dynamic pair, in about eight movies.  
    Her films with MGR such as Malaikallan,Alibaabaavum Narpadhu Thirudarkalum,  Thaaikupin Tharam,Madurai Veeran, and Nadodi Mannan were memorable hits when compared to failures like Kalayarasi,Raja Dhesingu and the moderate historical film Kanchi Thalaivan. Similarly her entries with Sivaji Ganesan like Makkalai Petra Makarasi, Manamakan Thevai,Ambikapathi and Arivaali were received well while others like Kalvanin Kadhali,Rani Lalithangi,Rangoon Radha and Sarangathara could make only a very moderate impact.It was at this time she also did one film each with Gemini Ganesan {Sadharam} K.A.Thangavelu {as Rambai,in Rambaiyin Kadhal} and T.R.Mahalingam {as Manimekalai in Manimekalai}.She also joined the veteran Telugu actor A.Nageswara Rao for the two films Kaadhal and Kanal Neer. 
   Some of the unique films of Bhanumathi during the later years were Annai,Poovum Pottum  
Kattilaa Thottilaa and Pathu Maadha Bandham.Of these Annai produced under the A.VM Banner was an extraordinary movie, because it beautifully reflected the emotional turmoil of a mother,facing the predicament of losing her adopted son to his original mother.With S.V.Renga Rao and Sowcar Janaki,Bhanumathi almost waged an emotional war with an unrelenting possessive hold,over her adopted son. 
    Bhanumathi's jammed voice mould could be called both an asset and liability,whenever she became aggressively emotional in demonstrating her role play.Her Tamil was always under the influence of Telugu and it carried a remarkable singularity like the Tamil of Rajinikanth.Her last Tamil movie was Chembaruthi produced by the Motherland Pictures and directed by R.K.Selvamani.In this fabulous romantic film Bhanumathi donned the role of the hero's {played by Prashanth}grandmother.
     Bhanumathi was gifted with a wonderful voice capable of delivering musical notes with exceeding ease and nasal sweetness,that made her songs reach the ears of the audience as most soothing songs.Some of her splendid duet songs were from Ambikapathi {Maasilaa Nilave and Vaadaa Malare Thamizhthene for example}Thaaikupin Thaaram{Aahaanam Aasai Niraiveru ma}and from Makkalai Petra Makarasi {Poravale Poravale Ponnurangam} Thaaikupin Thaaram {Summa Kedandha Nelatha} and it was the stentorian voice of TMS that joined her for all these duets.Her other scintillating duet was Maasilaa Unmai Kaadhale with A.M.Raja for Alibhaabhaavum Naarpadhu Thirudarkalum.Her mesmerizing solo numbers were Azhakaana Ponnunaan {Alibhaabhaavum Naarpadhu Thirudarkalum}Kannile Irupadhenna {Ambikapathi} Poovaaki Kaayaaki Kanindha Maram Onru and Annai Enbaval Needhaana
{both from Annai}.
    P.Bhanumthi and her husband ran a production unit under the banner Bharani Pictures and  made Tamil films such as Kadhal,Kaanal Neer,Chandirani and Manamagan Thevai.Of these the film Chandirani was directed by Bhanumathi herself.This shows her versatility as an outstanding film celebrity.
    Natural emotions,spontaneous reactions and unadulterated role delivery were the unique traits of this multi lingual actor of the last millennium.Her looks reflected absolute self confidence and assertiveness of attitude, which made her the powerful woman of Indian cinema. Though her Tamil films were not many when compared to her contemporary actress Padmini, Bhanumathi did not fail to leave her indelible impressions as a versatile film personality.That she never used to bother about the presence of the ruling men of Tamil Cinema like MGR and Sivaji Ganesan,made her carry on her show on the screen as a self governed and screen governing actor and no other woman during her period could replace her in this regard.