Tuesday, June 1, 2021

The Kannada Parrot of Tamil Cinema


   Unlike heroes,very few heroines are lucky to carry titles along with their names.If we take the case of Tamil heroines,Padmini was called Naattiya Peroli{The brilliant flash of dancing} and Savithiri was called Nadikaiyar thilakam {the paragon of acting}.In this line,we had another heroine who ruled the Tamil big screen in the late Nineteen fifties and the whole of Nineteen Sixties.She is Bharappa Sarojadevi,who hailed from the Kannada soil and earned the warmth and admirarion of a huge block of Tamil audience. She was always addressed with the prefix Kannadathu Paingili{the Kannada Parrot} of Tamil cienma. In Kannada film industry,she was affectionately admired as Abhinaya Saraswathi.

    B.Sarojadevi seems to have split her acting schedules comfortably embracing Tamil,Kannada and Telugu cinema with significant roles,to find a lasting place,in the memories of the audience. She started her innings in Tamil cinema in the mid fifties with secondary roles in films like Thirumanam,Thanga Malai Ragasiyam, Sabaash Meena,Parthibhan Kanavu and Irumbuthirai. It was MGR,who had the extraordinary assessing capacity to spot out talents,identified her niceties in acting and fixed her as heroine along with P.Bhanumathi,in Nadodi Mannan,directed by himself. Nadodi Mannan became a mega hit and established a solid ground for this woman of elegance and nicety in roleplay..

  Sarojadevi was not a great dancer like Vaijayanthimala and Padmini.Nor was she in the demonstrative acting galaxy of Savithri.But she was an exceptional actress in the sense,her way of uttering Tamil dialogues had a mesmerising touch and her sparkling eyes made her a dream girl of the Tamil screen. She could emote genuinely to suit the context with relevant vibrations in her voice mould.After Nadodi Mannan it was Sridhar's Kalyana Parisu which made her stake her claim as a heroine of remarkable merit,to occuoy the centre stage of Tamil cinema,for nearly two decades.

    Though B.Sarojadevi would have acted in about twenty five films with MGR,the best among them were Thirudadhe,Thai Sollai Thattadhe,Dheiva Thaai,Periya Idathu Penn,Padahotti,Enga Veettu Pillai,Kudumba Thalaivan,Needhikkupin Paasam,Anbe Vaa, Parakkum Paavai and Petraalthaan Pillaiyaa,besides Nadodi Mannan. Like her successor J.Jeyalalithaa,Sarojadevi also effectively divided her acting schedules between the two mighty heroes MGR and Sivaji Ganesan. In fact,Sivaji Ganesan commendably extracted the best in Sarojadevi's acting mettle,as he used to do with many of his female pairs.No one could forget the very impressive performance of Sarojadevi in the Chevalier's films like Bhaaga Pirivinai,Paalum Pazhamum, Aalaya Mani,Vidi Velli,Iruvar Ullam,Puthiya Paravai,En Thambi, Kulamagal Raadhai,Kalyaniyin Kanavan and Thenum Paalum.

    With Gemini Ganesan,Sarojadevi gave some memorable films like Vaazha Vaitha Dheivam, Kairasi,Panithirai,Aadiperukku,Panama Paasamaa,Kulavilakku and Thamarai Nenjam in addition to her most memorable Kalyana Parisu.Her other notable films include Manapandal, Thedivandha Selvam President Panjaksharam{ all S.S.Rajendran films}Sengottai Singam &Yaanai Pagan{both with Kannada star Udayakumar}and Uyir{ an R.Muthuraman film}.

    What is special about Sarojadevi is the most fascinating glamour quotient of her costume sense and body language.Other actresses during those days were neither made up of a stuff like hers,nor were they physically dynamic to display feminine felicity through physical promotion in duet sequences,with both MGR and Sivaji Ganesan.Actresses like Vaijayanthimala and Bharathi were silmilar to Sarojadevi in their physical elgance but they did not make it to the extent of enriching visual grandeur through glamour.Sarojadevi did that and it earned her a uniquely identifiable place in Tamil cinema for at least two decades.These were aspects of rare celluloid dynamism and Sarojadevi succeeded in creating a new path for other actresses,to perform roles perfectly,with a pleasing exhibition of feminie splendour.

    Sarojadevi could be called a new wave actress of traditional Tamil Cinema and she created her own records of this new wave of physical dynamism,without exceeding the norms of decency or passing on to the borders of vulgarity.When it comes to acting she could breezily travel between joyous exhuberance and sorrowful deliverance.Even her latest films like Once More and Aadhavan could take us to the nostalgic sixties with her apealing tone delivery,born of  specific sweetness and grace.Perhaps that is why she was called the dream girl and Kannada Parrot of Tamil Cinema.This post wishes her all the best. 


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