Sunday, August 22, 2021

Remembering Actress Chitra


   Chitra known by her brand ambassador name Idhayam Nallennai Chitra was one of the most popular faces of Malayalam cinema who had acted in quite a number of Tamil films,besides acting in a few Telugu and Kannada films.She had made a couple of Hindi entries too.Death has struck her with a maasive heart attack at the age of 56.

  Chitra was always a meek and modest face of Tamil Cinema.Having been introduced by K.Balachander in an uncredited role in Aboorva Ragangal, she had also acted in KB's Manadhil Urudhi Vendum.She had played impressive sister roles as Vijayakanth's sister in Auto Raja,as Prabu's sister in "En Thangachi Padichava {one of the notable early films of Prabu}and as the younger sister of Vijayakumar and Sarathkumar in the most commendable film Cheran Pandian directed by the ace film maker K.S.Ravikumar.She had also acted in Ravikumar's two other films Putham Puthu Payanam and Periya Kudumbam.

  Chitra played the main role paired with Karthik Muthuraman in Thiruppu Munai.She did significant roles in films like Raja Parvai,Oorkaavalan,Ninaivu Chinnam,Edhir Katru,Pondatti Rajyam and Paarambaryam.Chitra had been mostly typecast especially in Malayalam films in the role of  a victim of circumstances,or as a victim of the exploited lot,in the hands of men without morals.In Tamil, her most remembered roles are from En Thangachi Padichava, Oorkaavalan and Cheran Pandian.In all these films she fell a victim of tragic events caused by villainous characters played by Anandaraj,Raghuvaran and K.S.Ravikumar respectively.

  Humility and submission were the trademarks of the role assigned to Chitra and she performed her roles with absolute spirit of modesty and merit,supported by her dedicated role play.She was a worthy addition to many films and it is really worthy to remember her at this moment,with a deep sense of appreciation that she deserves.Let her soul rest in peace.



Friday, August 20, 2021

Tamil cinema's directorial face of elegance


   Film directors are mostly of two kinds.Those who reach the audience directly as sun light, lightning and thunder and others who keep radiating their creative flashes into the minds of the audience and make them reflect and react rather than merely enjoy the show.Film makers like K.Balachander,Balu Mahendra,Parthiban,Bala,Gautham Vasudev Menon,Vetrimaran and a few others besides Bharathiraja,who was a poetic narrator of simple and complex human emotions with a substance of subtelity and fascinating felicity,belong to the second category.This second brand would narrate stories either with stark realism,or through their enhanced formulas of imprinting realism,through intricate channels.

  But a majority of  film makers would like to reach the audience directly,with their scope of story falling upon a wide plateau of action field,as events taking place through a grand,make believe power programme.The film viewers are easily carried away by the larger than life events,doing their perceptive progress on the big screen.A gripping story line,an engaging action bonanza, image boosting heroism and an ear invading digital musical parade,call for a little less than three hour celebration at the theatres,with popcorns and snacks as inevitable additions.

  To make a full fledged action movie is not that easy.There is a huge line of action movie makers starting from Shankar.If grandeur is the trade mark of Shanker, speed is second nature for Hari especially in his films like Samy and the Singam series.Bhagyaraj has ever been the most light hearted film maker of action and family dramas.P.Vasu and K.S Ravikumar have been straight film makers,filling their action agenda,with force of dialogues and performance thrust.Of the two the latter,most often took the rural highways for his film journey.Lingusamy made the audience run along with the events of his hit films like Run and Sandakozhi.Dharani's Dhil,Gilli and Dhool were action treats from the beginning till the end.Ezhil's Thullaadha Manamum Thullum,Pennin Manadhai Thottu and Poovellaam Un Vaasam were high breed romantic action dramas.In this list,we have A.R.Murugadoss who in addition to speed and tempo,is capable of adding elegance as something special in his course of narration.

  Murugadoss may not have the Himalayan grandeur of director Shankar.But he has a little bit of magic to transform his heroes with an extra touch of elegance and charm,to perform theri roles with a striking note of difference from their earlier ways of acting.Murugadoss of course failed to achieve this in his first film'Dheena'with Ajith.It was in a way,a raw narration of action sequences and the moderate success of the film was mostly due to the fan base that Ajith had already established.Inspite of the presence of Ajith and the Malayalam action hero Suresh Gopi,the film failed to create the impact it wanted,because it was a usual story of gansterism told in its cliched mode.Moreover,the miracle of elegance that Murugadoss is capable of,was missing in Dheena.

  But his second film 'Ramana' made it to all the theatres, irrespective of the variously classified centres known to the film distributing agencies.I saw a night show of the film in a theatre at Athur,with one of my close friends.Ramana redefined the style and role play of Vijayakanth to the height of elegance. After Chinna Gounder,one could see the underplay of the Captain.But in Ramana,Vijayakanth moved from the rural soil to the urban block.From the very first shot,the film marched on the track of elgance in narration of an action film,with astonishingly reduced decibel,that is the normal practice for an action film.

  The scene showing the hero taking a dead body to a money sqeezing hospital for treatment and the subsequent course of narration,is a single cinematic event to remember how elegantly the crimes of the health sector could be narrated,not only entertainingly,but also with a touch of beautiful common sense.During the course of his elegant narration of the entire film,Murugadoss made even a secondary character like that of a constable {memorably performed by Yugi Sethu}live long by his smart statement'If you hit here,it will pain there'.''Ramana'was on the whole,a neat tale elegantly told.It could also be called one of the most lovable films of the captain, that preceded his last spell of  interesting entries like 'Sokka Thangam','Enga Anna' and Perarasu.

   Next came the film 'Gajini' refreshingly filmed by A.R.Murugadoss.I think it was the first film that showed Suriya in an exuberantly handsome frame,carrying on an exotic romantic experience with Asna,by spinning winnable yarns about his personal side and enjoying at close watch,all the cheeky responses of his most loved woman.But this cute flashback is preceded by a wild Suriya undergoing the trauma of memory loss,with frequent bouts of past events knocking his brain. 'Gajini'was a precise and flawless mix up of brand new romance and beastly villainy,fascinatingly told,tying the audience to their seats.From then on,Suriya's demeanour and demonstration of acting,took an upward trend on the elegant side.Unfortunatley,Murugadoss could not continue his success story with Suriya,in his next most ambitious project,'Ezhaam Arivu'.

   Everybody knows the fan width of actor Vijay since the days of his full fledged action film 'Thirumalai'released by K.Balachander's production house.After 'Thirumalai',Vijay did many powerful roles as action hero.But the style and elegance of Vijay took a new turn in 'Thuppakki' which became a block buster and took action hero Vijay to a more competitive,performing  level with an appeal for the urban elite.His single utterance"I'am waiting"became popular for a repeat by other heroes and even comedians like Santhanam in a few films.

  In between the dismounting and boarding of trains by the hero,a dedicated officer of RAWof the Indian army,'Thuppaakki',took up the entire course of narration of events,on the ladder of elegance.Starting from the scene of bride seeing by the hero,until the culmination of the story's events showing the hero falling into the backwaters of the sea,after setting things for the explosion of the boat carrying the terrorist chief,each and every scene of the film was elegantly framed.The choregraphy of the song' Antartica'{beautifully sung by Krish}was marked by elegant fusion of visuals.Thuppakki was the masterpiece of elegance in the hands of Murugadoss.

  After 'Thuppakki',Vijay joined the Murugadoss wagon twice,for 'Kathi' and'Sarcar'.The story lines of both the films carried political undertones and the latter intelligently scripted the electoral rights of citizens.In elegant narration,Sarcar oudid 'Kathi'.Though'Kathi' would have made money on account of Vijay's dynamic dual role play,there was nothing new in the story line.Moreover, it looked like Vijay's most other films.Sircar's elegant touches were born of novelty in subject matter and exsquisite presentation of the action sequence.

  Finally,Murugadoss got a chance to work with the superstar in 'Darbar'.The elegant frames of this film were,the hero's daughter struggling to get her widowed father married to Nayantara  and her video recording addressed to her father just before her death,caused by gangsters' brutal attack of the car,happily driven by her father,along with her.The other elegant features of 'Darbar'were the Super star's rejuvenated looks and contrasting patterns of levity and gravity in performance.However,Murugadoss could not completely bring the Superstar under his directorial ambit,as he could do it with Vijayakanth and the two younger heroes.This is because, Rajini like MGR,can not completely become a director's actor,on account of his inherent chemistry with his ardent fans.Besides,Rajini's style has its own elegance.

  Apart from directing seven films Murugadoss wrote the script and produced 'Maan Karathe'.He has also produced films like 'Vathi Kuchi','Raja Rani'and'Pathu Enradhukkulla'.Though Murugadoss is a specialist in the action genre,his three films'Ramana','Gajini'and 'Thuppakki' will remain as outstanding exhibits of action drama,when compared to his own other four films.

  This is because the three films marked by me have imbibed special ingredients of elegance in their over all presentation.His action core does not make'sound and fury,signifying nothing'. On the other hand,it opens up the gates to action, gaining numerous notes of charm and beauty,to score an immortal place in the minds of the viewers.It is this singular touch of elegance,that raises the quality of the films of Murugadoss,and makes him different from other action movie makers.



Wednesday, August 11, 2021

அழகை ஆராதிக்கும் தமிழ்த்திரை


    அழகைப்பற்றி பேசவோ எழுதவோ தொடங்கினாலே,ஆங்கில இலக்கியம் படித்தவர்க்கு,ஜான் கீட்ஸ்{John Keats} எழுதிய,

"A thing of beauty is a joy for ever" மற்றும்  

"Beauty is truth,truth beauty 

That is all ye know and need to know" 

   எனும் பொன்னான கவிதை வரிகள் நினைவுக்கு வராமலிருக்காது.தமிழறிஞர் திரு.வி.கல்யாண சுந்தரனார்  அவர்கள் 'முருகன் அல்லது அழகு'எனும்  தலைப்பு கொண்ட,காலப்பெட்டகமான இலக்கிய நூல் ஒன்றை,அழகுடன் தமிழுக்களித்தார்.

  இப்புத்தகத் தலைப்பினையும்,கீட்ஸ்சின் கவிதை வரிகளையும் ஒப்பிட்டுப்பார்க் கையில்,அழகு உண்மையெனில்,அதுவே ஆன்மசுகம் அளிப்பதாகும். இதேபோன் றொரு கருத்தினைத்தான் அருணகிரிநாதர் வடித்த திருப்புகழ் எனும். இறைவழிப்பாட லும் உணர்த்துகிறது .இந்த உண்மையை 'பஞ்சவர்ணக்கிளி ' திரைப்படத்தில் கவியரசு கண்ணதாசன் அழகாய் வரிகளாக்கிய, 

"சத்தியம் சிவம் சுந்தரம் 

சரவணனன் திருப்புகழ் மந்திரம்" 

என்று தொடங்கி 

"அழகன் முருகனிடம் ஆசைவைத்தேன் 

அவன் ஆலயத்தில் அன்புமலர் பூசை வைத்தேன்" 

  எனும் ஏகாந்த பாடலொன்று பி.சுசீலா வின் தேன் குரலில்,கேட்க கேட்க நம்மை மெய்மறக்கச் செய்து.இப்பாடலுக்கு   விஸ்வநாதன் ராமமூர்த்தி இசையமைத்தி ருந்தனர்.தமிழ்த்திரை கு,படத் தலைப் புகளாலும், பாடல்களாலும், அழகுக்கு ஆராதனை செய்யத் தவறியதில்லை. 

  'அழகு'{1984 film},'அழகன்','ஆணழகன்', 'பேரழகன்','அழகி','பாக்தாத் பேரழகி, அழகே'உன்னை ஆராதிக்கிறேன்',என்று சிறப்பான தலைப்புகள் அழகைச் சுற்றி வலம்வந்திருக்கின்றன.பாடல்களில்"அழகான பொண்ணு நான் அதுக் கேற்ற கண்ணுதான் {பி.பானுமதி'அலிபாபாவும் நாற்பது திருடர்களும்'} என்று பெண்ணாக, தன்னழகை பறைசாற்றி,"உன்னழகை கன்னியர்கள் கண்ட தினாலே உள்ள மெலாம் உன் வசமாய் ஆனதினாலே"{பி.சுசீலா;'உத்தம புத்திரன்'}என்று ஆணின் பேரழகைப் பாராட்டி"அழகே வா அருகே வா"{பி.சுசீலா'ஆண்டவன் கட்டளை'}என்று அழகிற்கு வரவேற்பு தோரணம் கட்டி, அழகை அனுபவித்து,ஆர்ப்பரித்த தமிழ்த் திரை பாடல்கள்தான்,எத்தனை எத்தனையோ! 

"அழகுக்கு அழகு நிலவுக்கு நிலவு 

அசைந்திடும்  பூச்செண்டு 

கனவுக்கு கனவு நினைவுக்கு நினைவு 

கரைந்திடும் கற்கண்டு" { பி சுசீலா; 'வீரத்திருமகன்'} 

என்று இயற்கையாய் அழகுடன் பயணித்தும்,

"அழகுக்கும் மலருக்கும் ஜாதியில்லை 

நெஞ்சில் ஆசைக்கும் உறவுக்கும் பேதமில்லை"

{P.B. ஸ்ரீனிவாஸ் எஸ் ஜானகி; 'நெஞ்சம் மறப்பதில்லை'} என்று அழகின் ஆத்மாவை,அகன்று விரிந்த பரம்பொருளாய்,காதலின் வடிவில் தரிசிக் கும் மனப்போக்கும்,பாடல்களாய் மனதில் பதிகையில்,திரையிசை தனித்தடம் பதிக்கிறது.

   மேலே குறிப்பிட்ட பாடல்களில் பானுமதியின் பாடலை ஏ.மருகாசி புனைய எஸ்.தக்ஷிணாமூர்த்தி இசை யமைத்திருந்தார்.'உத்தமபுத்திரன் படப் பாடலுக்கான கே.எஸ்.கோபால கிருஷ்ணன் வரிகளுக்கு,இசைமேதை ஜி.ராமநாதன்  இசையமுதூட்டினார் .இதர மூன்று பாடல்களும் கவியரசின் கைவண் ணத்தில் உருவாக,மெல்லிசை மன்னர்[கள்] இசைவிருந்து  படைத்தனர் 

  சோகத்தை அழகாக்கி,அழகை சோகத் துடன் வெளிப்படுத்தி,'வைதேகி காத்திருந்தாள்'திரைப்படத்தில் எஸ்.ஜானகியின் மனதை உலுக்கும் குரலில்  இதயத்தில் ஈட்டியெனப் பாய்ந்த பாடலே,

"அழகு மலர் ஆட அபிநயங்கள் கூட 

சிலம்பொலியும் புலம்புவதுமேன்" 

  எனும் வாலியின் வலிசுமந்த வரிகள். இசைஞானியின் இசையில்,காலம் சென்ற ராகவேந்திராவின் நட்டுவனார் பங்கேற் பும்,ரேவதியின் அசுரவேக நடனமும்  உள்ளடக்கி,இப்பாடல் அழகின் ஆழம் கண்டது  எனலாம்.

  அழகை வார்த்தைகளால் வடித்தெடுத்து, கவிதைக்கு மட்டுமல்லாது, தமிழ்த் திரைக் கும் பெருமை சேர்த்த மூன்று பாடல்களை அள்ளித்தந்தார், கவிப்பேரரசு வைரமுத்து. அதில் முதலாவதாக வந்ததே,'புதிய முகம்' என்னும் திரைப்படத்தில் இடம்பெற்ற, 

"கண்ணுக்கு மை அழகு

கவிதைக்கு பொய் அழகு

கன்னத்தில் குழி அழகு 

கார் கூந்தல்பெண் அழகு

இளமைக்குநடை அழகு 

முதுமைக்கு நரை அழகு 

கள்வர்க்கு இரவழகு 


நிலவுக்கு கரை அழகு 

பறவைக்கு சிறகழகு 

அவ்வைக்கு கூன் அழகு 

அன்னைக்கு சேய் அழகு

விடிகாலை விண்ணழகு 

விடியும்வ ரை பெண் அழகு

நெல்லுக்கு நாற்றழகு

தென்னைக்கு கீற்றழகு

ஊருக்கு ஆறழகு 

ஊர்வலத்தில் தேர் அழகு

தமிழுக்கு ழா அழகு 

தலைவிக்கு நான்அழகு" 

    எனும்,தீந்தமிழ் வரிகளால், திரையிசை யில் இலக்கியம் படைத்த பாடல்இசைப் புயல் ஏ.ஆர்.ரெஹ்மானின் இசையுடன் கலந்து,உன்னி மேனனின் காந்தக் குரலில்  என்னமாய் இதயத்தை வருடியது ப்  பாடல்!    

  அடுத்தது சூப்பர்ஸ்டாரின் 'பாஷா' திரைப்படத்தில் தேனிசைத் தென்றல் தேவாவின் இசையில்,கே.எஸ் சித்ராவும் எஸ்.பி.பி யும் ஆனந்தப்பரவசத் தில் பாடிய, 


"அழகு அழகு

நீ நடந்தால் நடை அழகு

நீ சிரித்தால் சிரிப்பழகு

நீ பேசும் தமிழ் அழகு

நீ ஒருவன் தான் அழகு

அழகு அழகு அழகு”

ஓஓ நெற்றியிலே சரிந்து விழும்

நீள முடி அழகு

அந்த முடி கோதுகின்ற 

அஞ்சு விரல் அழகு

அழகு அழகு...................


அழகு அழகு

நீ நடந்தால் நடை அழகு

நெருங்கி வரும் இடை அழகு

வேல் எரியும் விழி அழகு

பால் வடியும் முகம் அழகு

ஓஓ தங்க முலாம் பூசி வைத்த

ஆங்கம் ஒரு அழகு

தள்ளி நின்று எனை அழைக்கும்

தாமரையும் அழகு

அழகு அழகு அழகு அழகு".

   எனும் இனிய டூயட் பாடல். சுரேஷ் கிருஷ்ணாவின் இயக்கத்தில்,புதுமை யான காட்சியமைப்புகளுடன் தேவாவின் இதமான இசையோட்டத்தில், இரு இசைச் செல்வங்கள் குரல்களில் என்றென்றும் இனிக்கும் பாடலாகும் இது. மூன்றாவதாக 'லவ் டுடே'{Love Today} திரைப்படத்தில் இளைய தளபதிக்காக,ஷிவாவின் இசையில்,பாடுநிலா எஸ. பி.பி பாடிய, 

"என்ன அழகு எத்தனை அழகு 

கோடி மலர் கொட்டிய அழகு

இன்று எந்தன் கை சேர்ந்ததே

சின்ன அழகு சித்திரை அழகு 

சிறு நெஞ்சை கொத்திய அழகு 

இன்று எந்தன்தோள் சாய்ந்ததே" 

  எனும் இந்த  அருமையான வரிகள்,  ஒய்யாரமாய் அழகை தனது  டமை யாக்கிய பெருமையில்,காதல் வயப்பட்ட இளைஞனின் பெருமிதத்தை நம்முடன் பங்குவைத்தன.அழகை சிந்தையில் போற்றி கொண்டாடிய இந்த மூன்று பாடல்களும்,தமிழ்திரையின் இசை வரலாற்றுப் பக்கங்களை  செழுமையுடன் கூட்டின என்றுதான் கூறவேண்டும்.   

  இதேபோன்று நம் சுவாசத்துடன் அழகைச் சேர்த்த பாடலே 'சைவம்' திரைப்படத்தில் அமரர் நா.முத்துக்குமாரின் அழகடர்ந்த சொல்வளத்தால் சொர்க்கம் படைத்த, 

"அழகே அழகே எதுவும் அழகே 

அன்பின் விழியில் எல்லாம் அழகே

மழை மட்டுமா அழகு 

சுடும் வெயில் கூட ஒரு அழகு

மலர் மட்டுமா அழகு 

விழும் இலை கூட ஒரு அழகு


புன்னகை வீசிடும் பார்வைகள் அழகு 

வார்த்தைகள் தீர்கையில் மௌனங்கள் அழகு

நன்மைக்கு சொல்லிடும் பொய்களும் அழகு

உண்மை அதுதான் மெய்யாய் அழகு


இயற்கையோடு இணைந்தால்

உலகம் முழுதும் அழகு 

கவலை யாவும் மறந்தால் 

இந்த வாழ்க்கை முழுதும் அழகு


பூக்கும் பூவில் வீசும் 

வாசம் என்ன அழகு

அதையும் தாண்டி வீசும் 

நம் நேசம் ரொம்ப அழகு

  இந்த ஏற்றமிகு வரிகளை மழலை மொழி யில்,பாடகர் உன்னி கிருஷ் ணனின் மக்கள் உத்தரா கிருஷ்ணன் பாட,அதற்கு ஜி.வி பிரகாஷ் நீரலையில் மிதக்கும் மலர்கள் போல,இசையமைத்திருந்தார். அழகு ஒரு அழியா ஆனந்த பரவசம்  என்பதை, எவ்வளவு இதிகாசத்தன்மை யுடன் இது போன்ற பாடல்கள் வெளிப் படுத்துகின் றன. 

   அழகை  தமிழாக்கி,தமிழை அமுதாக்கி, கற்பனையால் கவிதை கோபுரங்கள் உருவாக்கிய,திரையிசைக் கவிஞர்களும், அவர்களால் பெருமையுற்ற தமிழ்திரை யும்,அழகைப் பற்றிய பாடல்களை ஆலய  மணிகளாய் என்றென்றும்  ஒலிக்கச் செய்து,மனதிற்குள் மங்களம் சேர்க்கின் றன. 



Sunday, August 1, 2021

Pre -Independence Heroes and Heroines of Tamil Cinema

{P.U Chinnapa}






  Tamil cinema had established a place for itself even before the independence of India.Though technically it was on the way to upgradation,there was no dearth of storyline nor was there any paucity for acting skill. 

  As the stage for drama was well laid much earlier than the inception of cinema,there were men of calibre to lift Tamil Cinema to the next stage.It was not yet the time of mass heroes like MGR and Sivaji Ganesan.Though MGR set his foot in Tamil cinema before India's independence he could establish himself as an independent hero only at the dawn of independence.However there were high sounding heroes of popularity like Honnapa Bhagavdhar,as well as the astounding super heroes like M.K.Thiagaraja Bagavadhar and P.U Chinnappa with their singing voice mould capable of enchanting a huge line of audience.

  Honnappa Bhagavadhar who hailed from the Kannada region was busy with Tamil Cinema from 1941 to 1959.His films like Krishna Kumar,Sri Murugan{in which MGR also joined him}Arundhadhi,Valmiki,Sadha Sukanya, Prabhavadhi,Sodhanai,Deva Manohari,were some of his widely received films.His female pairs were T.R.Rajakumari,U.R.Jeeva Rathinam, N.C.Vasanthakokilam,K.Malathi,Pandari Bhai and P.Bhanumathi.Besides acting Honnappa Bhagavadhar also produced the famous film Uzhavukkum Thozhilukkum Vandhanai Seivom released in 1959.This film had Prem Nazir and E.V.Saroja playing the lead roles and it was directed by M.A.Thirumugam.

 Mayavaram Krishnasami Thyagaraja Bhagavadhar and Puthukkottai Ulakanadha Pillai Chinnappa were contemporary heroes who moved to stardom as the first super heroes creating a conflict of interests between their fans. Bhagavadhar was six years older than Chinnappa and appeared first in Tamil Cinema in 1934 with the film Pavalakodi directed by K.Subramanyan. Chinnappa's first film was Jupiter pictures' Chandrakantha.Both were talented singers but Bhagavadhar's scintillating voice conquered the hearts of music lovers with grace charm and extraordinary reach.Nevertheless both the heroes could make only their short innings because of various depressing events in their life.

 Bhagavadhar's list of films were,Ambikabadhi,Haridas,Sivakavi,Thirneelakandar, Amara Kavi Ashok Kumar Rajamukthi{in both these films MGR also did roles}Naveena Sarangadhara, Sathyaseelan{in which Bhagavadhar did dual roles}Chintamani,Pudhuvaazhvu and Sivakami {which was released after his death}.Bhagavadhar also produced the films Sathyaseelan and Pudhuvaazhvu.His female pairs were,S.D.Subbulakshmi,M.S.Devasena,K.Aswathamma, M.R.Santhanalakshmi,P.Kannamba,S.Jeyalakshmi,N.C.VasanthaKokilam,T.R.Rajakumari, V.N.Janaki,S.Varalakshmi,Lalitha and G.Varalakshmi.Most of his films were great hits and Haridas ran for three years at the Sun Theatre in Broadway,Chennai.

  Though P.U Chinnappa was introduced by Jupiter films,it was Modern Theatres that made him stamp his power of acting through the mega hit film Uthama Puthiran.{Later Venus Pictures came out with Sivaji Ganesan's Uthama Puthiran which was also a great hit}Chinnapa's other films with the Modern Theatres were Thayalan,Dharma Seelan and Manonmani.He did a few more films for Jupiter pictures of which Kannagi and Mahamaya stand out as Chinnapa's prime entries with that production house. His other major hits were Jegadhala Pradhaban,Aariyamala and Mangayarkarasi,all with Pakshiraja films.His film Rathnakumar inducted MGR in an important role.Chinnapa's most frequent female pair was T.R.Rajakumari followed by P.Kannamba and P.Bhanumathi

  Bhagavadhar was entangled in the murder case of Lakshmikanthan along with N.S.Krishnan and suffered imprisonment for two years which demoralised his frame of mind,besides affecting his fortunes.Though he had a spiritual bent of mind and dedicated most of his vocal wield for devotional songs his last days were really miserable and he died before seeing fifty years.Whereas Chinnappa died a sudden,untimely death when he was just thirty five years old.Though he had made a lot of fixed assets as houses in Pudhukottai his unforeseen death created shock waves in the film circle and his death was followed by poverty striking his wife and son,the reasons for which are said to be a case of mystery.

  There was a breezy hero during the pre independence period called M.K.Rdha whose father Madras Kandasamy Mudaliyar was a drama teacher.M.K.Rdhakrishnan who became M.K.Radha was introduced as hero in Sathileelavadhi{1936}directed by Ellis.R.Dungan in which MGR also played a supporting role.The screen play for this film was made by Kandasamy Mudaliyar.Then it was Gemini Studios'S.S Vasan who took M.K.Radha into lime light by his mega hit films like Chandralekha,Aboorva Sagodhararkal{dual roles}Samsaram,Moonru Pillaigal and Avvaiyar.All these films made history in Tamil cinema.

   Some of the other pouplar films of M.K.Radha during the early years were,Chandra Mohana, Maya Macheendra,Vanamohini and Kannamma En Kadhali.Porter Kandan,Pasavalai and Gnana Soundari were the other post independence remarkable entries of M.K.Radha,He then took up the roles of kings in films like Vanangamudi and Uthamaputhiran.The other Sivaji Ganesan films that Radha acted were as Kambar in Ambikapathi and as Padmini's father in Pudhayal.M.K.Radha's famous female pairs were M.S.Gnanambal{who became his spouse}  Pushpavalli, M.R.Sandhanalakshmi,K.Thavamani,P.Kannamba,P.Bhanumathi,G.Varalakshmi and Pandarbhai.Reputed film columnist Randor Guy called M.K.Radha 'the toast of theatre and cinema'.M.K.Radha cherished patriotism on stage and he was awarded Padmashri by the then President of India

   During this period there was an absolutely dynamic and sparkling actor called Ranjan whose original name was Ramanarayana Venkataramana Sarma,who was introduced in the film Ashok Kumar,starring M.K Thyagaraja Bhagavadhar,in the role of Gautama Bhuddha and later he appeared as Rishyasringar in the film bearing his role as title.But it was the most popular film Mangamma Sabadham made by S.S.Vasan that threw Ranjan to limelight.Ranjan rose to fame again as a celebrated villain in the epoch making film Chandralekhan as the power hungry younger brother of M.K.Radha.Movie lovers of those days who are still alive,will be cherishing in their memory the vulpine smile and the sharp dialogues of Ranjan in Chandralekha.

  Ranjan's next film as hero was Devar's Neelamalai Thirudan, in which he was paired with Anjalidevi.The song "Sathiyame Latchiyamaai kolladaa" by T.M.Soundarajan still echoes in audience memory with the musical mode imitating horse's clamps.Ranjan also acted in Minnal Veeran.He was like a flash of lightning on Tamil big screen and faded away all of a sudden.Ranjan was an architect by his academic records and was an avid lover of dance and music.He ran his own music and dance school in Chennai.He is said to have passed  away in New Jersey,United States.

  Yet another great actor of those days was Serukulathur Sama.He appeared in titular roles in Krishnan Thoodhu {1940}Shailak {1940}and Baathruhaari{1944}.In fact his first role itself was as Lord Krishna in Draupati Vastra paharanam{1935} and later in MKT's Chintamani {1937} Then he became Kambar in MKT's Ambikabadhi,Kanvarishi in M.S.Subbulakshmi's Sakuntalai, Sundara mamunivar in P.U.Chinnapa's Manonmani,as vedhiyar in Nandanar,as a sage in MGR's Marmayogi and as a Budhist Monk in Burma Rani.His other notable films were,M.K.T's Rajamukthi,Sivakavi and Thiruneelakandar and other well known films like Ezhai Padum Padu, Panam Paduthum Seyyum,Manithan Maravillai and Pattinathaar. 

  The other notable heroes of the Pre independence era were,K.R.Ramasamy, T.R.Mahalingam and T.R.Ramachandran.Of these,the first two were actors-cum singers and the third hero carried a comic vibe in his acting style.T.R.Mahalingam's singing wield and depth were incomparable.All the three heroes have already found a suitable place in separate articles of this blog. 

    Among the heroines of Tamil cinema, who started their career during the pre independence era many of those paired with MKTand Chinnappa,were not not to be seen with the next generation's two mass heroes MGR and Sivaji Ganesan.However V.N.Janaki who started her career as a dancer in Manmadha Vijayam in 1939,continued her dancing roles in a few more films and became a lead actress in Sakada Yokam.Her next famous film was Raja Mukthi in which M.K.T was the hero and MGR did a supporting role.

  After this Janaki was paired with MGR in films like Mohini and Marudha Naattu Ilavarasi,both Jupiter Pictures' releases.She also acted with MGR in Naam.But her most celebrated film was Aayiram Thalaivaangiya Aboorva Chinatamani produced by the Modern Theatres and she did a dynamic role play as Chintamani.Later she was paired with N.N.Kannappa in Devaki and her last film was Citadel Pictures' Vijayapuri Veeran. She became MGR's life partner and was the first woman chief minister of Tamil Nadu,for a short spell,after the passing away of MGR in 1987.

    Another exsquisite heroine of that period was Madhuridevi who was assigned a small role in M.K.Thyagaraja Bhagavadhar's Ambikapathi {1939}.Then she acted in Pandurangan and Vaayadi but found a significant role in Aayiram Thalaivangiya Aboorva Chintamani along with the main star V.N.Janaki.Following this she shared screen space with Janaki in films like Rajamukthi, Mohini, and Devaki.But she will be ever remebered for her wonderful role in Mandhirikumari and the song'Vaaraai Nee Vaarai'will bring her to audience memory along with the scene showing her push down her evil husband{S.A.Natarajan} to death from a hill top,for the sake of her country. 

   Madhuridevi was paired with MGR in Marmayogi and Kumari,besides doing a strong role in MGR's most popular film Mohini,being paired with T.S.Balaiah.Then in Jupiter Pictures' Kanniyin Kaadhali based on Shakespeare's Twelfth Night,Madhuridevi played dual roles. She also did a vital role in MGR's tragic film En Thangai.Her other notable films were Manidhanum Mirugamum of Sivaji Ganesan, Thai Ullam of Gemini Ganesan,{mentioned as R.Ganesh} Zamindar{another S.A.Natarajan film}Asai Anna Arumai Thambi{with A.P.Naga rajan}Mala Oru Mangala Vilakku and later in Kojum Salangai in a character role.

  There was another a performance oriented heroine called B.S.Saroja,who also like V.N.Janaki, started her career as a dancer in the film Madhanakamarajan{1941} and continued as a dancer in a few films.She was assigned a role in the film Vikatayogi{1946}.Her flair for acting soon enabled her to be paired with MGR in films like Jenoah,Koondukkili and Puthumai Pithan. With a pair of fascinating eyes like T.R.Raja kumari,B.S.Saroja gave impressive performances in films like Modern Theatre's Vannakkili &Kumudham and later as the sister of Arunagirinadhar, in the film bearing the saint's name as title.   

   Actresses like T.R.Rajakumari,P.Kannamba, Pandaribai,P.Bhanumathi,S.Varalakshmi and G.Varalakshmi continued their film journey for quite long.T.R.Rajakumari acted in the titular role in Gemini Studios'epic film Chandralekha and was seen as Sivaji Ganesan's young step mother in Anbu and then as a vamp in his films Manohara and Thangapadhumai.She acted with MGR in Gulebhagavali and Puthumai Pithan and then took up roles as MGR's elder sister in Periya Idathu Penn and finally as his mother in Paasam.She also did an impressive elderly role in SSR's film Vanambadi.She is remembered for her enchanting eyes and captivating delivery of dialogues.She has also been given due space in another article of this blog

  S.Varalakshmi was paired with MGR in Chakravarthi Thirumagal and with Sivaji Ganesan in Veera Paaniya Kattabomman.Later she did powerful mother roles in films like Panama Paasama, Poova Thalaiyaa and positive mother roles in MGR's Maatukkaara Velan and Needhikku Thalai Vanangu.G.Varalakshmi was one of the female pairs of MGR in Gulebagavali. She was paired with Sivaji Ganesan in Naan Petra Selvam.Later she appeared in a formidable mother role in AVM's Kuzhandhaiyum Dheivamum.But her most popular film was Aaravalli.Apart from V.N.Janaki,B.S.Saroja and Madhuridevi all the other actresses listed here,have found their fitting space in separate articles in this blog.

   Above all who can forget the doyen of classical music M.S.Subulakshmi?It was she who took Tamil cinema to its spiritual glory by her two monumental films Meera and Shakuntala.Tamil cinema as well as Tamil film audience literally owe a lot to these founding pillars of Tamil Cinema of whom many were singers-cum actors.This post is a passionate tribute to all of them.