Friday, July 15, 2022

The Pothen impact on Tamil Cinema


                 {Homage to Pratap Pothen}

    Pratap Pothen,a multilingual actor {Malayalam,Tamil,Telugu & Hindi}is no more today.The moment one thinks of this actor of a unique brand,his egg shaped eyes would come to one's memory. Introduced into Tamil Cinema,by the exsquisite film maker Balu Mahendra,in his very first Tamil film Azhiyadha Kolangal,Pratap Pothen gained space in a distinct hero role,in Balu Mahendra's most talked about and highly rated film Moodu Pani.In a psychologically lowdown role with a depressing past,Pothen excelled in his role play,creating almost a sense of horror about him.

  Pothen has acted in about 50 Tamil films both as secondary hero and later in endearing character roles.In K.Balachander's Varumaiyin Niram Sigappu,he co-starred with Kamalahasan and in portraying the role of an eccentric film director making awkward moves towards an actress,he displayed a kind of memorable impatience going to the extent of calling himself,an 'incompetent idiot'.{the word 'incompetent'is now becoming an unparliamentary word,though}.

  Pratap Pothen did main roles along with film maker Visu in two films.The first film Kudumbam Oru Kadhambam directed by S.P.Muthuraman was based on a stage play of Visu,bearing the same title.The second film Penmani Aval Kanmani,was directed by Visu himself and no one can forget the tough time that Pothen had with Visu, donning the role of his father,with his popular pseudonym Radio Mama.The vigorous gossip and the needless intereference of his father in other people's affairs,caused Pothen delicate and nervous moments,which he passively endured,as a father-doting son.

  Pothen's other significant Tamil entries are Panneer Pushpangal,Nenjathai Killaadhe,Amaran,Rajinikanth's Thillumullu,Padikkadhavan of Danush,Kamal's Vaazhve Mayam&Pesum Padam,Ram,{as a Psychiatrist},Sindhu Bhairavi,Puthumai Penn,Jallikattu, Priyasakhi,Karthik's Aayirathil Oruvan&Alex Pandian,Remo,Poojai and Kolaiyudhir Kaalam.

  Recently he played a very impressive role,as a meritorious academician,training a plus two girl for the IIT exam.The film Kamali from Nadukkaaviri,was one of the cleanest Tamil films,like his earlier films Panneer Pushpangal and Nanri Meendum Varuga.His last Tamil film was in the role of a doctor,in Vijay Sethupathi's Tughlaq Dharbar.

  Pratap Pothen directed the film Meendum Oru Kadhal Kadhai,sharing screen space with Radhikha,who produced the film.He had also directed films like Vetri Vizha and My Dear Marthandan,made under the Sivaji Productions banner,Jeeva,starring Sathyaraj and made by Sathyajothi Films and Seevalaperi Pandi starring Napoleon. All the four films  received great audience support.His other directorial ventures in Tamil were Makudam,another Sathyaraj film and Lucky Man,that had Karthik Muthuraman playing the lead role.

 Pothen is an awardee of several Malayalam films and his loss will certainly be heavier for Malayalam Cinema,which has about five films under production,with him playing vital roles.In his passing away Tamil cinema has lost a very endearing actor,with an exceptional capacity for playing soft roles,with his bold eyes and shivering voice.Tamil Cinema owes him a special place too.