Friday, March 1, 2024

The theme of challenge in Tamil films

   Life is full of challenges. Fear challenges hope. Hatred challenges love. Defeat challenges victory. Rivalry is both an interesting and injurious factor of life,involving excitement  rancour and risks.However,in every field of rivalry,how each one surmounts the risks, becomes a delightful experience.We can shortly say that life would become an insipid course, without vows and challenges.

  Nevertheless,if ego alone becomes the challenging factor,the person holding ego as their top most priority,would finally fall into the ditch of defeat and humiliation.This article discusses the success of good will challenges, against the ghastly force of wealth,power and ill conceived ideological superiority,or ego-loaded self-supremacy. 

  Some of the films of K.R.Vijaya,like Sabadham (Vow),and Mayor Meenatchi had a lot of challenges thrown and won by this stalwart actress. Especially her challenges against T.K.Bhagavadhi in Sabadham,and those against V.K Ramasamy in Mayor Meenatchi,were quite fascinating with entanglements and knots, unfolding the way by which this brave woman character disentangled them and achieved her goals.In Sabadham she smartly exposed the foul designs of the evil twin brother(T.K.Bhagavadhi) and in Mayor Meenatchi,she successfully brought to light,the corrupt activities of the politician,played by V.K.R.

  Films like Savaal, Savale Samali,Panama Paasama,Kulama Gunama,Uyiraa Maanama, Poovaa Thalaiyaa,and Pattikkaadaa pattanama, carried the undercurrent of challenging tones in their titles too.Similarly films like Pandhayam, Annamalai, Mr.Bharath,Thiruvilaiyaadal Aarambam and the two versions of Maappillai, dynamically carried on the spirit of challenge.

  In all these films,the challenges were between most intimate friends who became arch rivals under vicious circumstances,{Pandhayam& Annamalai} between husband and wife,with ideoligical and biased notions,(Pattikkaadaa Pattanamaa& Savaale Samaai)between brothers over misconstrued contexts (Kulama Gunama), between father and son in establishing the truth(Mr.Bharath),between a mother-in-law and son-in-law,{Panamaa Paasamaa,Poovaa Thalaiyaa and Maapillai} or between two prospective brothers- in -law,concerning love and marriage {Thiruvilaiyaadal Aarambam} . Mostly,ideological differences or social status differences would form the crux of any film, dealing with the theme of challenge.

  Both in Panama Paasama and Poovaa Thalaiyaa,it was the veteran actress S.Vara lakshmi who as an arrogant mother in law,threw tough challenges,born of the weight of wealth against her sons-in-law,who were economically very poor.It was Gemini Ganesan in Panama Paasamaa and  Nagesh in Poova Thalaiya. However in the latter,her challenges were more strongly thrown against her docile son-in-law's (Gemini Ganesan again) younger brother.  (decently played by Jai Shankar).In both the films,the well-contrived situations,and the powerfully written dialogues to suit those situations,made the challenge component,both compact and convincing.Finally,the challenging woman was made to feel humble,in both the films.

   Credit should be given to  K.S.GopalaKrishnan and K.Balachander,the excellent makers of the two films,for taking the tone of challenge to its height,through fiery dialogues reflecting profuse levels of confidence and dynamism,between the challenging individuals,in making their challenges deeply grooved to the core of narration.

  K.Balchander's Thamarai Nenjam was a challenge between two intimate women friends who silently and mutually struggled to forego their love for the same man,by sacrificing their love for the benefit of the other.Ironically,the challenge ultimately led to the suicide of one of them, to establish the exaltation of sacrifice through a challenging catharsis.Conversely,on a humorous track,in another Balachander film, Nagesh would challenge Major Sundarajan that he would make the latter call him "worst rascal" and finally win his challenge.

  Both Savaale Samali and Pattikkadaa Pattanama were based on challenges between husband and wife,one regarding emotional and familial values and the other about the superiority of rural grandeur over urban takeaways.In both the films,Sivaji Ganesan and Jeyalalitha were the power-backed,quarrelsome couple.Finally,the victory of the hero implied not the victory of male chauvinism,but that of traditional,social and moral values,against caste prejudices and negative modern perceptions. 

  While the challenge was between the two friends Gemini Ganesan and A.V.M.Rajan in Pandhayam,consequent upon each of them taking the other's route to carve their future,in Annamalai the challenge between two close friends was a sequel to one of them falling into the trap of the evil designs of his father.The second half of'Annamalai'was a sequence of vigorous challenges thrown by Annamalai, (amazingly portrayed by Rajinikanth) against his rich friend Ashok,(meekly played by Sarath Babu,with dignity and firmness).Savaal was a challenge between brothers separated in childhood.

  Films like Vanjikkottai Vaaliban and Thillaanaa Mohanaambaal focused on the challenging, competitive spirit displayed in dancing.While the challenge was between two women dancers in the former,the latter,dynamically exhibited the male,musical pride of a Naadhawaram expert and a queen of dancing.These two films created moments of tremendous pleasure for the audience,who were involved in watching the challenging spirit,with their eyes glued to the big screen.

  An ace film maker like A.P.Nagarajan fascinatingly brought to light the divine challenging modes of gods and goddesses in a couple of his films,through his mythological delineation.In Thiruvilaiyaadal he powerfully captured the challenging spirit between Lord Shiva and his consort Shakthi.

  Besides that,there was also a poetic debate between the court's chief poet Nakkeeran and Lord Shiva in the guise of another poet,about the issue of aroma found in the hair of women. The debate ended up in fiery challenges between the two.It went to the extent of Nakkeerar authentically insisting upon his view,that natural aroma of hair was impossible in the hair of women and the same yardstick was applicable to Goddess Parvathi too.This resulted in the infuriated Lord Shiva burning Nakkeera, with his third eye from his forehead.When all this drama was over,Lord Shiva finally admired the poetic integrity of the court poet and restored life to him,besides exhibiting his divine profile to the poet. 

  In A.P.Nagarajan's Saraswathi Sabatham it was a mighty declaration of challenge pronounced by the three goddesses of art,wealth and bravery to emphatically establish the relevance and value of one field over the other.The challenges of the three goddesses were enacted through human characters,by transforming them from their original status and frame of mind,into new born representatives of the power of art,wealth and bravery. 

  Each human representative of the aforesaid values would be seen challenging and counter challenging one another,and finally the goddesses themselves would appear before the human characters,for a proper settlement of the issue on hand.The ultimate settlement was that only a perfect unison of the three values,could afford completeness and glory for any society. 

  The examples mentioned in this post are just a few.One could recall many more Tamil films, wherein,the theme of challenge was deftly handled by highly imaginative,and effectively creative film makers.As throwing challenges is one of the most interesting aspects of life,many among the audience would have thoroughly enjoyed the whole lot of narration in such films, unfolding lovely challenges and their characteristic culmination.



  1. சவால்கள், ஒருவருக்கு உடன் பிறப்பு போன்றவை. உடன் பிறப்பு இல்லா பிறப்பு ? பாழ்! சவால் இல்லாத வாழ்க்கை..சவலைப் பிள்ளையாய் யாராலும் கவனிக்க படாமல் போய்விடுகிறது.

  2. A positive review in appreciation of the theme of the content which is taking a deviation from the normal villainous and romantic route!