Thursday, February 8, 2018

S.A. Asokan,An Actor of Decibel and Dynamism.

    Among villains of early Tamil Cinema,no one would have been so loud as S.A. Asokan in articulating words of villainy. No doubt M.N.Nambiar also used to increase his decibel here and there. P.S.Veerappa felicitously performed his bad roles with his crude looks and serial serpentine laugh. S.A.Asokan with his hefty body and high profile appearance, came into Tamil Cinema during the early Nineteen Fifties and enjoyed the loudness in his voice as his potential trait of villainy, reflecting detestable fury on his face.May be he had to cleverly manipulate his voice vigor because he had a pair of eyes as obvious indicators of compassion and love.It was his soft looks that made him perform character roles in a much better way than the other two villain actors.
    The magnitude of Asokan's voice was a piece of challenge to the ears of audience in films like Veera Thirumagan, Kaaval kaaran Adimai Penn and Rickshakaaran. As a henchman of M.N.Nambiar,the irredeemable villain of the film Kavalkaran,I still remember how Asokan would angrily shout at his master who betrayed him.The way he loudly uttered the name 'Marudhachalam'{that was Nambiyar's name in Kavalkaran} is still echoing in my ears.The decibel that he created as a villain in Adimai Penn was exceedingly characteristic of his villainy.Perhaps it is the innate fury in his voice that enabled him to perform evil, mythological characters such as Dhuriyodhana and Soorapadman in the films Karnan and Kandan Karunai. Asokan's voice blasted in the theaters especially, while watching the film Kandan Karunai.
    But this guy could also perform villainy with an exemplary sense of humor in films like Naan, Moonrezhuthu,Namnaadu, Neelagiri Express and Vairom. Humor-prone villainy not only reduced the loudness of his voice but also changed the profile of the villain, that he played.He would deliver dialogues in a sweet coated way and crush his traitors and enemies.In most of his later movies Asokan demonstrated  the strength of his villainy through this fresh dimension. 
    Asokan became an inseparable part of quite a number of MGR films.He not only did the character of a baddie but also adorned roles such as MGR's father {Dheivathai&Thanipiravi} father-in-law {Panakkaara Kudumbam} and elder brother {Thaai Sollai Thattaadhe, Kudumba Thalaivan & Thaaiku Thalai Magan}.Even in these roles he usually stood on the wrong side,waiting to be corrected or at times even killed by the hero. Asokan also did subtle villain roles in films like Kannan En Kaadhalan, Sange Muzhangu and Thedivandha Mappillai. Besides acting with MGR, he also produced a couple of MGR films like Thalaivan and Netru, Inru, Naalai.
    But Asokan was not always a villain.In royal roles, he was always dynamic as the Chola King in Paarthiban Kanavu and as the Chalukya King Pulikesi in Kanchi Thalaivan.He was a chic police officer in perfect form, in films like Aanandha Jodhi,Naan Anaiyittaal and Kuzhaindhakkaaga.His mysterious role play in the most popular thriller movie Adhe Kangal from the AVM banner, was a different character assigned to him and he performed it as impressively, as he did the other roles.
   Who can forget his role as hero in Modern Theatres' Vallavanukku Vallavan' in which Gemini Ganesan starred as villain.He also came as hero in the film Idhu Sathiyam paired with Chandrakantha,an actress with expressive eyes and ability to deliver Tamil dialogues with force and clarity. Some of the character roles he performed were as the elder brother of S.S.Rajentan in Manapandal and as Gemini Ganesan's elder brother in Paadha Kaanikkai.In both the films he was taken to bad ways and then reformed.He was also seen singing songs in the voice of T.M.Soundarajan and P.B.Srinivas. Songs such as 'Oer Aayiram Paarvaiyile' Udalukku Uyir Kaaval,'Sathiyam Idhu Sathiyam'and 'Veeduvarai Uravu'are not only thoughtful, philosophical melodies, but also valuable musical treasures of Tamil Cinema. 
      One of the unforgettable roles he performed was as Dr. Gopal, the soulmate of the hero Sivaji Ganesan, in A.V.M's Uyarndha Manidhan. It was a film wherein both the friends would love the same girl;but once Asokan comes to know that his love is one sided, he gulps the disappointment at one stroke and remains as the steadfast friend of the hero till the end.At one point in a drunken mood he would say "the day I came to know that Paarvathi was not to be there in my life, my heart became void and started beating like an old unusable watch" and that was usually, one of the most meaningful dialogues to be heard, only from a hero's mouth, in Tamil Cinema.
   Asokan has acted in a vast number of films with MGR,Sivaji Ganesan,Gemini Ganesan Jai Shankar and Ravichandran. Later he also did a couple of films each with Rajinikanth {Billa&Thee} and Kamalahasan {Ram Lakshman&Savaal} I would have seen a lot of his films.It is not necessary to record all the films here, because surpassing the number of films,the fact remains that Asokan is not just an actor of loud voice but is made of very many layers of action, hitting the roots of a galaxy of characters and capable of alluring the audience with eternal charm, style and steam. 

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Two Young Playback Singers with their Clarion Voices.


     The new age of Tamil Cinema can be proud of its position in a vast variety of its form, growth dimension and sense of purpose.It has achieved a state of magnificence in its musical appeal with a plethora of music composers and playback singers,occupying the center stage. This blog has already provided ample scope for the rightful recognition of great talents in the field of music, who have glorified the Tamil film industry ever since its inception.It includes a commendable list of music directors starting from G. Ramanathan and singers from M. K. Thiagaraja Bhagavadhar and T.R.Mahalingam. There are also articles adoring many of the enchanting women playback singers. 
   The early decades of Tamil Cinema, did not find a high inflow of talents into its fold on account of the fact,that both the stage and the screen were considered to be undesirable avenues for display of talents, due to conservative tendencies prevailing as mind blockers.In fact, most of the creative areas reflecting a socializing mindset, were treated as taboos.Nevertheless, there came into being a powerful body of creative human beings, giving a huge thrust and considerable impetus to the growth of drama and cinema. Music played its biggest role in supporting the growth trajectory of Tamil Cinema.
     As the film industry grew, it began to receive more and more participation of persons in the relevant areas.The number of music directors and playback singers increased correspondingly, so as to yield refreshing tunes with competitive vigor.With the birth of the new millennium accompanied by the technology boom, the focus on film music began to grow by leaps and bounds, with a variety of voices capable of delivering vocal dynamism with lyrical clarity and nuances in voice modulation.
   There are today loud and clear voices,soft and shrill voices and those that soothe and pierce.This blog has already given due credit to new wave singers like Shankar Mahadevan, Hariharan,Unni Krishnan and Udit Narayan  besides paying floral tributes to old time singers and their close followers like K.J.Yesudas, S.P.B, Mano and Unni Menon. Among the new comers there are two youngsters with  considerable age difference between themselves, who have made their clear voices talk to the soul of the audience, with their musical grandeur. They are Karthik and Haricharan, of whom the former is older by seven years than the latter and made his entry into Tamil playback singing, three years before his junior.
      Karthik who  sang his first song in the film 'Star', under the auspices of the Oscar winning A.R.Rehman, began to busily divide his time among the equally busy music composers A.R.Rehaman, Harris Jeyaraj,Yuvan Shankar Raja, Vidhyasagar, Ilayaraja,Deva and D.Imman. Haricharan who was introduced by Joshua Sridhar, with the mind blowing song "Unakkena Iruppein Uyiraiyum Koduppein"in the blockbuster film Kaadhal,has also sung for Yuvan Shankar Raja,A.R.Rehman,D.Imman,Ilayaraja and Vidya Sagar.I have brought these two young singers together, because both have beautifully brought the lyrical ecstasy of songs by their clarion voices.No one can say that they have missed words or not heard them in the clear, 'full -throated' voices of these two young talents. If Hari Charan's 'Unakkena Iruppein' has pierced our heart, so has the voice of Karthik in the song "Sakthi Kodu"from Baba for which A.R.Rehaman composed music.The other song "Maya Maya"was also an energetic number of Karthik in Baba.
     Some of the most memorable songs of Karthik are "Theradi Veedhiyil Dhevadha Vandhaa Thiruvizhaannu Therinjukko"{Movie:- 'Run'Music director Vidhya Sagar}"Suthudhe Suthudhe Bhoomi Podhumada Podhumada Sami""Kan Pesum Vaarthaikal"{ Payya and 7 G Rainbow Colony, both songs composed by Music director Yuvan Shankar Raja}"Orumaalai Ilaiyudhirkaalam"{Movie:-Gijini and song composed by Harris Jeyaraj}"Oliyile Therivadhu Devadhaiya"{Composed by Ilayaraja for the film Azhagi}July Malarkale {Film:-Bagavadhi Music by Deva} and "Maduhra Jillaa"{D.Imman's song for Thiruvilaiyaadal Arambam}
     Haricharan has also come out with quite a few invigorating songs like"Ayyayo Aanandame" {Kumki}"Paravaiyaa Porakkanum"and"Unna Ippo Paakkanum"{Kayal},both Prabu Solomon's films and for both the films, music was tuned by D.Imman.The song from Kumki mentioned here, was a paradoxical outburst of extreme joy with a negative word thrust and the way the song goes,shows how much the singer enjoys singing that song.It is one of my pet songs too.With the same vigor in voice Haricharan sings the song "Pookale Satru Oivedungal"for the film 'I'under the music composition of A.R.Rehaman, like the other soul making song "Usire Povudhu Usire Povudhu"sung by Karthik, in Raavanan and this song was also born of music composed by A.R.Rehman. Hari Charan's other notable songs under A.R.Rehman's composition are "Yei Sandi Kudhira"{Kaviya Thalaivan} and "Unmai Orunaal Vellum"{Linga}
      If Karthik mesmerized us by his song "Suthudhe Suthudhe Bhoomi"in Payya, Haricharan's "Thuli Thuli Thuli Mazhaiyaai Vandhaale"for the same film, took us on a ravishing journey of music with alluring ups and downs on the musical track.Similarly if Karthik sang the powerful "Unnaale Unnale" for the film carrying the same words as its title,Haricharan sang the heart warming song "Vaikaasi Nilave"for the same film.We were equally rejoiced over the two songs "Vizhi Moodi" and "Oh Aayiye Aayiye"sung by Karthik and Haricharan respectively for the film Ayyan.The other two vibrant numbers of Karthik and Haricharan are "Aadaatha Aattamellaam" of the former and "Thalivaa Thalaivaa" by the latter for the films Mounam Pesiyadhe and Thalaiva. While Yuvan Shankar Raja composed music for Mounam Pesiyadhe, G.V.Prakash Kumar took up the musical score for Thalaiva.
     I have mentioned here only a few songs of these two dynamic playback singers of the new age.What is special about them is their open voice and the dynamics of its clarity and characteristic reach.They sing to be heard,understood and enjoyed.They do not sing for themselves, swallowing syllables in the process of singing.They add relevant emotions to their voices and make the lyrical component of their songs carry the emotions in genuine proportion, as beautifully as possible.When one hears the song ''Yei Sandi Kudhira''one could feel the impact of a great voice like that of T.M.Soundarajan.The same impact is there in the song "Mundaasu Sooriyane"{Sanda Kozhi}that Karthik sings with Sriram. 
     The lovable voices of Karthik and Haricharan  are capable of generating both melodies and high sounding songs without spoiling lyrics at the cost of music, by any undue vocal valor or mindless voice manipulation ,during their singing process.With their clarion voices,they take us back to the glorious path of music, established by the monumental singers of the last millennium.They both have imbibed a note of modesty in their voices and it is this modesty that carries them closer to the audience, with the might of music.To conclude, the two songs of these two great singers, that I keep murmuring most of the time are,"Suthudhe Suthudhe" and "Thuli Thuli"  in Payya, a remarkable film of Karthik Sivakumar, directed by Lingusamy -- a film that will be ever remembered for its enriching musical core composed by the sweet musical heir {Yuvan Shankar Raja} of the prophet of music{Ilayaraja}.

Monday, January 15, 2018

The Mascot is back on Surya's Shoulders.


       Theme of reform and tone of rebellion are not new to Tamil Cinema.We have seen it enough.But here comes the movie Thaanaa Serndha Koottam with absolute irreverence to conventional norms in narration.Dialogues and body language resort to a total devil-may-care mode.There is enough humor but nothing through the straight door.It hits characters through the back doors with a lot of subtle and suggestive strokes.Starting from the hero's introduction,many things happen belying the expectation of the audience.While one would expect Thambi Ramaiah to commit suicide it is Kalaiyarasan who does that.However the unconventional pattern of progress of events  soon leaves the audience with their comfortable guessing about the climax of the movie.
    Suriya is both a natural actor and one who can blow up his role play with substantial hero image.While he performed naturally in films like Nanda,Pidhamagan Gajini,and Perazhagan, he could roar his might in the Singam series.After some serial failures this film definitely gives him a break.He is smart enough to  take himself perfectly to role delivery both naturally and with blown up demonstrations.'The self gathered gang' as the English version of the title would go,consists of five hardcore task performers with Suriya taking up the lead,followed by the 'iron lady' Remya Krishnan and unfailing guys like Sathyan, Sendhil and Sivasankar. Each of them does a very neat job too. Yesteryear romantic hero Sudhahar as the husband of Remya Krishnan escapes notice for want of poor close up shots. Keerthi Suresh gracefully utilizes the not too much scope given for role play.Both Nanda and Vinodhini Vaidhyanadhan are compact as cops. The menacing villainy of Anandaraj has been contained by meek moments, blended with a self defeating comedy element.
   Between Suresh Chandra Menon and Karthik Muthuraman,the former is wolfish but the latter steals the sheen of the wolf.The evil of Suresh Menon and the forthright handling of evil by Karthik, as officers of the same Bureau,carries a striking note of contrast. Anirudh contributes greatly to the success of the film by his most energetic numbers and impressive background score.The song 'Sodakkumele' with the high voltage rendering by Anthony dasan is in the line of Anirudh's 'Aalumaa Dolumaa' in Vedhaalam.'Sodakku' has not only the power of music but also comes out with meaningfully worded lyrics.A special mention has to be made about the cheeky mouth of R.J.Balaji who adds an endearing momentum to the film, whenever he appears.In fact, on stage while handling the crew of this film in a program, telecast on the Sun T.V, he showed  greater strength of spontaneity and dynamism of his presence of mind
   After Naanum Rowdidhaan, Vignesh Shivan has travelled more vigorously on his pet zone of unconventional narration without losing the core factors of entertainment. Dinesh Krishnan's cinematography seems to have significantly helped Vignesh Shivan, in achieving his desired results.Here and there there are a couple of scenes leading to a slackening of tempo.But on the whole, it comes as a mascot on Surya's shoulders after a slap of the jinx.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

பாடல்களால் பெருமையுற்ற தமிழ் திரைப்படங்கள்

       உப்பில்லாப் பண்டம் குப்பையிலே என்பர். அதுபோலவே இசையில்லாத் திரைப்படங்கள் இதயத் துடிப்பற்றவையே. பின்னணி இசையில்லாத திரைப்படம் பிணத்திற்கு  இணையெனலாம் .ஒரு திரைப்படத்தின் வெற்றிக்கு இசையும் பெரும் பங்கு வகிக்கிறது. பேசும் திரைப்படம் தொடங்கிய நாள் முதல் இன்றுவரை திரைப்படங்கள் திரையிசையால் திருவிழாக்கோலம் பூண்டுள்ளன.எல்லாத்திரைப்படங்களிலும் ஏதேனும் ஒரு பாடலாவது நெஞ்சில் நிற்க கூடும். ஒருபாடல் கூட நினைவுக்கு வராத கடந்த நூற்றாண்டுத் திரைப்படங்கள் மிகக்குறைவே .
     பாடும் நடிகர்களாகிய தியாகராஜ பாகவதர் மற்றும் டி.ஆர் மகாலிங்கம் போன்றோர்களின் பாடல்கள் பல, அவர்களின் திரைப்படங்களின் பெயர்களைச் சொல்லமுடியாவிட்டாலும் அவர்களின் அருமையான குரல் வளத்தால் நம் செவிகளிலும் மனதிலும்  அவ்வப்போது இன்னும் வலம்வந்து கொண்டி ருகின்றன. 'நீலகருணாகரனே நடராஜா நீலகண்டனே' 'பூமியில் மானிட ஜென்மமடைந்தும் புண்ணியமின்றி விலங்குகள் போல்' போன்ற பாகவதரின் பாடல்களும், 'செந்தமிழ்  தேன் மொழியாள்' 'இசைத்தமிழ் நீ செய்த யாரும் சாதனை' எனும் டி ஆர் மகாலிங்கத்தின் இசைச் சுவடுகளும் காலக்கரு வூலத்தின் பேழைகளாம். 
    ஆனால் எம். ஜி. ஆர், சிவாஜி கணேசன் காலத்தில், பின்னணிப் பாடகர்களின் முன்னணிப் பாடல்கள் திரைப்படங்களுக்கு தனி முகவரியைத் தேடித்தந்தன. குறிப்பாக எம் ஜி ஆர் திரைப்படங்களில், பாடல்களுக்கென சிறப்பு முக்கியத்து வம் அளிக்கப்பட்டு, அப்பாடல்களால் அவரின் செல்வாக்கு கூடியதை, அன்றைய திரைப்பட ரசிகர்கள் மறந்திருக்க வாய்ப்பில்லை.
     ஒரு திரைப்படத்தில் அனைத்து பாடல்களும் அற்புதமாக அமைவது அரிதே. பொதுவாக, எம் ஜி ஆரின் திரைப்படங்கலில் அவருக்கென டி .எம். எஸ் பாடிய அனைத்து பாடல்களுமே, அப்பாடல்கள் இடம்பெற்ற திரைப்படங்களுக்கு,ஒரு அசாதாரண அங்கீகாரத்தை தேடித்தந்தது எனலாம் .மலைக்கள்ளன் திரைப் படத்தில் வந்த 'எத்தனை காலம்தான் ஏமாற்றுவார் இந்த நாட்டிலே' என்ற பாடல் தொடங்கி பல்லாண்டு வாழ்க திரைப்படத்தில் இடம்பெற்ற 'ஒன்றே குலமென்று பாடுவோம்' வரை, அனைத்தும், 'எம் ஜி ஆர் பாடல்' எனும் தனிப்பெருமை பெற்றன, அப்பாடலை டி .எம். எஸ் பாடினாலும், ஏசுதாஸோ அல்லது எஸ் .பி. பி யோ பாடினாலும் அவை அனைத்துமே  தமிழகம் முழுவதும் தாரக மந்திர மாயின. 
      இருப்பினும் எல்லா எம். ஜி. ஆர் படங்களிலும் எல்லா பாடல்களும் நினைவுகொள்ளத்தக்கதாக இருந்தது என்று சொல்லமுடியாது. ஏனெனில், பாடல் வரிகளின் தன்மை, பாடகரின் அப்பாடல்மீதுள்ள ஈர்ப்பு, இசையமைப்பா ளரின் பாடல் அமைப்புமுறை, இவை அனைத்தும் ஒருங்கிணைந்து இறையருள் பெற்றால் மட்டுமே, ஒரு பாடல் அழியா நிலை அடைகிறது. இசைமலர்கள் கலைத்தாயின் பாதம் தொட்டு, கூடுதல் மணம்பரப்பும் என்பதே, இசைமரபாகும்.
    எம் ஜி ஆரின் புரட்சிப் பாடல்களைப் போன்று சிவாஜி கணேசனனின் தத்துவப் பாடல்கள் அர்த்தமுள்ள ஆழமான கருத்துக்களாலும்  அமுத இசையா லும் கேட்போரின் செவிகளில் தேனாக ஒலித்து ரசிகர்கள் மத்தியிலே சிந்தனைத் தேடலையும் சத்திய நெறியாளுமையையும் தோற்றுவித்தன. ஆலயமணியில் 'சட்டி சுட்டதடா'தொடங்கி 'போனால் போகட்டும் போடா'{பாலும் பழமும்} 'ஆறு மனமே ஆறு' {ஆண்டவன் கட்டளை} 'உள்ளம் என்பது ஆமை' {பார்த்தால் பசிதீரும்} போன்ற அகன்ற வாழ்வியல் சாலை வழியாக, அவன்தான் மனிதனின் 'மனிதன் நினைப்பதுண்டு வாழ்வு நிலைக்குமென்று ''ஆட்டு வித்தால் யாரொருவர் ஆடாதாரோ கண்ணா 'போன்ற பாடல்களால்  தத்துவம் ப்ரபஞ்சத்தைத் தொட்டது .
    மேலே குறிப்பிட்ட பாடல்கள் எல்லாம் ஆழ்கடலில் கவிஞர்கள் மூழ்கி எடுத்த முத்துக்களே 'அவற்றை இசைமேதைகள் மாலையாக்கி கலைத்தாய்க்கு அணிவித்து மகிழ்ந்தனர். கடந்த நூற்றாண்டில் வெளிவந்த பல தமிழ்த் திரைப்படங்களில் அவ்வப்போது இதுபோன்ற பாடல்கள்  அத்திரைப்படங்க ளுக்கு அமரத்துவம் அளித்தன. ஒருபடத்தில் ஓரிரு நல்ல பாடல்கள் என்ற நிலை கடந்து, சில சமயங்களில் ஒரு திரைப்படத்தின் அனைத்து பாடல்களுமே விரிந்த நீலவானமாய், அகன்ற காவிரியாய் ஆர்ப்பரித்து அத்திரைப்படத்தை ஆனந்த கொண்ட்டாட்டமாக்கின. 
    பட்டியலிட்டு சொல்லவேண்டுமெனில், பாலும் பழமும், பாவ மன்னிப்பு, ஆலயமணி, பார்த்தால் பசிதீரும், ஆண்டவன் கட்டளை, ஊட்டிவரை உறவு, போன்ற சிவாஜி கணேசன் திரைப்படங்களும் எம் ஜி ஆரின், அன்பே வா படகோட்டி, ஆயிரத்தில் ஒருவன், பணம் படைத்தவன் ,குடியிருந்த கோயில், உலகம் சுற்றும் வாலிபன், போன்ற திரைப்படங்களை குறிப்பிடலாம் .இந்த பட்டியலில் ஒரு சிலருக்கு மாறுபட்ட கருத்தும் இருக்கக்கூடும். இருப்பினும் என்மனதின் இசைத்தாக்கத்தை மட்டுமே இங்கே நான் கொண்டாட இயலும். எம் ஜி ஆர் சிவாஜி கணேசன் நடித்திராத வீரத்திருமகன், மற்றும், பாதகாணிக்கை, போன்ற திரைப்படங்களில், அனைத்து பாடல்களும் அருமையாக அமையப்பெற்ற காரணத்தால், இப்பட்டியலில் அவையிரண்டும் அடங்கும் என்பது என் கருத்தாகும்.
     இதே போன்று பின்னர் இசை ஞானி இளைய ராஜாவின் இசைமழையில் உயிர்பெற்றெழுந்த இசைக்கனிகளை, ஒரே கூடையாக இறக்கி வைத்த திரைப்படங்களில், பயணங்கள் முடிவதில்லை, உதய கீதம் ,வைதேகி காத்திருந்தாள், மெல்லத் திறந்தது கதவு,சின்ன தம்பி போன்ற பல திரைப்படங்கள்,இசையால் மட்டுமே  இதிகாச நிலைபெற்றன. எம் ஜி ஆரைப் போன்று இன்றைய கதாநாயகர்களில், விஜய் தன் திரைப்படங்களின் பாடல்களில் கூடுதல் கவனம் செலுத்துவதாகத் தோன்றுகிறது. பாடல்களால் பெருமையுற்ற திரைப்படங்களைக் காணும்போது, ஒரு திரைப்படத்தின் வெற்றிக்கு ,பாடல்களும் முக்கிய பங்கு வகிக்கிறது எனலாம்.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

The Missing Link of Mohan Raja.

     Mohan Raja's Velaikaran'has two heroes.Besides Sivakarthikeyan, it is the dialogue that draws the applause of the audience in the course of narration.Normally in a film of this kind, with abundant scope for challenges between the hero and the villain, it is the hero's punch dialogues that will govern the screen play.But here, the dialogues of several characters create a  greater, punching impact.From a playful, light-minded character running after his loved girls, Sivakarthikeyan has indisputably grown into a hero of purpose and performance.He measures his delivery of emotions as pointedly as possible.There is a perfect delivery of emotions even in the conventional funeral dance, that he performs to honor his murdered friend.Siva is as much a natural performer as Fahad Fazil is.The latter who has made his first entry into Tamil Cinema, is  cutely sleek and impressive as a born capitalist wolf ,awaiting its prey in the form of its work force and the victims of heinous marketing trends.The underplay of the hero and the villain and the blowing dialogue narrative, are a special treat of the film.
   The huge cast of the movie creates a lot of expectation leading to disappointments here and there.While Nayantara and Prakash Raj have been under utilized,actors like Rohini, Charliee and Vijay Vasanth {as Baghya }do cause significant emotional vibrations through their no nonsense performance.Rohini who tells her son how her stern looks submerged the nasty sexual overtures of her employers, makes her son grasp the concept of loyalty, with its roots firming up where and how they should. But Sneha's brief appearance is another failure on the part of the director to drive home the indispensable link of this character to the core of the theme and script .Owing to directorial drawbacks,like Nayantara,this fine actress also remains unimpressive.
    There is an inherent layer of intelligence connecting the characters and the progress of events to the screen play.But Mohan Raja used this technique more effectively in Thani Oruvan which also dealt with a similar theme of the atrocities of aggressive marketing.Thani Oruvan which showcased a character bound conflict between a cop and a marketing criminal, definitely reflected greater dynamism in narration. Whereas here, the thematic and narrative scope for intelligence has been let down by aberration in focus.For instance, when most of us would have expected a dramatic twist in the climax scene, it came as a dampener with a mere radio talk of exhortation, exposing the exploiting mindset of crooked growth-oriented marketing theories and practices, making the middle class consumers more and more vulnerable to life killing  food products, at the expense of its work force.But Sivakarthikeyan beautifully reflects the shock of distrust and disbelief caused by the secretly bullying schemes of the villainous Fahad Fazil ,with whom he blindly shared all his ideas and actions.
   Anirudh could not take his music closer to the heart of the audience beyond the background score.His force of music swallows the lyrics to a great extent thereby driving a wedge between tunes and words.Mohan Raja is always known for emphatic portrayal of events and characters. Starting from his first film Jeyam,he has earnestly stuck to this singularity in his direction.His Jeyam,M.Kumaran S/O Mahalakshmi,Santosh Subramanyan,Velayudham and Thani Oruvan made the audience sit up and watch the films scene by scene.But such a magic does not happen here.No doubt, the film has become a lofty ladder for taking Siva Karthikeyan to the next levels of his acting potential.No doubt, it has become an exquisite launch pad for Fahad Fazil to get closer to Tamil Cinema.No doubt the dialogue component, lifts the film to new heights.But somewhere Mohan Raja has gone wrong,to make the film more exciting ,with his innate and usual dynamics of film making.It is this self known pitfall, that has generated confusion in approach leading to a lack of  compact and convincing narration.


Saturday, December 16, 2017

Seeman, A Brief time Film maker of variety and Vigor.


      There are longtime film makers creating records with their focus uniquely fixed on their choice of one specific theme.It could be a family story, a rural tale, an absolute romance,an action thriller, a comedy track, a horror zone, a mythical fable, a historical narration,a psychological display or a spiritual  portrayal.At the most one could think of mixing comedy and romance in all these types of narration.But mostly, film makers get interested in any one of the areas of narration and go on making as many films as possible.A majority of film makers confine themselves to any one of the themes and try to excel in their narration.At times even small time film makers get locked up with one theme.For instance Rajiv Menon who did just two films could not cross his pet zone of romance both in Kandukondein Kandukondein and Minsaara Kanavu. Whereas, one could see director Seeman as a different film maker, who did five Tamil films with a sense of variety in his creativity.
   Today Seeman is seen more as a sensitive politician than a film maker.As this blog is exclusively meant for films it has no room for making observations about the political side of this brief time film maker.But there is a lot to say about his exceptional attributes of film making.Not inducting more than three heroes, Seeman has made five films with five different themes, that can not be related to one another. Prabu,Sathyaraj and Madhavan have been his three heroes. Paanchaalankurichi, Iniyavale, Veera Nadai,Vaazhthungal and Thambi are the five films he has made.While Prabu was the hero of the first two films,Madhavan was the protagonist of the last two. Satyaraj donned the role of the hero for Veera Nadai. Similarly three music composers took care of the music component of Seeman's films. Deva composed music for Panchaalangurichi,Iniyavale and Veera Nadai and Vidyasagar{background score by Mani Sharma} and Yuvan Shankar Raja were the music composers for Thambi and Vaazhthungal respectively.
     What makes Seeman a special film maker is his variety and vigor in narration. Seeman always sticks to the ground realities of his subject matter. His first film Panchaalankurichi which he directed when he was quite young, was an emotion packed rural drama with its intrigues and maneuvers of family feuds and delicate touches of romance.The film also carried a couple of  twists in narration.Both Prabhu and Vijayakumar took the film to its deserving heights and Madhubala with her refined and delicate portrayal, enriched the quality of romance. Panchaalankurichi was in compact form, with necessary emotional outbursts adding heaviness and efficacy to Seeman's sentimental narration of events.The film which opened with Seeman's acknowledgement of respect and gratitude for director Bharathiraja, became one of the best films of Prabhu and brought great credit to Seeman as a film maker.Incidentally, it was Seeman who wrote the story and dialogues for Bharathiraja's Pasumpon,which was the great director's yet another poignant narration of rural, family drama, with Sivaji Ganesan donning a catchy role and Radhika making an outstanding performance.
       Veera Nadai with the tall performance of Sathyaraj, did not go very well with the audience. Besides Satyaraj, the film had Kushboo,Chandrasekar,Arun Pandiyan Goundamani and Sendhil. One can always count on the brilliant performance of Sathyaraj when it comes to rural themes. His absorption of the village routine on the whole, is almost  part and parcel of his making as a person.No doubt he did his best as Periya Karuppan in Veera Nadai. Unusually, the film did not have the comedy parade of the duo Senthil and Goundamani which was popular those days. This was because Senthil played a negative role in the film, as the paternal uncle of Arun Pandian  who played villain.To be on a different line, the film also begins introducing the villain and his family, with their scheming mindset. Goundamani's verbal efficacy was a great feature of the film. The other notable aspect of the movie was Seeman's dialogue segment with a significant punch here and there, on what bravery really is.However, the movie was not a perfect Sathyaraj hit, in the line of his other films on rural lines like Thaai Maaman, Senadhipadhi,Vallal,Vela Kedachiduchu,Therku Theru Machan, Vaadhiyaar Veetu Pillai, Vandicholai Sinnarasu,Chinna Thambi Periya Thambi, Mallu Vetti Minor and Vaazhkai Chakkaram .
    Iniyavale was a subtle tale of romance depicting the highly vulnerable nature of womanhood as reflected in the characterization of Suvalakshmi.The narration was breezy with noticeable underplay of emotions in the character portrayal of the hero played by Prabhu. The movie impressively dealt with the psychological intricacies in man woman relationship and was less melodramatic when compared to Paanchaalangurichi. Deva's musical component was an added support for the film as in Paanchaalankurichi. Like Prabhu's other romantic roles watched in Raajakumaran and Uthamapurushan, Iniyavale projected the Chevalier's son in a helpless situation, struggling to establish his own inclinations and creditworthiness.
     Madhavan's two movies directed by Seeman were of totally different themes. In Thambi, Seeman could take the credit for portraying  the ever soft chocolate boy Madhavan, as a revolutionary hero, with a cry for justice and a passion for fighting evil. Thambi's introductory note stating that it is our enemies who decide which weapon we have to take,made a refreshing beginning on the big screen.It was an action film and the dialogue segment of the film was an extraordinary treat, thanks to the force and fineness of expressions from Seeman's hands.There was action, there was elegant romance {Pooja's cute overtures to the hero need a special mention} and above all, there was the climax of generous revenge, pictured in the form of the hero reforming the villain, by his noble act of saving the villain's mother at a crucial juncture. All these positive notes made one feel that Thambi could be rated as the best film of Seeman.
   Madhavan's other film Vaazhthungal in the hands of this variety spinning  director was a fine tale of love and family bonding.It was an aesthetic show of a hero, looking for a life partner, who would not discard his parents after marriage. The theme of the film was itself exquisite to make the film worthy of a decent family watch. Madhavan and Bhavana who were also paired in another film Ariya, did a graceful role delivery in Vaazhthungal. Seeman showed that he would do a different touch in each film and not travel on the same track.Besides making films he has also acted in a few films like Amaithi Padai,Magizhchi,Pori,Pallikkoodam, Mayaandi Kudumbathaar and Nagarja Chozhan M.A; MLA . Of these,his role performance in Mayandi Kudumbathar  became remarkable.May be he would have given us more of his creative stuff and performance ability, had he not picked up politics on the way of his film journey.Perhaps this is another streak of his capacity for variety in performance.Let us wish him well.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Kapoor Brothers.


      Bollywood is the pride of Indian Cinema.When I make this statement it does not mean that I undermine the other regions of the Indian film society.What I mean here is Bollywood has always been a few steps ahead, in importing new technologies from wherever they are invented and infusing them into the big screen, before other Indian film industries could make such a move. Moreover when other regions could think only of black and white films,Bollywood came out with quite a number of color films in the Nineteen Sixties itself.This blog has rarely gone into the Hindi movie world, for want of creditable access to Hindi films, due to my selective Hindi movie watching schedule.
   The reason for this was that most of the areas in Tamil Nadu other than Chennai,were not screening Hindi movies in theatres from the middle of Nineteen Seventies.However Tamil audience had once cherished a special fascination for Bollywood films, purely for their aesthetic richness, in terms of quality exposure to  enchanting components of romance and action and reverberating music.The Hindi heroes starting from Ashok Kumar, Dilip Kumar, Rajendra kumar, Sanjeev Kumar down to Dharmendra, Rajesh Kanna Dev Anand, Amitab,Shatrugan Sinha and the Kapoor brothers, all were adored in Tamil Nadu, as darlings of Bollywood.But among these the Kapoor brothers displayed a special charm and charisma because, though they all emerged from the same Prithvi Raj kaboor dynasty,each of the three brothers made a distinct appeal in romance and action and created a variety of sensations among the audience.
   I should modestly acknowledge the fact that I have not seen even countable movies of Ranbir Raj Kaboor,Shammi Kapoor and Shashi Kapoor.I have just watched two films of Raj {Sangam and Mera Naam Joker} and three films each of the other two brothers.{An Evening in Paris, Brammhachari and Andaaz of Shammi Kapoor and Sharmilee, Aa Gale Lag Ja and Deewar of Shashi}.But a sample of rice is enough to rate the quality of the pot full of rice.Assessments are based on a kind of spark between two interacting forces.It is this spark that gets released in different dimensions and brings different people together.
     Each of the three Kapoor brothers has created a cinematic flame and not a spark, particularly in their concept and display of romance and action.The all giving but forlorn face of romance was omnipresent in Raj Kapoor's show of the fall of love, in the two films that I watched.He was one who would love only for love,however unrequited it was.The pitch of pathos was a predominant factor, pulling the nerves of the audience into a soul searching but agonizing experience. Raj Kapoor was indeed a lovely, tormenting force of romance and the tormenting experiences of the audience while watching Raj singing a heart piercing song, in the melting voice of Mukesh, could create cathartic moments for every one.The actor Raj and the singer Mukesh, were the grand masters of dejected love and they both casually carried on the load of sorrow and gracefully passed it on to everybody, watching and listening to them.Great were the days and greater were our exalting hours at the theaters.
     Shammi was an invigorating tornado of love.His nimble bodily movements and characteristic gestures would make the audience dance with him."An Evening in Paris" shot almost completely in the  Capital of France was an energizing action bonanza with romance and gorgeous visual display, captivating the audience imagination as an inexhaustible treat.The glamour parade of Sharmila Tagore and the stylish villainy of Pran were the other positive notes of this big budget film.The music of Shankar Jaikishan  was the major crowd pulling force of the film. Shammi would almost thrust circus moves on his limbs, in most song sequences and romantic scenes.It was this physical vigor that sustained his position as hero and made his role play endearing to the audience.As a widower with a kid in Andaaz and as a lover and caretaker of children in Brammachari, he made his roles remembered.He was a hero with unstinting gusto and a kind of mischievous innocence in looks, that could made him reflect shades of romance in a rare form.
     Shashi,the youngest of the three was a combination of charm,style and intelligence that could effectively make him a deviant of the Kapoor breed. No doubt, he had a little bit of his immediate elder Shammi. But he had an inbuilt ingredient of subtlety in his approach, with which  he carved  a specially identifiable niche for himself, in the line of Dev Anand. His calculated articulation of dialogues was quite symbolic of a probing,introspective mindset, that singularly helped him hone his style of acting, frame by frame.Of his three films I watched,Aa Gale Lag Ja was a delicate romantic tale with profound intricacies in narration.Paired with Sharmila Tagore, Shashi Kapoor brought out a new dimension in man-woman relationship with a refreshing psychological perspective of accidental pre-marital sex, that was necessitated for reviving the life of a person in an ice bound region.
   The success of the film called for its remake in Tamil as Uthaman starring Sivaji Ganesan and Manjula. While his  earlier film Sharmilee was an action thriller with Rakhee playing dual roles, his Deewar with Amitab as his elder brother was a block buster cop and gangster story, which was also made into Tamil as Thee. Shashi was chic and brilliant both in  police and military uniforms.Of the three brothers, Shashi certainly had an Anglican touch in fixing his profile into characters.I always loved to see more of his films but owing to political compulsions in Tamil Nadu and changing circumstances in Tamil cinema, my wish remained unfulfilled at a time when even TV watch was not available in many homes, until the mid Nineteen Eighties.
    Of the three brothers,the eldest lived comparatively a shorter life and he could not see even Seventy.Whereas the other two brothers,interestingly died in their Seventy Ninth year, just before seeing eighty.Tamil cinema has also come upon  brothers like M.G Chakrapani and M.G.Ramachandran,T.K.Shanmugam and T.K.Bagavathi,Chaaruhasan and Kamalahasan and the now popular Surya and Karthik. But the Kapoor family was a unique lamp post for Bollywood, marking effervescence and efficacy of branches of a single tree, standing up proudly and enhancing the image of Hindi cinema, through the creditable contribution of four heroes starting from the Kapoor patriarch Prithviraj.But the three Kapoor brothers not only made their father proud, but also heightened the grandeur of Hindi Cinema, by spreading their wings of acting with awesome colors and characters.This belated tribute that closely follows the death of the youngest of the Kapoor brothers, also carries genuine apologies from me, for having forgetfully delayed a timely tribute from my blog, to Prithvi Raj Kaboor &sons .