Murali,the short,black tinted hero, who showed his face in K.Balachander's 'Poovilangu',grew to greater heights as a wonderful performer on the Tamil big screen.The most lovable aspect of this modest actor was his clear voice, delivering dialogues with intonations, never hurting one's ears.It was a soothingly firm voice, that distinctly carried the emotional overtones to be transferred to the audience, in an authentic manner, without missing their myriad exits for reaching the destination.From Manirathnam's 'Pagal Nilavu' he continued this fascinating journey, as the main or second level hero of several films.
Murali as a love-lorn hero, was always captivating.The softness and decency beautifully blended with his characterization as a romantic person, and presented with a profound sense of warmth, made the audience genuinely feel for him and sympathize with him.Films like 'Idhayam' and 'Kaalamellaam Kaadhal Vazhga' were a clear testimony to this kind of audience response to his plight as a lover.But Murali was also an ardent and vigorous lover in films like 'Pagal Nilavu' and 'En Assai Machan' and was capable of seriously essaying other types of characters ,with equal conviction and involvement.
No one would have expected this soft actor, to perform the role of a rebel against police atrocities and wage a tough struggle for justice, in films like 'Adharmam' and 'Iranyan.'The former, modeled on the life story of the forest brigand Veerappan, showed the struggles of two brothers, Nasser and Murali, against the nexus of a corrupt section of the police force with a gang, cutting and trading in red sanders.'Iranyan' also narrated the story of a villager, fighting for the basic rights of the poor and socially down trodden people.In both the movies, Murali showed his force and might needed for a leader, fighting against authoritarianism and corruption, defying his death.
This soft romantic hero, who proved his strength in taking up heavier,dynamic roles, neatly fitted into family roles too,as a meek younger brother completely in tune with the expectation of the elders at home.His sibling characters, mostly as an understanding and amicable younger brother were gracefully delivered in movies like 'Anandam' and 'Samuthiram'.Lingusamy's 'Anandam', a pleasing and heartwarming movie in all respects,exhibited one of the best performances of Murali,as a younger brother not budging to the negative expectations of his wife or brother-in-law, in matters concerning the family business and his unquestionable faith in his most loving and lovable elder brother,beautifully played by Mammooty. Similarly, in the latter film, as the younger brother of Sarath Kumar and as a responsible elder brother of their beloved sister, Murali's performance was compact in every frame.In both the films, the family was a sweet nest and Murali was a lovely bird cozily bound to the nest, never willing to break its base of unity and peace.
Some of the other notable films of Murali were those mixed with comedy such as 'Thangamani Rengamani' and 'Sundara Travels' and the most memorable character roles he performed again, as a loving and responsible brother in Cheran's 'Porkaalam' and 'Vetrkodikattu'. Both the films were laden with tragic undercurrent running throughout and Murali essayed these heavier roles, with dignity and charm. Murali's other popular movies were, 'Dinandhorum' 'Unnudan' 'Ooty'and 'Kamarasu' Besides these, he had acted in Vikraman's 'Pudhu Vasantham', that celebrated the friendship of four men with a woman and their united efforts to make her as a singer. Murali had also acted with the grand star Sivaji Ganesan ,in 'En Aasai Raasaave', directed by Kasturi Raja. The one movie that fetched him award for best acting, was 'Kaadhal Pookal', directed by Barathi Raaja.
The sad thing is, this actor of latent acting stuff, with its grand histrionic patterns, could not live long, to bring out more of his wonderful calibre. The one undeniable fact is, a selected group of the audience eagerly looked forward to his delivery of roles, as those with a flavour for soft food, fervently waiting for the next supply of their delicious pudding or plum packed pieces of cakes, that would smoothly pass through the alimentary canal. It is really unfortunate, that a firm and soft hero like Murali, died young.