M.R.Radha is perhaps the only Tamil actor whose memory is being perpetuated not only by his legendary performance in a vast number of films,some of them celebrated for his actions alone, but also by his four children, who have also proved their acting brilliance that they seem to have genetically inherited from their father.They are M.R.R.Vasu who is also no more,Radha Ravi who is doing his best as villain and character actor,and Radhika and Nirosha the two daughters of M.R.Radha,the elder one claiming an inimitable place as a woman of power and dynamism.
Of the two male heirs,M.R.R.Vasu was almost a replica of Radha in his unique voice modulation and adherence to intonation in dialogue delivery.Again like his father he could excel in performing as villain,comedian and character actor.As a villain he was very crude and cunning in Balachander's Kaviathalaivi and Muktha Pictures'Thavapudhalvan. Unlike M.R.Radha who had acted in the films of MGR and Sivaji Ganesan,Vasu preferred to act mostly with Sivaji Ganesan. He would have acted in more than a dozen films of Sivaji Ganesan. Of these,besides Thavapudhalvan,his performance in a character role in Baratha Vilas,with Manorama as his wife,made a remarkable impact in terms of emotional content and presentation.It was in fact one of the best characters that came in his way and he made best use of the opportunity.
Vasu's performance in films like Gnaana Oli, Pattikkaadaa Pattanamaa, Thiagam, Dr.Shiva, Ennai Pol Oruvan,Sorgam,Neethi, Nalladhoru Kudumbam, Avandhaan Manithan and Manithanum Dheivamaagalaam was generally an even mix of comedy and villainy and in all these movies Sivaji Ganesan was the hero.Vasu's characterization was a prominent portrayal in films like Sooriyakanthi Kai Niraya Kaasu and Halo Partner.Like M.R.Radha, Vasu could also switch over between villainy and comedy combined in one character, with ease, felicity and perfection. It was the untimely death of M.R.R.Vasu that clipped his thespian wings.The film viewers were truly deprived of his acting grandeur, similar to his father's.
Radha Ravi the junior son of M.R.Radha,has established himself as an actor of longstanding abilities on account of his independent and individual perceptions of the basic ingredients of acting, that would be different from those of his father or elder brother.One of the interesting factors concerning the two actor sons of Radha is their favoured position in the hands of veteran director K.Balachander, unlike their father who occupied a powerful position in the hands of K.S.Gopalakrishnan the other famous director of those days.K.B offered vital roles for Vasu in his films like Punnagai and Kaaviathalaivi, besides giving him a place for comedy in films like Edhir Neechal and Poova Thalaiyaa.Vasu made a very impressive show as a practical and opportunistic business man in Punnagai and as the crudest,wife- torturing villain, in Kaviya Thalaivi.
It wasBalachander who introduced Radha Ravi into TamilCinema through his film Manmadha Leelai and he continued to induct him in his other films like Thanneer Thanneer, Achamilai Achamillai, Poovilangu, Annaamalai,[in which he performed a memorable role as Sarath Babu's father,trying heaven and earth to split the childhood friendship between his son and the milkman Annamalai]and Muthu the last two,starring Rajinikanth.
A couple of more telling roles of Radha Ravi were as Prabu Ganeasan's erring brother in law in the film Paandithurai and a womanizing butcher in Karthik Muthuraman's Dheiva Vaaku, but in both the films he became redeemed and ennobled to become a willing follower of justice. Radha Ravi has remained as the chosen actor of K.S.Ravikumar and P.Vasu,the two great film makers of the last two decades. P.Vasu has offered meaty villainous and character roles to Radha Ravi in his most successful movies like Chinna Thambi, Kizhakkukkarai, Coolie, Rickshaw Maama, Sadhu, Uzhaippali and Ponnu Veetukaaran. Similarly some of the significant performances of Radha Ravi were in films like Muthu and Padayappa directed by K.S.Ravikumar.
If Radha Ravi performed as a vulpine villain, taking innocent Kamal for a ride in A.V.M's Uyarnda Ullam,his villainy combined with comedy, proved to be a striking deal in Rajini's films like Siva, Guru Sishyan, Raajaathi Raajaa and Uzhaippaali. However, Radha Ravi has positively won our hearts in clean character roles in Chembaruthi,Kaadhalullu Mariyadhai, Chinna Thambi,Solla Thudikkidhu Manasu, Poomagal Oorvalam, Chinna Maapile[in which he proved his flair for spot comedy] and Ezhil's Raajaa,the last three projecting him more as a comedy prone person in father roles.He has also appeared as an honest police officer in Sivaji Productions Vetri Vizha starring Kamal and Prabu Ganesan.
The most creditable aspects of Radha Ravi's acting have been his grasp and control of roles and maturity and sobriety in delivery of dialogues and portrayal of characters..If M.R.R.Vasu was the embodiment of spontaneity and exuberance,Radha Ravi stays stuck to his cool headed nature and underplay of emotions as an ever growing actor of merit.During the first half of his career he was travelling on the acting track of his father with M.R.Radha's voice pattern and manner of acting, but later changed track to carve a niche for himself as an actor of individual might and mark.
Between the two daughters of M.R.Radha,Radhika has already found a place in this blog under the article 'The R Series Heroines and Others'.However she deserves a place here too, in terms of her position as the most powerful woman representing the Radha family as an actor of distinction.
Her energy levels inherited from a family of acting hierarchy have always been to her advantage from the days of introduction to Tamil Cinema by the richly creative hands of Barathiraja. During the early years of her career,she was vigorous, at times even vociferous, in delivering her roles in many films.She has been paired with all leading men of Tamil films.Some of her top ranking performances were in Oorkaavalan,Nallavanukku Nallavan [both with Rajini] Thaavani Kanavugal and Poi Saatchi [with Bagyaraj] Sippikkul Muthu [with Kamal] Ninaivu Chinnam [with Prabu Ganesan] Naane Raja Naane Mandhiri, Poonthotta Kaavalkaaran and Uzhavan Magal [ all with Vijayakanth] Keladi Kanamani [with S.P.Balasubramanyam] and later in her best shows of acting in Barathi Raja's Kizhakku Cheemayile and Pasumpon.
In mother roles Radhika has never failed to reflect poise and dignity in various films particularly, Rojakoottam, Amarkalam and Uyirile Kalandhadhu. She has also performed a brilliant role as a termagant in Shankar's Jeans. She holds a leading position in the long list of fascinating women of Tamil Cinema in the line of Bhanumathi, Padmini, Savithri, Sowkar Janaki K.R.Vijaya, Jayalalitha Lakhsmi and Vanisri.
Nirosha the youngest and the last from M.R.Radha's fold,was introduced by none other than the most dynamic Manirathnam in his film Agni Natchatram,paired with Karthik Muthuraman .She did another film Pandinattu Thangam with the Junior Muthuraman. She has been Kamal's pair in Soora Samhaaram.Then she was the heroine of two of Abaavaanan's movies Sendhoorapoove and Inaindha Kaigal. Recently she was seen in the role of an elder sister in Padikkadhavan of Danush. Unlike her elder siblings,Nirosha did not come with a performance that could place her as a front liner among the heroines of her time.Perhaps her meekness and the roles that came in her way, could not project her as an actor of varied dimensions and dynamism.
Not all actors could be lucky in leaving a progeny, imbibing talents and skills as heritage from their amazingly talented father and improvising their own additional dimensions for a field show, in establishing moments of pride and glory, as powerful interlinks of the family's acting hierarchy. M.R.Radha was gifted not only as an actor but also as a proud father to have his heirs perpetuate his memory by following his path, making their own footprints deeper,and intensifying the scope and purpose of their journey to their desired destinations, creating records of name and fame.